11 agency buzzwords you need to know

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Behavioral targeting

Ok, you know how sometimes you surf for something that's a little sexy or even naughty? Come on, we know that you do. We also know that many people do.

That is how we, your agency, is going to help you, our client, target your new brand of lingerie. We will follow them around the web, and BAMN! We keep hitting them with your brand.

Eventually they may notice, and find it a bit creepy ("Why am I getting an ad for Lingerie on this site?"), but honestly it's relevant, and you know they are in our target demographic.

Here is the deal: We don't really know anything else about them. We do not know who they are, where they live, their age, or anything personally identifying about them -- though we can infer those things.

It is honestly less information than they give filling out any form for a magazine subscription. So, why does it feel creepy? Somehow it feels like spying, but it is not personally identifying information. Rather, it is behaviorally targeted advertising, which is different. So stop freaking out, and let us implement it to improve your conversion rates. And please explain it internally to your company so they stop running around like Chicken Little? Ok?

Sean X Cummings is founder and difference maker at SXC Marketing.

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Andrew Boer
Andrew Boer March 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM


You warned that it was going to be cynical and it was. At no time did I find it unethical, disturbing, twisted, or disrespectful. I liked it. As curmudgeons go, Wendy may have you beat.

Sean X
Sean X March 28, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Thank you for the feedback Wendy. I am a curmudgeon sometimes. I say what is often in people's shadows. I have worked with, and been a part of some amazing organizations. The vast majority of people are trying to do their best for the client, however, there are often times when agencies continue to run into truly frustrating and clueless clients.

There are also countless arrogant agencies who understand nothing about how their clients actual organizations function. Some of them are considered the most well respected, and most creative agencies on the planet. However, they also tend to attract certain personality types.

For those who seek to be knowledgable about their business and marketing on the client end they will read this and laugh. For those who are insecure they will be paranoid (but they already were.) For agencies or clients that treat each other with respect they will be a bit offended and sad (as you were.) And for those agency personnel who have had these thoughts but are not comfortable with themselves they will get outraged and insolent because they are ashamed they have those thoughts (I have had those responses.)

In the end it is about a relationship. If you have a great one then keep it. If you do not, seek to make that relationship great.

Wendy Storey
Wendy Storey March 28, 2012 at 2:29 PM

This could almost be funny. But it's not. Sad that you have so little respect for your clients or for the profession. You've clearly worked with some unethical organizations in your past. In my experience, most agencies (I've worked for a few) have their client's budgets, business objectives, political culture, customers in mind when they are proposing business solutions. There are some grains of truth here, but it is so twisted and disturbing looking at it through your view of the industry. I don't agree with a lot of it, and see the industry in a much more positive light. And btw, you misspelled herd under Cool hunting when you reference "heard of buffalo."