Non-Obvious Trends

Non-ObviousTM Trends

Ten Years of Insights Read by Over 1 Million People


Lured by the promise of Big Data, organizations sometimes segment audiences too narrowly and unintentionally end up abandoning large groups of potentially lucrative customers.


About This Trend:

Last year, I made the mistake of purchasing a bow tie. To be more specific, I made the mistake of searching for a bow tie online. It wasn’t really the bow tie that caused the problem. It was the ads. For weeks after I had conducted that online search, everywhere I looked online, ads for bow ties seemed to be following me around like banner equivalents of the paparazzi, and it was just as annoying.

The automated ad sequence was working so hard to convert me into a buyer, I even coined a term to describe the situation, joking in a blog post that I was being adver-stalked. According to any metric, I should have been an easy customer to convert. When I had trouble finding one that could be shipped fast enough to arrive in time for my event, I abandoned my online search and drove myself to a local store and bought a bow tie in person instead. At that point, I was no longer a bow tie customer.

And all the marketing dollars spent to reach me were wasted. This is Overtargeting, and the sad truth of online marketing today is that this is surprisingly common—and it is not accidental. There are plenty of unscrupulous people and companies who are profiting from this arrangement.


Trend Longevity Rating


Relevant For:

Originally Published In:

Non-Obvious 2018
Group 2
Layer 97
The Non-Obvious Insights Newsletter
Layer 118

Get the Stories (and Insights) You’ve Been Missing. Skip the obvious and anticipate the future with our weekly newsletter. Each Thursday, you’ll receive the 5-6 most fascinating and overlooked stories of the week curated from hundreds of sources by Rohit Bhargava, along with an insightful, brief summary. Join over 25,000 subscribers and sign up today.



Have a Question or Inquiry?

All emails will get a response within 24 hours!


What Are You Contacting Us About*: