Merkle Data Shows Relevance Critically Important In 2020

While marketing traditionally owned the communication between brand and consumer, the entire company now needs to know the customer, understand their needs, and connect with them through their lifetime.

It’s the message behind the latest marketing imperative, Hyper-Personalization and the Connected Customer Experience, released this week from performance and data-driven agency Merkle.

The guidelines are intended to assist CMOs through people-based marketing in 2020.

New to this year’s imperative, Merkle polled 150 marketing executives and 440 consumers in November 2019. Some 51% of survey participants cited personal experience as the top influence when making a purchase.

Product experience at 46%, brand experience at 42%, review site recommendations at 40%, social media ads at 21%, social media recommendations from friends at 20%, seeing it online at 19%, and website experiences at 17% followed.

About 54% cited ads that are relevant to their life as being the most memorable, followed by ads with engaging creative or video at 53%, and ads relevant to what they clicked on or searched for at 44%.

Most survey participants, at 54%, said they see advertising on third-party review sites. Some 45% cited billboards or outdoor advertising, while 40% said direct mail, 31% cited on-demand television or streaming, 29% said news sites or publications, and 28% said print or digital magazines.

Email and search engines came in at 19% and 17%, respectively, and social media followed with 11%. The need to increase “relevancy” in advertising is one of the top reasons Merkle expects to see more companies bring martech in-house within the next 24 months. 

Some 59% of consumers say relevancy is the top reason that an ad catches their eye, and 39% have made a purchase after being exposed to a relevant ad. About 48% of marketers now outsource data sourcing, with 34% making this shift in the past 12 months to reach relevancy in advertising.

Today it’s all about creating “relevant” experiences to each consumer at every turning point by delivering a connected customer experience that relies on mastering the identity of the consumer while remaining within privacy rules. Merkle’s report outlines three areas to help CMOs achieve this.

Deliver the Total Customer Experience:  Marketers must focus on the value of each interaction with the customer, pointing to what makes them different with their brand, product, or service and creating bonds that stand out among other relationships.

Take Ownership of Identity:  Marketers have an opportunity to connect personally with a consumer and make this a key advantage over competitors. To do this, they must build their own private identity graphs.

Enable Agility through Strategic Sourcing:  The ability for a brand to support innovation and understand and respond to their customer is dependent on having access to the right skills and the agility to access them.

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