Consumer Information Center

Page Published on September 26, 2014

What is Targeted Marketing?

Targeted marketing is the practice of presenting consumers with offers and communications that are believed to best fit their needs and interests. Of course, the marketer’s goal is to generate better response than a one-size-fits-all approach to advertising. Consumers, in turn, gain access to offers that are of greater relevance to their lives. Information about your hobbies, for example, can lead to advertising that lets you discover new products and services, receive discounts, and establish relationships with the brands you like. Sometimes targeted marketing is not just about what product or service is offered, but about how an offer is presented or redeemed. For instance, money-saving coupons might be your favorite way to try new products; QR codes might work better for the next customer; and loyalty points programs may be preferred by yet another. Targeted marketing helps companies match what they sell to what you want to purchase – and how you want to purchase it – without flooding you with irrelevant messaging.

How does Targeted Marketing help me?

First of all, targeted marketing does not inherently cause you to receive more advertising. It does, however, play an important role in keeping the ads you do see more relevant to you as an individual and to others in your household. This helps reduce the number of annoying ads shown on websites or aggravating mailings you receive. By improving the marketing of products and services, savings can be passed on to the consumer in the form of free online services, lower prices, and special deals.

How does Merkle use data about me?

Merkle is in the business of helping brands understand consumers. One of the ways we do that is to bring together data about consumers and make that data available to our clients. Our clients are marketers: businesses that want to sell products and services to consumers. Merkle has clients that market in the retail, financial, insurance, media, travel, entertainment, technology, pharmaceutical, and nonprofit industries. When our clients accurately understand consumers, they are able to more efficiently and more effectively offer a product or service to a consumer, right when that consumer might be interested in that type of product or service. In other words, we help businesses offer consumers things they really might want to buy. Merkle indirectly helps consumers by helping marketers limit ineffective marketing messages.

Where does Merkle get data about me?

Merkle does not collect data directly from consumers. Merkle obtains consumer data from other companies that have direct contact with consumers or acquire data from companies that have direct contact with consumers.

What types of data does Merkle work with?

Consumer data can be divided into two main categories: Public Data and Specialty Data. Public Data is information that is in the public domain and available primarily via local government entities such as county courthouses. The following are examples of Public Data:

  • Property – e.g., house type, size, current market value
  • Contact Information – e.g., name and address from phone books

Specialty Data is information that is collected via some interaction with consumers, such as product registrations, surveys, or online questionnaires. The following are examples of Specialty Data:

  • Demographics – e.g., age, education, occupation
  • Lifestyle/Behavioral – e.g., interest in tennis, gourmet cooking, or pet ownership
  • Product interest categories – e.g., “electronic gadgets” or “women’s apparel” 

How do I manage the ways my data gets used?

Merkle respects your choice to not receive targeted advertising. You have several options for indicating your preference within each marketing channel. Opting out of targeted marketing does not mean that you will stop receiving advertising; it only means that advertising will not be customized to your interests. Also, special offers, discounts, and coupons that were directed toward you may no longer be available. An effort to opt out of all advertising in a specific channel may or may not limit the number of advertisements you receive.

Opting Out of: Direct Mail | Telemarketing | Email | Targeted Online Advertising

Consumer Advertising Preferences

Opting out of direct mail

Merkle is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org).

If you would like to opt out of direct mail advertising, you can register your direct mail preference with DMAchoice (www.dmachoice.org). DMAchoice is an online service of the Direct Marketing Association that allows you to inform all DMA members of your direct mail preferences. The DMAchoice website also provides information on how to register for this service via postal mail.

Only marketers who are members of the DMA are required to use the DMA opt-out suppression information in their prospecting efforts. If you wish to limit or stop direct mail from companies that are not members of the DMA or to whom you have previously supplied your postal address or had a business relationship, you must contact those companies directly.

Opting out of email

Merkle is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org).

The DMA has an Email Preference Service which allows consumers to remove their email addresses from national prospect marketing lists. For more information and to opt out via the DMA’s service, go to www.dmachoice.org and follow the link to “Email Opt-Out Service.” Only marketers who are members of the DMA are required to use the DMA opt-out suppression information in their prospecting efforts. If you wish to limit or stop email messages from companies that are not members of the DMA or to whom you have previously supplied your email address or had a business relationship, you must contact those companies directly.

Opting out of telemarketing

To help reduce the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls you receive, you can register with the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. If you wish to limit or stop phone calls from companies to whom you have previously supplied your phone number or currently have a business relationship, you must contact those companies directly.

Opting Out of targeted online advertising

Merkle may participate in the selection of the advertising you see in your web browser. This selection technology can help present the most relevant offers based on your interests. Use of the technology does not necessarily result in more or fewer ads. Browser cookies are utilized in the process of advertisement selection. Cookies are small text files that your browser software can use to store preferences for each website you visit.

Merkle supports the efforts of the Digital Advertising Alliance and its efforts to give consumers better understanding and greater control over interest-based advertising. For more information and to opt out of online behavioral targeted messages, go to www.aboutads.info. Use of this service will limit your targeted online messages by companies that subscribe and adhere to the practices of the Digital Advertising Alliance. It will not stop non-targeted online marketing messages.

Consumer Privacy Portal

Visit Merkle's Consumer Privacy Portal to help understand and control how information about you is handled by Merkle.