jump to navigation

Recalibrating The Meaning of “Relevant” March 11, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Measurement, Online Marketing.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Have you ever refinanced your mortgage only to be bombarded by offers to lower your mortgage rate for six weeks after you closed on your new loan? This happens because financial services companies are purchasing “triggers” from credit bureaus that indicate you have had a recent loan approval. The problem with these triggers is that they are not timely. By the time the marketing communication gets to the customer, it’s too late.

Relevance = right message + right time + right place

Perhaps it is a cliché, but it’s a good one. Too many marketers focus entirely on the message component of relevance. For these marketers, “place” is typically an outbound channel and “time” is based on the internal campaign calendar – not the customer’s needs. To be relevant, marketers must step outside the confines of the functional silo that they are responsible for and think outside in – from the perspective of the customer. In addition to targeting the message itself based upon a customer’s stated or implied needs, relevance requires:  

  • Timely reaction or response to customer actions. Although some marketers are experimenting with trigger-based communications and on-site customized messaging, the prominence of these tactics pales in comparison to the weekly or semi-weekly campaign pushes. The beauty of these tactics, however, is that they can be automated.
  • Cross-channel integration. Your customers don’t care that you are only responsible for email and not the website or direct mail and not the call center. When a potential customer clicks on a search result or an online ad and lands on your generic home page or receives an offer in the mail and calls customer service to inquire further, he expects a seamless handoff. Yet, creative elements often dominate conversations about integrated marketing rather than a focus on what the customer is trying to achieve as he traverses the channels. The result of this oversight? For the customer, it often means dead ends and unnecessary frustration. For the company, it means lost opportunities and, possibly, damage to the brand.
  • A programmatic approach. Did you know that maximizing individual campaign response might be to the detriment of overall program ROI? That’s right. Sending more messages may generate a higher response, but how many others are simply tuning out? The current industry standard in the retail sector is 1-2 email messages a week. Amazon differentiates itself in the inbox by not always being there. An email offer from Amazon might be, “A brand new Leonard Cohen CD is available. Since you have enjoyed Leonard Cohen in the past, we thought you might want to know…” This programmatic approach requires different metrics than the campaign-centric approach – for example, program engagement over time or revenue per customer (not campaign).


1. Suzanne Obermire - March 12, 2008

Now, consider this: you have just completed a loan application for that refi. This is after considerable research into terms, etc. Then, seemingly at the last moment, the lender tries to hit you with ‘hidden’ fees, or perhaps the loan officer fails to return your call in a timely fashion.

Then, a Fed X guy delivers a loan application package from your current mortgage holder. The app has been pre-filled out by your bank; you’re pre-approved for a loan with a low interest rate. All you have to do is sign and FedX back (which the bank graciously paid for). You do it gladly.

Now, in this case, the refi trigger is a success–it reached you exactly when you were shopping for a loan, and before you completed your transaction.

The above success story (even using 1st class mail or a phone call to deliver the refi offer) is the type of program that we experienced using credit triggers.

But, your point is very well taken. You need to take timely action on a timely (and pertinent) trigger to make these types of programs a success.

2. Elana Anderson - March 13, 2008

Thanks for the example. It’s a good one and it is on a different level from the hordes of bulk mail offers that I was referring to. The example highlights some key factors that obviously were a key part of making the campaign a success. The campaign was focused on current customers who had a mortgage relationship the bank, the data integration (prefilled forms only requiring a signature) to make things seamless and easy for the customer, etc. I think the example also underscores my point about thinking through the process from the customer’s point of view.

Thanks for sharing!

3. Comment démasquer les anonymes sur ask.fm - November 22, 2014

Hey. I noticed your site title, “Recalibrating The Meaning of “Relevant” ” does not really
reflect the content of your web page. When writing your website title,
do you think it’s best to write it for SEO or for your
visitors? This is something I’ve been struggling with simply because I want good search rankings but at the same time I want the best
quality for my visitors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: