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Cynthia Clark | May 3, 2012

5 Ways to Build Relevant Marketing Campaigns

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blocks.jpgToday's customers are no longer bowled over by a great advertisement unless it targets them individually, giving them information that's relevant to them. This puts extra pressure on organizations to develop marketing campaigns that aren't just captivating, but also give added value.

The predominant theme in this week's Responsys Interact 2012 was that customers want a relationship with your company. "Don't market to every Tom, Dick, and Harry when you can market to your Tom, Dick, and Harry," was the opening message. As Responsys CEO Dan Springer put it, marketing is heading to individualized programs that give each customer something that's relevant to him.

The need for personalized messages that give added value to customers was a common theme through the conference's first day: Savvy marketers need to focus on the following five points in order to build great campaigns that are relevant to customers.

  1. Relationships first, acquisitions second: Rather than just focus on the first sale, companies should make sure that they build lasting relationships with customers. This includes telling customers the truth. Scott Olrich, Responsys' chief marketing and sales officer, said that while fast food marketing has traditionally been focused on obscuring the truth, Chipotle tells customers what's in their food, including the nutritional content, creating a trust-based relationship. "Relationship-focused companies building a great experience that will market itself," he said. Apple, for example, is doing this with its new iPhone ads: Rather than market the phone itself, the new ads, using celebrities like Samuel Jackson and Zooey Deschanel, focus on Siri and the impact this software can have on the iPhone experience.
  2. Digital is the key to not having any dead ends: To build brand relationships, new school marketers are focusing on both emotion and behavior. According to Matt Walsh, Crispin Porter + Bogusky's vice president and executive experience director, if a company has an emotional connection with its customers but fails to carry out behavioral modeling, it will be left with dead ends. Digital marketing is allowing companies to bring all their loose ends together and tie them into a continuous process. Domino's Pizza, for example, displayed customer reviews--good and bad--in Times Square, and then used these reviews to develop television ads. Walsh stresses the importance of blurring the lines between traditional and digital marketing so that customers start taking ownership of the relationships. "[We need] to have relationships with individuals, not demographics," he said.
  3. Move from manual campaigns to automated interactions: Siloed campaigns are something of the past and today's customers expect campaigns that transcend channels and bring everything together. The trick is to automated interactions so that each customer gets the information that's relevant. Scottrade implemented an automated campaign to help customers in making a decision, for instance. April Mullen, branding and marketing communications analyst at Scottrade, said the organization moved away from its one-size-fits-all experience and instead introduced a multi-touchpoint campaign that is automatically tailored to the customer. The organization is bringing together both online and offline data to help it send the right automated messages.
  4. Display as a relationship channel: Olrich said today's companies are trying to acquire individuals, and one way of doing this is by showing these prospects display ads that are relevant to them. Sandy Martin, director of e-marketing at Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, said the organization was facing a challenge: Although customers were making a reservation to lease a car, sometimes they failed to pick it up and the company wasn't making the sale. The rental car company started using emails together with display ads to remind customers of their rental car reservation. This led to a 22 percent increase in pickup rates. According to Scott Jones, general manager of display at Responsys, display ads not only need to be targeted and personalized, but should also be used in conjunction with email. Additionally, companies should leverage display ads for customers who aren't responding to emails.
  5. The real value in social is the data: Marketers need to tap into the information that customers are sharing on social media to better tailor the dialogue. As Jonathan Spier, executive vice president at CalmSea, puts it, social isn't just about fans and likes, but the value of the data that customers share on properties like Facebook. For example, if an organization knows a customer's birthday, it can send an offer around that time. Spier said research has shown that more than 70 percent of people are willing to share their social graph with companies that ask. Fashion retailer O'Neill is doing this and leverages information about birthdays, location, and interests to start a dialogue with customers. Spier said having direct personal information from each customer about what they really like gives companies the opportunity to send them information that is related to these interests.

With so much information already being thrown at them from every direction, customers are likely to overlook anything that they don't consider relevant. Marketers need to deliver this personalized information, or risk being ignored.


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