I have recently been researching the strengths and weaknesses of the existing channels, through which buyers and sellers online meet.
It really is a billion dollar question that thousands of people around the globe are trying to solve.
With all the consumer information that is gathered every day in various different ways, the buyers have never been more targeted with tailored ads.
The challenge is no longer presenting the right products.
Our every move is recorded, and the historic data, cross referenced with similar minded people to predict future behavior, is used to display just the right products and services.
The challenge is timing.
People are unpredictable, illogical, and constantly changing. A purchasing decision today may, or may not, have any indication of future buying decisions.
Sellers today are already doing a good job of making best guesses, but there is room for enormous improvement.
The challenge for the sellers is not to propose products that correlate with past purchases, but to understand the buyers punctual needs.
The reason why understanding the punctual could be far more profitable, is that past behavior is utilized by just about every existing advertising channels/tools/media. Extensively used data results in lots of similar, competing messages.
Buying punctual need products and services, still requires that the buyer puts in considerable efforts to find a seller.
I have a real world example at hand right now, as I should find a villa to rent from a nearby area with Wi-Fi connection, open even in the winter season, and within a certain budget for 4-5 people.
Unfortunately, despite having very specific needs, and being ready to share those needs with a vendor, the only way to go about it is to put down the time to search online and start calling.
Getting to cater specific needs, in a way that would save the buyer the time and agony to look for sellers, would not only be welcomed, but also an efficient way to avoid competing with similar offers.
In my case, if I could just put my need out there, and the local service providers would see it, I would be quite likely to choose the first one that proposes a matching solution.
The challenge as a service provider for such an advertising platform, is to keep the vendors engaged in a system that favors very specific, potentially rare times when precise supply and precise demand effortlessly make the connection.
However, as the available information is more and more available online, making that connection becomes increasingly easy.
The way things are evolving, the connections will only continue to become easier and easier, thus creating interesting opportunities to be the first one out there with solutions.
At this point, profiling customers, just like everyone else is not going to be enough to stand out. Why not turn the tables?
One way to solve the issue would be to profile sellers instead of buyers… After all seller supply is less prone to illogical changes, than buyer demand.
This path of thought is still a work in progress, but the objective in my mind is clear. The only way to make targeted advertising platforms more efficient, is to neutralize the weakest and most unpredictable link from the automation process… the buyer.
Give the buyer the freedom to be the erratic, illogical and unpredictable being that he is, and use automation processes to serve those traits.