Can retargeting work in B2B marketing?


My good friends at Velocity Partners recently ran an experiment using content retargeting to promote their business.

The concept is simple - firstly, present ads on other sites (all of which are signed up to a specific ad network) to people who have already visited your site. And secondly, on subsequent visits to those ad network-enrolled sites, change the content so you progress the visitor down your sales funnel.

Whilst I applaud Velocity's efforts to try new ways to reach their target audiences, it for me was also a great example of the good & bad of using retargeting in B2B. 

So, the good:

  1. I think retargeting has more of a place in B2B than B2C, as considered purchases are a long haul and any opportunity to reinforce a brand over multiple touchpoints is worthwhile.
  2. I actually experienced the experiment and was retargeted by them & thought - hey that's Velocity!

However, the bad:

  1. I get really annoyed by B2B brands interjecting themselves into my consumer experience. Its bad enough pre-rolling car adverts, but I really don't want to sit through even 4 seconds of a middleware software ad when my kids are wanting to show me a Minecraft tutorial on YouTube. 
  2. In Velocity's case, I experienced (1) but even worse - I'm already a customer! So I do not need more (intrusive) advertising thanks!

So a couple of things need to change to stop the current platforms being a bit of a blunt instrument:

  1. Ad networks need to provide more granularity in letting advertisers choose which sites their ads appear on.
  2. Retargeting needs to develop a behavioural dimension, which lets advertisers serve up ads not only on whether a consumer has previously visited their site (and nurture them thru a funnel) but also on other data such as purchase history,  CRM profile or other digital behaviours.

Anyone else have thoughts on the matter?