Targeting with precision is like taking people seriously

I tell my colleagues, that we can meet for a coffee in 7 min because I need to finish an email and the elevator needs 2:40 to take me downstairs. I still have 17 min before going to the next meeting. And if the meeting starts at 10:00 I will be there at 9:59 just in case. Of course I will be alone, waiting for everybody else for another 10 min, but well, I have some German prejudices to defend.

One of these prejudices is about precision. Not only with numbers but also with words (which might also be a result of the language) Or the language is the result of the precision, who knows. And for my job this is actually of great help.

As inventory manager for contextual and behavioral targeting I work a lot with keywords. Each day we define, revise, evaluate, create and alter our contextual channels to meet traffic requirements for our clients both in terms of quality and quantity . Each keyword needs to be representative for just one channel, for one target group, but sometimes you get sucked into the channel without noticing it. Working on astrology, you totally forget that prediction as such is not only for clairvoyants. Or that tickets might be valid for flights and theater, which are not necessarily the same target group. And this is precisely what targeting is about: allocating the most precise keyword to a predefined topic as a form of defining this topic.

To define a topic you first need to understand the topic. Of course it is much easier to find keywords for flight tickets than for eye surgery or car tuning (for me at least). So before going out for the keywords you have to prepare: do research, go to websites talking about the topic, spend time to understand how others talk about it, learn as much as possible about the topic and about neighboring (but different) topics to be able to make distinctions.

And suddenly it dawned on me: targeting is not so much about precision. It is actually about listening. Listening to what others have to say and how they say it even though it is not your primary point of interest. And then finding out that it is not as uninteresting as you thought. Or that even though it is the most boring thing in the world, they have a point: it sounds like it is interesting to them.

So next time you float around in the internet looking for interesting stuff, pick a random topic and try to find out as much as possible about it. In the worst case you will have an anecdote to tell on your next coffee meeting (in 7 min), and in any case you will have broadened your horizon just a little bit more.

Any unusual topics you had to research recently and found kind of interesting?

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