Retargeting is a tricky thing. If your customers perceive that you are actively stalking them and trying to chase them down, will they be strong armed into buying your goods? Is that the type of brand experience and personality you want to exude? And, how sustainable will that position in the market be over the long-term?

Without a well-thought out retargeting strategy, you could inadvertently position your brand as an obtrusive bully. Which could break down trust and eventually erode your brand equity and consumer preference. And, that means less sales and less revenue.

So, how do you create an on-brand re-targeting experience? Here a few tips to get your strategy started.

  • Think about what you want to achieve: What are your business objectives? Are you trying to increase volume of sales or attract more customers? Are you trying to diversify the products people buy or sell the products with the biggest bottom-line wins? You want to create a clear line of sight from your goals, to your strategies, to your tactics so you can continuously monitor what is and isn’t working and make refinements so that you do in fact meet your goals.
  • Think about your audiences and their needs: Personalization is key in today’s world but to deliver a personalized experience to the masses requires you to understand people’s unique needs so you can tailor messaging, experiences and offers to be relevant and meaningful. Think about the standard marketing funnel: awareness, interest, consideration and how you can use retargeting to help lead people through that funnel.
  • Think across channels: Omni-channel strikes again. You can’t look at your re-targeting strategy in a vacuum. You need to think about how it fits into your bigger strategic vision. How are you engaging consumers across channels, touch points, experiences? How can you use retargeting as an engaging experience and a mechanism for building sustainable relationship, as well as closing sales? Think about how retargeting works with and across channels to create a cohesive, on-brand, omni-channel experience.
  • Think ahead: The future of re-targeting is actually quite exciting and that’s because we’re now talking about pre-targeting—helping your customers (or potential customers) discover products they don’t even know they need yet! Predictive analysis on consumer data has the power to identify future behavior patterns and allow you to connect with the right people, at the right place, with the right message and offer. Start leveraging your Big Data to get out ahead of your customers and shift your strategy from reactive to proactive.
  • One last piece of advice – Throw on the customer cap: Before you start mapping out your retargeting strategy for 2015, be sure to put on your customer hat take a journey through cyber space to experience your existing re targeting strategy firsthand. How do you think people perceive the experience? What’s missing? Where are the new opportunities? Check out your analytics and assess how people are behaving. And, before you hit the trigger to launch that new retargeting campaign—go back through your checklist one more time and test it again.

This article is published in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum. 

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Author: Kathleen Holm is Marketing Director of the TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group.

Image: A zoomed image of a computer monitor shows a website selling button clipart for online shops in Vienna November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader.