The Best Predictor of Future Behavior is Relevant Past Behavior

By Todd Miller, SVP Strategic Services
Let’s begin by affirming a core belief.

It’s one that our agency, CohereOne, considers foundational in terms of service to clients and our interactions with partners.

It’s one that the direct-to-consumer advertising ecosphere (inclusive of retail brands, as well as companies in service to those brands) deeply believes.

The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior – especially when it comes to retail purchases.

For businesses we refer to as specialty retailers, the ‘reserve currency’ with respect to marketing intelligence is still transactional data. Brands like Abacus (acquired by Epsilon in 2007, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of global agency conglomerate Publicis Groupe), Datalogix (acquired by Oracle in 2015), I-Behavior (acquired by Wunderman in 2010) and Wiland (any bets on who acquires them in the not-too-distant future?) are intimately linked to the success and growth of a generation of direct-to-consumer retail brands born in the halcyon days of offline specialty retail marketing – say, roughly 1990-2010.

So, what do the cooperative databases have in common? All require participation, in the form of transactional data – a give-to-get model. All go to market with lookalike modeling solutions – i.e., the best prospects for [brand x] are those whose buying characteristics resemble those observed among [brand x]’s existing customers. All deliver good-to-great ROI (return on investment) / ROAS (return on ad spend), albeit at the price of contributing to the equivalent success of one’s competitors, many of which are, you guessed it, fellow cooperative database participants.

In their halcyon days, and for the direct-to-consumer stalwarts they served (and continue to serve), the cooperative databases truly were the best integrated solution for ad targeting and marketing intelligence. A new era for direct-to-consumer brands arose, one oriented towards the online / digital space, around 2010. The massive investment in internet infrastructure, as well as advertising and marketing technology software, a good amount of which was made during the first boom, was starting to pay off. Smartphones were poised to take over as individual’s primary content (i.e., advertising) consumption device. The first iteration of the adtech / martech landscape made its public debut in 2011. (Today, it references more than 7,000 companies! See infographic below to see MarTech through the years.)

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