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Is Pre-targeting the Next Big Marketing Trend?

In my reading travels around the Internet, I have seen pre-targeting mentioned a few times – but there is scant information about it online. I decided to do some research, and I think this could be the next big marketing trend.

Here’s what you need to know:

Pre-targeting and retargeting are two different animals

Pre-targeting is figuring out what action someone is about to take and reaching out to them before they make a decision.

Contrast that with the now fairly common practice of retargeting, which is about reaching out to someone after they have already taken action.

As this article in AdAge points out, retargeting is flawed because it’s based on past behavior. If I just bought a pair of jeans online at Gap, why would I want to be targeted with ads for jeans from Gap – or anywhere else?

Pre-targeting is linked to predictive computing – and that is only just taking off

Pre-targeting relies on predictive computing, and predictive computing is still in its infancy. However, it has the potential to make a huge impact on our every day lives – for the better.

Google Now, for example, promises to send us the “right information at the right time:”

From knowing the weather before you start your day, to planning the best route to avoid traffic, or even checking your favorite team’s score while they’re playing, get the information you want, when you need it.

It’s not long before Google starts applying Google Now to its ads! But that’s another blog post.

How to use pre-targeting today

Believe it or not, you can start using pre-targeting – you just need to pay attention to your website analytics. Remember, pre-targeting allows you to reach people when they are somewhere along the research spectrum. Their behavior can tip you off to their intentions.

Are people:

  • Downloading an ebook, white paper, or some other tool from your website?
  • Commenting on blog posts around the same topic – or asking you questions in the comments section?
  • Interacting with you on Twitter or LinkedIn?
  • Signing up for webinars and joining in the Q&A session?
  • Filling out your Contact form and asking questions about a product or service?

These behaviors are all based on the intention to learn more about something that you do. When the above behaviors take place, reach out with an offer for a free consultation or special discount for first-time clients.

More sophisticated pre-targeting tools and programs for small business owners are coming – but there’s no need to wait! Take advantage of opportunities now by watching people’s behavior.

Have any questions about pre-targeting or predictive computing? Pop them into the comments box below!

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Author information

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen is a freelance copywriter and editor who helps with companies of all shapes on sizes kick their content up to the next level. You can find her online at