Consumers don’t live in funnels.
The journeys we take aren’t necessarily the intricate customer journeys designed and defined by marketers.
Despite big data, it’s impossible to quantify the relevance of all the marketing messages we’re exposed to.
Research from Rakuten Marketing released earlier this year sheds light on the extent of the challenge.
The percentage of marketing “lost on the wrong channels or strategies” is significant.
More than 42% of the marketers surveyed believe at least 20% of their budgets are lost.
Back of the envelope arithmetic puts this annual loss at $16 billion.
The demands presented by channels and strategies translate into a creative challenge… how relevant the message will be, and what kind of results it will deliver.
This challenge is a reminder that personalization does not equal relevance.
The Perfect Marketing Message
In a simpler time, Peter Drucker wrote…
“The perfect advertisement is one of which the reader can say, ‘This is for me, and me alone.”
What Drucker envisioned may or may not be fulfilled through an evolving compact between the marketer and the consumer – where the consumer cracks open the door and invites marketing in.
“Audiences crave tailored messages that cater to them specifically and they are willing to offer information that enables marketers to do so,” says Kevin Tash, CEO of Tack Media, a digital marketing agency in Los Angeles.
“When you create a Facebook profile, and signify that you like business travel, enter your job title, and input your hobbies into your profile, you are directly or indirectly making yourself open to marketers to share ‘relevant ads’ that pertain to someone with your segment and interest. And if they are not relevant, there is always a feedback tab to help tailor more custom feeds to that customer.”
But How Relevant Is The Ad?
There is the perennial challenge of timing.
A marketing message that’s ignored today could be riveting tomorrow.
The marketer’s search for “touchpoints” attempts to solve this problem, but these touchpoints aren’t always easy to identify.
We can remind the owner of a printer it’s time to buy more ink and we can target a car owner whose lease is about to expire.
We can target new homeowners with offers of drapery and furniture… not exactly a new tactic. Welcome Wagon has been around since 1928.
And then there’s retargeting.
Retargeting And Relevance
Marketers use retargeting campaigns to
- Create brand awareness
- Encourage social engagement
- Drive sales
- Retain customers
- Generate leads
In certain situations, relevance is strong and ROI comes quickly.
“In general, only 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store,” says Kevin Tash.
“That is why retargeting can boost ad response up to 400 percent.”
“To have unique messaging to customer segments, it is crucial that the time and the effort is taken to create uniquely tailored messages through a series of cross-channel communications.”
Another Way To Gauge Relevance
“Relevance is synonymous to sales,” says Michel Ballings, assistant professor of business analytics at the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business.
“Advertisers maximize sales, not relevance. They do not measure relevance, they measure sales, and use it as a proxy for relevance.”
Will The Relevance Of Marketing Messages Improve?
Ads with promises such as, “Foods To Help Eliminate Nicotine From The Body” and “The 9 Best Stocks To Own In 2018” aren’t going away.
After all, converting cold traffic has always been tough, and despite big data, it’s still tough.
But the process of creating and keeping a customer has to start somewhere, which takes us back to inescapable marketing fundamentals.
For all that tech has brought to the table, marketing remains lodged in moving consumers through five stages…
The more relevant the message, the less friction along the way.
“We have come a long way in the tools,” says Tash.
“But it takes a few early adopters to pave the way and to creatively market to audiences. That is something that marketers still are learning.”
Paul Talbot is President of Southport Harbor, a copywriting and marketing strategy boutique based in Coronado, California.