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Are you being increasingly cyber-stalked lately? It seems to happen more and more these days – thanks to the users of marketing automation, particularly the current digi-flavour-of-the-month – remarketing.

Here’s how it worked for a friend of mine – aged 62. She was looking online for a baby gift for her niece who was having her first child. She eventually found and bought one.

Then, thanks to the marvels of marketing automation, every time she went online for the next six weeks, she was confronted with all manner of ads for breast pumps, nappies, post-pregnancy fitness programmes and products that were completely irrelevant to her.

future of advertising

And that’s one of the big problems with remarketing – it’s nearly always after the event. Yet it doesn’t have to be. If marketers realised how to use their small data they could really make this data-driven tactic work.

Here’s how a lack of attention to small data has affected my online experience recently. Last week I bought a desk accessory online from a company called Varidesk. Hopefully it will be good for my back. I did some searching, clicked on their page, checked out their credentials and bought.

And now, instead of providing me with customer service, they won’t stop following me around the web – constantly trying to flog me the product I’ve already purchased and now had delivered.

They sent me an email message confirming my order, so they can contact me directly with personal messages. But somebody in sales or customer service hasn’t told the digi-kids. So they are treating me as a prospect and trying to flog me stuff via banner ads, even though I’m a customer.

I would have thought it was easier to record the simple data from a sale, than to invest in chasing the wrong people online? If it’s so easy to recognise someone who has visited your site and then stalk them around the web, how hard is it to recognise the small (but significant) data point of a sale?

Here’s what I see now whenever I go to online news sites:

Varidesk 7

Varidesk 8

Varidesk 6

Varidesk 5

Varidesk 4

Varidesk 3

Varidesk 2

Varidesk 1

All it would take is a simple automated digital communication between the customer transaction records and the remarketing tool. It is not difficult to do. And then, instead of pissing me off with irrelevant remarketing, they could provide me with customer service.

It’s another case of the small data being more powerful than the big data. But because people are ignoring marketing basics in the pursuit of the latest bright shiny digi-object and industry buzzwords, the bleeding obvious is overlooked.


On another note, I’ve heard that latex mattresses are good for your back. But I’m a tad nervous to search for them. Can you imagine the ads that will appear on sites after I search randomly for latex products! The mind digi-boggles…