True relevancy is within our reach – it’s time to grab it

Relevance is a word that gets tossed around a lot in the marketing world.  But what does it really mean?

Unlike personalisation, relevance is less intrusive. It is not about an individual’s specific behaviour, but more a group of individuals being motivated by a similar driver of behaviour. The ultimate aim of true relevance is providing the right message to the right customer on the right channel at the right time.

Unfortunately, true relevancy in that sense, does not exist. There are attempts, but most fall far short of what we should be aiming for.

The problem? If we don’t understand who the customer really is, beyond just age and gender, then we can’t effectively get the right message to the right person. In addition, if data continues to exist in siloes, we can never measure the right channel, let alone understand what time would work best.

Siloed channels

These days, there are a huge number of channels with which to communicate – all of which have their place. The original method of Direct Mail is perceived as expensive but has proven high impact for many consumer segments – in particular, for high-value brands. Digital has boomed and taken over 50% of the UK’s advertising spend but is often run as an isolated stream in the business, which is managed by a separate team.

So, why are channels so siloed?  Because the tools that we use to target and plan on each one, are themselves isolated. In print, the industry still uses TGI data for targeting; in Out-of-Home (OOH), it’s evolving from geodemographic to mobile data; for television, there’s a move from BARB to Sky Adsmart.

All of these channels are evolving hugely in terms of targeting – many used to use solely static or modelled survey data. Now, people are beginning to understand the fundamental role that big data can play in enabling more accurate and relevant targeting.

The problem is that, while each channel might take huge leaps forward, they are still restricted to using only their data for that specific channel: Facebook targeting will only allow you to build audiences behind their ‘Walled Garden’; Sky will only target using the data on their platform.

In other words, omnichannel, for now, is a myth.

Becoming relevant

This is compounded by the reality of a post-GDPR world, where data is rightly tied down, but also where the tech giants continue to control much of online consumer targeting and share few insights.

Consumers want relevant targeting, but they don’t want to feel like they are being intruded upon. Every day, we hear how customers are fed up of being bombarded on multiple channels with mismatched targeting. Instead, we should be using the knowledge we have about customers to be relevant to them, instead of bucketing them into a traditional category based on simple demographics.

We have an opportunity to use the wealth of data that surrounds us, to understand what matters most to consumers, and to do this across all channels rather than just within those offered by the tech giants.

Understanding your customers

So, the question is how, in this environment, can brands enhance, compliantly & effectively, their knowledge of customers across multiple channels to ensure the right customers get the right message at the right time, at the right place, through the right channel?

We believe the answer lies in truly getting to know your customer, better than ever before, going beyond transactional behaviour and demographics, to identify the passions and motivations behind their intent to purchase.

In a world of big consumer data this ’emotional’ understanding of customers is now possible and can be activated compliantly and at speed.

By discovering what a customer is passionate about and what motivates them, you can understand much more about who they are then you would ever learn from static demographic data. This information allows you to appreciate not only how best to communicate with them, personalising communications so that they are more appealing, but also what channel would be most relevant for them.

Finally, by enriching this with other data sources, you can locate the correct audience and make sure your messaging is being seen by the right customers.

True relevancy is now within our reach.

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