Reaching the right people, at the right time, with the right message lies at the very heart of modern marketing and communications. The worn ‘content is king’ maxim ignores the fact content is powerless without a relevant context. Luckily, brands now have access to technologies that can place them at exactly the right moments in the consumer journey. When you add the right message, you have a real chance to impact behaviour.
In the past, broad-reach campaigns were the dominant marketing strategy in affecting consumer behaviour. Often reserved for those with deep pockets, mass-reach brand-building does have a convincing argument supporting it. Marketing academics and institutions, like Ehrenberg Bass and The IPA, insist it’s a given when building brands. But the important distinction here is just that: it’s an effective mechanism for branding.
However, when we consider the shopper in a shopper environment, a big brand campaign can be significantly more effective when smartly combined with conversion-driving marketing. With 45,000 products in an average supermarket, it certainly seems like a long shot that your product will end up in the consumer’s basket. It seems even less likely when we consider the average household only buys around 200 products a year, with just 41 items in their weekly shop. That is a 0.09% chance your product is the chosen one. Even when they have been exposed to an outstanding TV creative for weeks beforehand, we cannot just hope a shopper will convert this brand equity into a purchase action.
However, reaching them with quality content on their phone, for example, informing them of a price promotion on the product they are interested in just before they shop, has a far greater chance of influencing their behaviour there and then. Now you’ve got the right message for the right moment, and the possibility of turning the brand equity you’ve carefully built into conversion.
Even without expensive awareness campaigns, brands can influence potential customers with precise, accurate and relevant proximity marketing. Location technology has transformed our ability to engage with our audiences whilst they are exploring and evaluating their options in real-time, for a fraction of the price we pay for broad reach. It’s a golden age for brands with small budgets and big ambitions. Even technology we thought had died a death is re-emerging like a proximity phoenix. Yes, beacons really are back, and Amazon and Google are leading the way with better and more advanced tools.
What these companies understand is there is a significant value in contextual relevance for consumers. Informing the conversation has never been more important or cost-effective. If I were a challenger brand, I’d be thinking about how I can win in the right context.