Josh Manion, Founder and CEO of Ensighten, Talks Tapping into the Minds of Consumers


Adobe’s latest announcement regarding Adobe Campaign’s integration in the Adobe Marketing Cloud, which helps marketers retarget shoppers who abandon their online shopping carts, but the announcement poses an interesting question – is retargeting really effective, or should marketers be more focused on pre-targeting?

While, retargeting is about retroactively reaching people who have already accepted that they need something, many marketers are missing a huge step.

Josh Manion, founder and CEO of Ensighten believes that the secret to targeting consumers is to not target, but pre-target. Pre-targeting focuses on the future, allowing marketers to predict consumers’ behavior before they take action.

“Customers have many choices and brands need to provide a customer experience that is personalized and relevant to keep them loyal,” says Manion. “Customers are interacting with brands on mobile devices, social networks and seeing your ads across the web. Delivering this personalized experience requires a platform that can collect this data across these channels and unify it in way that is actionable across marketing applications. This helps marketers improve the effectiveness and ROI of their marketing programs starting with pre-targeting and acquisition all the way to retargeting, cross-selling and up-selling.”

Ensighten Activate, part of the Ensighten platform, enables marketers to track key behaviors across all onsite, offsite and offline channels to deliver insight into key actions consumers will take in the future. To explain more, Manion took a moment to sit down with Adotas to talk about the potential of pre-targeting.

Question: What is the importance of pre-targeting vs. retargeting?

Josh Manion: Pre-targeting is not a widely used term, but refers to prospecting and acquiring new customers through some form of direct response as opposed to retargeting existing customers.  Pre-targeting is critical for companies that want to grow revenue and expand their customer base. Retargeting is limited to your existing customer base and getting them to come back to the site. These customers have already experienced the brand and messaging so retargeting programs are based on actual behavior, past history and immediate intent.  Pre-targeting is more difficult as actual customer behavioral data with the brand is limited or non-existent. Pre-targeting can be very expensive as conversion rates tend to be very low. Identifying what behavior traits and profile attributes of your existing customer translate into successful intitial acquisition and then long-term customers is key to maximize ROI. We refer to this as look-a-like modeling.

Question: How does Ensighten target consumers differently?

Josh Manion: Ensighten works with clients to collect, own and act on omni-channel data to develop a complete view of the customer as they interact with the brand on-site, off-site, via mobile devices, on social channels and even offline.  This enables brands to see customers at a 1:1 level and contextually personalize messaging and content based on their immediate intent. Ensighten enables marketers to have a first party data view as opposed to limiting customers to targeting based on third party audiences. This provides real-time context based off their individual user profile when then they interact with the brand on various channels and devices.

Question: With the rise of mobile and social purchasing, what role does pre-targeting play in these new marketplaces?

Josh Manion: Mobile, social, and really any emerging channel, presents challenges to the marketer.  Brands have had reasonably good visibility into customer behavior once a customer comes to the main site, but has had little visibility into behavior on emerging channels. Analytics platforms really have tunnel vision when it comes to  understanding omni-channel behavior.  When customers interact on the emerging channels with your brand from the acquisition programs, you may not be collecting this critical information about them and not leveraging the acquisition spend. Brands may be continually buying/renting the same audience segments from Data Management Platforms.  This makes pre-targeting much more difficult in the omni-channel world as you need to ensure you have the programs to track your customers through their journey and own this data to leverage for future acquisition and to hopefully ensure your new acquisition becomes a long term customer.

Question: What can marketers do to enhance their targeting capabilities?

Josh Manion: The most important thing that a marketer can do to improve targeting is have a complete omni-channel picture of the individual customer and their immediate intent. It is no longer sufficient to optimize the customer experience based on their site behavior or at a high level audience segment from a third party data source. Some experts predict that within a few years, 60% of e-commerce will be cross-channel influenced.  Customers are interacting with brands on mobile and social and other emerging channels at an increasing rate and too much is missed without a true omni-channel view.  Ensighten gives marketers a real-time omni-channel view of the customer that enables them to personalize the experience based on their immediate intent.


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