John Lewis digital marketer praises Phorm
LONDON - John Lewis, the department store group, has been experimenting with behavioural targeting on its johnlewis.com website for the past year, a leading John Lewis digital marketer revealed last night.
David Walmsley, head of webselling at John Lewis Direct, told the IDM's Emerging Digital Trends seminar that Phorm, the behavioural targeting technology firm, has a "good model" and that the retailer had a "60% match with Phorm's database" of user behaviour.
Phorm has developed technology that allows ISPs to track what their users are doing online by scanning for keywords on websites, allowing brands to serve up more targeted ads to those users on whatever site they visit.
However Phorm has been dogged with privacy issues. The European Commission said it was starting legal action against the UK over its data protection laws in relation to Phorm's technology. Meanwhile Amazon this week became the first high profile e-tailer to block Phorm from scanning its web pages to produced targeted ads.
But serving up ads based on interests is "an idea that's as old as the hills," Walmsley said last night.
Behavioural targeting was all about customer acquisition, Walmsley said, and a key emerging trend was ISP-level targeting such as that enabled by Phorm.
If brands get behavioural targeting right, "it can look like magic" and lead to happy customers "who will love your brand and tell their friends about you," Walmsley said.
Poor behavioural targeting is when it acts as "a proxy for segmentation".
Avoiding "Big Brother tactics" is key to successful behavioural targeting, Walmsley argued. "You need to be careful of the language you use, not ‘thank you for your recent interest in our bedroom range'."
John Lewis recently reported that the week ending 11 April was its strongest week of the year to date, with sales of outdoor furniture up 28 per cent and picnicware up over 50 per cent. The John Lewis Direct website performed particularly well in fashion and children's shoes.
This article was first published on Marketing Direct
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