Want to Beat the Competition? Try Contextual Marketing

 
 

 A few of the recurring themes we hear at Selligent: Consumers expect convenience and cross-channel relevance. Data and technology is turning marketing upside down creating opportunity but also complexity. Amazon’s mastery of data-driven relationship marketing campaigns is leaving most retailers in the dust.

It’s with these themes in mind that Selligent set out to create a comprehensive guide for relationship marketers, including case studies and a strategic framework to manage the chaos and complexity of the current marketing environment. In the new The CMO Solution Guide: Context And Consumers, we conducted a survey of more than 100 CMO Club marketing executive as well as interviews with marketers at leading B2C brands. Gordon Ho, CMO at Princess Cruises emphasized that, “Marketers must learn to read real-time signals and use them to eliminate irrelevance.”

We agree, and believed that our research would show that marketers are working to deliver real-time relevance. Yet our survey delivered a telling curveball.

When asked what would deliver the most value when engaging consumers, 71% of respondents cited “Understanding their situation and engaging at a very personal level based on the consumer’s specific circumstances,” followed by “Anticipating their needs and proactively offering to solve them” at 67%. Makes sense.

When we asked how they’re doing, only 34% are able to associate any existing knowledge of the consumer during the time of interaction. Many cited data silos and technical complexity as culprits. Again, seems aligned with our own experience.

When we asked what would motivate them to change and increase their use of contextual data, 81% of marketers surveyed said they would try it if their competitors started first. That’s significantly more than the 60% who said that they would do it if their technology allowed it. 

Relationship marketers know that using data to create more relevance across channels delivers increased value. They know that data silos and complex technology is in their way. Yet, the vast majority will only be motivated to improve if they see that their competitors are making the move first.

This insight lead us to wonder if marketers are not getting resources to improve simply by showing consumer trend data to their managers. I also wonder how many marketers count Amazon as a major competitor, as they are most certainly incorporating contextual data to create relevant cross-channel marketing engagement, as are companies like Netflix, WalMart and Zulily.

If their more traditional brick and mortar competitors are not moving forward with contextual relevance, now is precisely the time to advance.

In our interviews with Princess Cruises, Health Net and other brands, we believe we figured out precisely what motivates a relationship marketer to test contextual marketing even when competitors are sitting on the sidelines, and what it takes to get it right in big and small ways.  

RedFin shared a thoughtful consumer-focused campaign for first-time home buyers. A message is triggered by the first snowfall in their new home, giving them a chance to share a picture of their house covered with snow, creating memories and engagement.

Larger efforts can produce more robust capabilities that span across channels. Randa McFinn, Former VP of Marketing at Essex Property Trust notes that Essex has bigger ambitions, “We consider a consumer’s disposition, CRM data (location, behavior, attitudinal, location/time of day), a specific need, and social situation. There is a fleeting moment of time that all four elements come together. The more we know and can predict, the more relevant and better experience we can deliver.”

The key to success is to think about every marketing effort from the consumer perspective, starting with a key insight that can be used to make a relevant connection. These insights can be put through a simple framework we call LUV:

  • LIMIT time wasters and irrelevant messaging.
  • UNDERSTAND what motivates a consumer, using empathy to see their point of view
  • Provide VALUE to the customer with insights and suggestions that make sense

With this framework, marketers focus on what matters most, the customer. LUV helps marketers increase relevance quickly, and sets the stage for long-term improvement no matter what new trends emerge.

 

White paper - digital innovation

The CMO Solution Guide: Context and Consumers

L.U.V. is all you need . . . for consumer engagement. That is, if you Limit non-relevant communication, Use data to understand consumers, and add Value to consumers’ lives.

 

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