BrainTrust Query: How to Build Relevance Into Your Media Plans

May 26, 2011

Through a special
arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current article
from the Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research blog.

Relevance marketing is about
finding a person who is in a need state for a given offer and delivering messages
(push) or making your brand easily available (pull) at exactly the right moment.
The difference between relevance marketing and traditional approaches is that
you would prefer to deliver more messages to the same person at a moment of
relevance than to deliver broader reach to people who occasionally need your
type of offer but not at that time.

So, if you were creating a media strategy
based on relevance rather than reach, how would you redirect your priorities?

Focus messaging on what makes your brand relevant to people. Are they
planning a healthy dinner for tonight? Looking to power up before work? Looking
to be sexually attractive tonight? Create messages that help people achieve
their goals, not a hard sell for your product.

Owned media. You would make visiting your brand’s website a habit.
Give them a repeated reason to come there based on relevance to their lives. is an example.

Presence in topic-based forums and communities. Some of these third-party
places on the web take advertising, but certainly, your brand can participate
in these discussions as long as you don’t trick anyone (like having an
employee not disclose who they work for).

Search marketing. People search for things when they are relevant to
them. You probably could be more creative at thinking about what terms people
are using to search in order to fulfill a need or desire that your offer addresses.

Display advertising based on relevance. When someone shares an article
or even just reads articles on a given topic, they are declaring that this
topic is relevant to them. Certain companies like ShareThis (disclosure, they
are a consulting client of mine) offer the ability to reach an audience to
whom your offer is relevant, at scale. Behavioral targeting methods based on
shopping or abandoned carts can also trigger relevance-based display advertising

Shopper marketing. Catalina produces coupons and brand messages at
checkout based on your shopping patterns. They can model the relevance of certain
types of products to a shopper’s life and deliver coupons at the right time.
Thematic shopper marketing ideas can also be created to make a product stand
out to a shopper’s given their goals for that trip.

Sharing. Friends share what they think is relevant to other friends.
Make your brand messages highly sharable to encourage this social media mechanism.

Location aware offers. As mobile becomes a reality, it offers a new
way of delivering a highly relevant message. Especially for retail establishments,
relevance is in large part based on geographic proximity.

Discussion Questions: What media are the best drivers for relevance marketing? What will likely be the best new media tools driving relevance in the future?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

7 Comments on "BrainTrust Query: How to Build Relevance Into Your Media Plans"

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Max Goldberg
10 years 11 months ago

Digital media is the best driver for relevance marketing, with direct mail second. Both can deliver a precise message to a consumer. Digital has the capability to deliver that message in-store as the consumer is about to purchase, and can instantly tailor the message to incent purchase.

Dan Frechtling
10 years 11 months ago
The most relevant marketing combines behavior and context with creative. Behavior tells us individual propensity to buy. Context tells us times and places on their path to purchase. Joel’s examples of search marketing, cookie- and publisher-targeted display, and shopper offers based on purchase history are great examples combining both. Next, our creative needs to be break through or our effort won’t get noticed. Consumer insights help us find the relevant message or the off-beat irrelevant surprise. But relevance is not enough. Most marketers are not able to direct 100% of media to the heaviest buyers in the most relevant situations and hit the numbers. New and light buyers are critical to brand growth, yet they are the consumers that owned media, communities, search marketing, and sharing may miss. Informing them, reminding them (even interrupting them) drives sales. Why? They may be 80% of a brand’s buyers driving 50% of volume. Let’s say they buy 1X a year. If reach marketing increases their likelihood on a given day from 1/365 to 2/365, the sales double (reference… Read more »
Phil Rubin
Phil Rubin
10 years 11 months ago

The best drivers for relevance marketing start with engaged customers, the data they provide and the insights derived from those data. The data should drive the media mix and investment, though email is still king for existing customers.

Traditional media are useful for large brands with mass messaging needs but in those channels it has to be about context. For example, The Home Depot advertising on The Weather Channel during an approaching storm is incredibly relevant. Yet for an individual customer, an email or text message updating them about extended hours for the store nearest their home is perhaps even more relevant. As is messaging via social because of the amount of time people spend with social media, especially Facebook.

Ultimately, relevance is about being meaningful to the customer, which translates to value:
– Value for their time to engage with the message
– Value for the data they provided to enable personalization, and
– Value based on their understood needs and wants based on past purchase behavior.

Lisa Bradner
Lisa Bradner
10 years 11 months ago
Joel, thanks for kicking off such a great topic. (Disclosure: This is exactly what we do at Geomentum: put relevant media in front of consumers when they are ready to receive the message.) Your list is great but I think you forgot one critical component which is core to what we do: data modeling and insights. You need to start by defining relevant “for whom.” Most brands have multiple target segments who arrive at the brand via different paths to purchase, want different things from that brand and may or may not grant that brand permission to engage with them one to one. If you don’t understand those nuances and keep your messages separate and distinct you risk being overly familiar with one group of customers while failing to engage a group of customers who may really want to engage with you. In our work, every media plan starts with a distinct modeling exercise to understand the footprint, behavior, and channel use of key consumer segments. It’s not necessarily about stalking individuals to try to… Read more »
Ed Rosenbaum
10 years 11 months ago

I believe that relevance is dependent on the consumer need at the time. So what is the best method to keep your product in the mind’s eye of the consumer when their needs arise? It has to be visually transmitted either through television, YouTube or a smartphone promotion. Not any single method will be the primary source of info sent to the consumer at the time of need. None of us are that intelligent–although some want to believe they are. If I were forced to choose but one, that would be future Smartphone technology.

Joel Rubinson
10 years 11 months ago

Thanks for all the great comments. One point I want to emphasize is that the media strategy implied here is not people focused, it’s focused on the moment. In other words, the key media question is not “to whom,” it is “when and where?”

Matthew Keylock
Matthew Keylock
10 years 11 months ago
The big challenge here is being relevant over time and across all the channels. There are many different agencies and suppliers with different approaches across all these channels. This is a huge fragmentation issue that is still growing fast. So when you look at the brand interaction through the eyes of an individual over time it can be very confusing and unrewarding (even if your campaign aggregate response rates seem good!). There are many components that need to come together to allow you to deliver the right message at the right time. Key to it all is knowing the customer at a personal level to know what the message and the channel should be and to be able to measure what worked for them as an individual. This requires granular level data on engagement/transactions and granular level data on media exposure. Shopping data has been available for some time and now media data is becoming available at this level. The combination of these assets is creating some exciting targeting and execution opportunities in the media… Read more »

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