Relevance and the customer experience

Consumers are now more comfortable seeing contextual ads

As a marketer, it’s easy to get engrossed in the brands we represent

Spending days on one client, crafting messages, and identifying unique selling points often lead us to inflate the significance of our work in the broader context of the real world. The reality, however, is that our work is but a single voice in a vast ocean of thousands, all striving to capture the attention of our audience and hoping that they will remain engaged long enough for us to persuade them to part with their hard-earned resources in return for our products and services. What many brands often overlook is that a marketing strategy isn’t a monologue; it’s not a speech set in stone and delivered to anyone close enough to hear. While a good marketing strategy works to initiate and maintain a dialogue, a great marketing strategy comprehends that brands don’t get to dictate what’s relevant or steer the flow of conversation; that’s the prerogative of the consumer.

There are several key factors that need to be considered to help shape relevant, effective communications that build relationships and provide mutual value to both brand and consumer.

Benefits, not features

The classic Apple iPod ‘1000 songs in your pocket’ ad remains a case study on developing communications that remain relevant, regardless of the level of prior knowledge held by each individual customer. By focusing on benefits rather than features, you can help the consumer feel informed and confident about your offering, and not overwhelmed or confused.

Context is key

While relevance has always been an important part of maximising engagement, consumer sentiment has seen a shift away from behavioural relevance in favour of contextual relevance; according to a study conducted by Harris Poll, commissioned by GumGum, 79% of consumers are now more comfortable seeing contextual ads. This goes beyond simply making sure that ads are placed next to relevant content, it requires an understanding of how your message fits alongside ongoing conversations of the moment and adapting communications to take the mindset of your audience into consideration. In short, it’s all about observing, listening, and learning from what’s happening in their world.

Understanding the journey 

Lastly, understanding the consumer journey is essential. Converting a prospect isn’t the ultimate aim; post-conversion engagement is the time to truly get to know each other. The opportunity for one-to-one conversation with your customer opens the door for the brand to build trust and deliver a tailored experience to maximise lifetime value. As always, keep it relevant. Just like life, taking a tactful tangent mid-chat can often deepen understanding of one another, identify pain points, and give you a chance to showcase what more you have to offer. A clumsy derailing of the dialogue, however, can lead to a disengaged customer and an awkward goodbye.

The essence of effective marketing lies in its dynamic nature. It’s not a one-sided dialogue, but a vibrant exchange that respects the consumer’s role in shaping the conversation. It’s about understanding the consumer’s needs, their knowledge, context, and their journey, and using this understanding to deliver relevant, engaging, and valuable communications. In this digital age, consumers have become more discerning and empowered. They demand personalisation, authenticity, and relevance. Brands that can meet these expectations will not only survive but thrive.

Marketing, therefore, is not just about selling a product or service. It’s about building relationships, creating value, and fostering trust. It’s about understanding the consumer’s world and making your brand a part of it in a meaningful way.

Featured image: cottonbro studio / Pexels

Fin Triggs, Digital Strategist at GOOD Agency

Fin Triggs is a Digital Strategist at purpose-driven strategic and creative agency GOOD. From automotive, to tech, to healthcare, he has developed and delivered KPI-beating strategies for a long and varied list of non-profit and commercial clients.

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