CRM Retargeting: The Shiny New Advertising Tactic?

What if banner ads could become as targeted and relevant as emails?

One of the emerging trends in online advertising promises to make this possible.

Rather than targeting an audience based on various characteristics, CRM retargeting allows you to target segments of your CRM database with online ads.

How It Works

You have seen retargeting ads, banners that promote whatever products you looked at or left in your shopping cart and follow you around the web. CRM retargeting is similar.

Advertising is targeted to individual people and may appear on a broad range of sites. But unlike traditional retargeting, where people are identified when they visit your site (and they immediately realize why they are being targeted), CRM retargeting identifies people based on an email address, even if they have never been to your site.

Conceptually, companies can do this because you provide your email address online. If your email address is one of the emails a company is looking for, they add you (technically, a cookie ID in your web browser) to the list of people they are targeting. At this point, it becomes identical to a retargeting campaign: ads are delivered only to people on the targeted list.

If this sounds like companies always knowing who you are, rest assured, I’m sure adding a facial recognition key and addressing you by name from outdoor billboards will follow shortly.

CRM Retargeting Applications for B2B Marketing

The possibilities are nearly endless. Here are just a few of the more obvious and interesting applications:

1. Bring Your Lead Nurturing Program to Advertising
As potential customers move through the buying process, online advertising can be tailored, delivering the most appropriate message to each potential customer.

2. Reactivate Email Recipients
Your marketing email may have been the same for so long that now it is landing in spam or simply being ignored. Now you have something new to share, how do you get through?

Add online advertising targeted to inactive email subscribers to give you a way back in front of the portion of your email list that has become unreachable for you via email.

3. Expand Customer Communications
From increasing renewal rates in customer lifecycle marketing to getting product updates in front of customers, CRM retargeting allows you to deliver a tailored message to your existing customers.

4. Reach Influencers
Do you work with analysts, press, investors and others that can help spread your news? In B2B, many of these contacts may not read the industry and trade publications you are advertising in, CRM retargeting lets you get in front of them.

5. Increase the Value of List Purchases
A list of your competitors clients, purchasing decision makers or industry influencers is more valuable when you can reach them through additional channels. Using CRM retargeting, you can immediately begin reaching these contacts through online advertising, giving your campaign a significantly larger perceived presence.

The possibilities are endless. Anything you can do with email can be extended to online banner ads as well, it could even be used in recruiting.

A Cautionary Note

Like any program that targets individuals, CRM retargeting has the potential to become obnoxious. Don’t let this, or any other program, turn your online advertising program into a creepy stalking campaign.

For more information, see how to keep your retargeting campaign from becoming creeping.

Your Turn

Do you see a place for CRM retargeting in your advertising campaigns? If so, how would you use it? Or would privacy concerns keep you from using it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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  1. Hforton says

    I like the line.. “don’t let this … turn your online advertsing program into a creepy stalking campaign.”  Words of wisdom as this trap is one that even the best intentioned can accidentally fall into.

  2. says

    Eric – 

    I work for ReTargeter, a full-service retargeting provider that offers CRM retargeting and I’d love to comment on some of the applications our customers have been most excited about. 

    Reactivating email recipients, as you mentioned, is a major draw. Additionally, CRM retargeting is a great additional touch point for active recipients. There is a ceiling to how many emails you can send before you annoy your users and drive them to unsubscribe in droves. Incorporating CRM retargeting lets you reach users through a different medium, so you can stay in touch without overdoing it on any particular channel.

    CRM retargeting is also possible using a mailing address, and is one of the only ways for companies with a significant direct mail presence and/or a long list of mailing addresses to bring that data online. CRM retargeting is particularly powerful in this use case. If you’re using direct mail, you can couple your mailings with CRM retargeted display ads, and soon your audience will be seeing you everywhere.

    I hope this was both helpful and interesting.

  3. says

    Retargeting depends a lot on the audience. It can either be a miracle where the client has no idea how the advertisements know them so well, or its a pesky mess where the client wants nothing to do with it.

    I’m not sure if I see CRM users benefiting from this type of advertising, though simple CRM and project management solutions like Wunderkit or JobNimbus ( might get users reactivated and using the system again.


  1. […] CRM Retargeting: The Shiny New Advertising Tactic?What if banner ads could become as targeted and relevant as emails? One of the emerging trends in online advertising promises to make this possible. Rather than targeting an audience based on various characteristics, CRM retargeting allows you to target segments of your CRM database with online ads. CRM retargeting is similar. MORE >> […]

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