Commentary

The R Factor: Relevance At Scale

It's no secret that we live in the Era of Relevance. Consumers are in control -- they want relevant offers online, on the go and at the store. In today’s digital world, 50 to 500 milliseconds may be all the time there is to say something interesting to consumers and secure their intent to purchase before they click away, never to come back. They reward relevance, but punish irrelevance, by disengaging -- and worse, showing their dissatisfaction through social media.

The right experience for the right consumer at the right time

Achieving the R Factor is delivering consumer relevance at scale. It is the ability to consistently unleash relevant experiences across all channels, consumer intent segments and geographies. Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook have built their reputations and business models with a singular focus on shaping and relevantly serving their consumers’ intents at scale. These masters of consumer relevance deliver the right experience to the right people at the right time consistently, across all channels.

For example, Google’s Quality Score algorithm measures consumer relevance and directly affects how much advertisers pay for an ad. Amazon built its business model on consumer relevance, offering consumers automated recommendations for individual purchase ntents. With this model, Amazon morphed from an online bookseller to the number one retail brand, disrupting notable brands from Borders to Best Buy. Amazon’s year-over-year growth for the first quarter of 2011 was more than 38 percent -- three times the growth of the rest of the e-commerce market. Apple's iTunes has changed the way people listen to music and interact with digital content.

Having the R Factor does not mean creating more campaigns and Web sites with associated costs to appeal to each consumer segment. It is about using the efficiency and flexibility of today’s technology and analytics to make relevance affordable and effective at every moment of truth -- every time.

It means that less is often more -- smartly putting daa and technology to work to ensure that each campaign precisely targets the right consumers and each experience is directly relevant to each target’s intent. More and more, marketing is about improving and sustaining business performance while controlling costs. It is about remaining present and relevant to prospects at multiple moments of truth while justifying budgets and demonstrating quantifiable return on spending.

From relevance to relationships

Primary benchmarking research has recently been conducted across industries to better understand how relevant companies are to consumers and how trends differ across industries. The research assessed attributes such as intent coverage and messaging relevance at various moments of truth -– from ads to Web sites.

In every industry, there were leaders and laggards. Retail and travel industry players were among the highest performers, likely backed by technology platforms that enable scale and an immediate understanding of the do-or-die imperative of relevance.

The study also revealed a direct link between a company’s relevant interactions and consumer regard for the brand. The greater the number of relevant interactions, the stronger a consumer’s relationship with the brand, and the more likely a person is to shop and make purchases. Moving forward, companies must measure brand value in terms of cumulative consumer relevance -- or they will be left behind.

Transforming marketing - and business

While the benefits of the R Factor are clear, most companies are not yet positioned to fully realize them. Whether a company takes a transformational or phased approach to reinventing performance, the pursuit of the R Factor begins with several essential and connected building blocks:

Mend organizational seams

Delivering integrated consumer experiences across every channel requires unifying consumer strategies within marketing, across to sales and service, and in collaboration with IT

Connect and decipher big data

Integrate isolated data from functional and technical silos to glean proprietary consumer insights that inform how to precisely flex experiences based on your consumers’ contexts and intents.

Balance butterflies and bytes

There is no single perfect and persistent experience for all of your consumers across all of their intents. Combine cutting-edge creativity with cutting-edge analytics in a rapid loop to continuously optimize your consumers’ experiences.

Drive agility and innovation

Both the culture and strategy must aggressively promote rapid trialing, integration and scaling of the latest creative, technology and analytical innovations while diligently measuring performance along the way.

 

 

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