The Guide to Relevance Marketing
Marketing strategies and customer buying behaviors tend to shift and change over time, ushering in new “eras of marketing” and creating a business landscape that pushes companies to adapt to stay relevant.
Based on customer behavior within the last decade, this period of time beginning in 2010 can be termed “the era of loyalty marketing.”
These were the days when consumers bought the same products repeatedly, as long as your business gave them the right incentives, discounts, and promotions. Customers would often stay “loyal” to their favorite brands for many years.
Regrettably, those days are no more.
Beginning in 2020, this coming decade is on track to become “the era of relevance marketing,” where customers make buying decisions based on how relevant a brand is to their particular needs at that specific moment.
When prominent consumer trends like this begin to take hold, it’s important to take notice and begin forming a plan to adapt and thrive in these new environments.
In this guide, we will explore what relevance marketing is, how it directly impacts your business, and show you exactly what your company can do to shift from loyalty marketing to relevance marketing as quickly and smoothly as possible.
What is relevance marketing?
Relevance marketing describes a trend in consumer buying behavior that focuses on how relevant a business or brand is to their needs in a particular moment.
In other words, customers have changed their behavior. Before it was that people would exclusively buy products from their favorite brands. It was often based on loyalty and incentives, such as coupons and discount programs. Now, they are becoming increasingly more likely to purchase products that fit their rapidly-changing needs. And they aren’t paying as much attention to the company or brand they’re buying from.
Suppose your current customer retention strategy focuses exclusively on incentive programs such as discounts, rewards, or rebates to “bring back loyal customers.” In that case, it’s time to begin strategizing about making the shift to relevance by bringing in more personalization, experiences, and personality into your products and services.
Why is relevance marketing important today?
Your customer’s needs are constantly changing, requiring your brand and business to change and adapt with them.
Relevance marketing is more important now than ever, as consumers have been thrown into a “whirlwind of change.” It’s now easier than ever to detect which companies and brands are adapting to the changing times and which ones are stuck in the past and unwilling to explore new opportunities.
Your customers are changing before your eyes. How is your business going to stay relevant to your customers and show them you care about their problems and needs as they evolve?
This rapidly shifting landscape is why relevance marketing and a customer-centric approach are absolutely essential for thriving in today’s business environment.
A notable portion of your customers are likely completely different people compared to who they were just a year prior, and they’re looking to your brand for clues that you understand them and are going above and beyond to help them solve these new problems.
You should continue to focus your marketing efforts on solutions to their needs and problems. Simultaneously you should be demonstrating your dedication to providing them resources and relevant answers related to their current unique set of challenges. Businesses that are thriving are often using content marketing to be valuable and relevant for customers.
In simpler terms, your business should begin to “ebb and flow” with your customers to stay relevant. This can only be accomplished by paying close attention to what your customers are saying and understanding which elements are motivating that change.
Relevance is a marketing differentiator
In today’s competitive marketing landscape, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the competition and differentiate your brand from others in your industry.
By incorporating relevance marketing into the digital marketing mix, you’ll be able to compete at a higher level and show customers that you understand their wants, needs, and desires better than all of your competitors.
Most likely, others in your industry aren’t paying close attention to how relevant they are to their customer base. That provides your business with the perfect opportunity to overtake them and attract more of their customers who’ll feel right at home with your brand.
Other brands can continue pushing consumers to where they want them to be. You’ll overtake them by staying relevant and meeting your consumers where they are, joining them on the customer journey.
This is the key differentiator between brands that use relevant content and those that continue to ignore this trending shift in the marketplace.
Staying relevant today is more than just offering the right recommendations and information to your customers. It increasingly involves demonstrating your knowledge and understanding of the challenges your customers face and articulating your desire to support their changing wants and needs.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) of relevance marketing
Understanding the performance of relevance marketing efforts in your business may seem subjective at first glance. However there are a number of key data points your business can use to determine how your relevance is trending over time.
While developing your relevance marketing efforts, your business should always be looking at standard marketing metrics such as:
- Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
- Conversion Rates
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Lead to Customer Ratio
While these marketing KPIs are the core of any business and can’t be ignored, relevance marketing is a great way to complement and improve your core marketing metrics. It is especially important as customer buying behavior begins to trend toward brand relevance.
Key Aspects for Relevance Marketing
When your business is ready to dive into relevance marketing, there are a few tactics that can help guide you through the process. We’ll discuss how your company can stay relevant by using personalization, tailored experiences, shared values, and establishing buyer confidence.
1. Use Personalization & Tailored Experiences
Do your customers feel their experiences with your company are constantly tailored towards their priorities and needs?
As your customers continue to change and evolve over time, they’re going to expect more personalization and customization with how you deliver your products and services.
In fact, your brand doesn’t even have to go “all-out” when it comes to personalization. Making a few simple tweaks and adjustments, such as including your customer’s name or a brief note where they least expect it, can make a big difference.
If you do this, your customers feel that your brand is adapting, personalizing, and creating tailored experiences where possible. They’ll see your company as relevant to their needs and will be much more likely to spend their hard-earned cash with you.
2. Uphold Purpose & Shared Values
Customers love when brands advance and share their purpose and values. It makes them feel immediately more connected to that brand and more likely to become a customer.
Is your business aware of the purpose and shared values of your customers? If so, are you actively seeking out ways to advance these values and show customers how you’re doing so?
Think about how your business can show your customers that you value what they do, and you’ll instantly begin to become more relevant in their eyes.
3. Understand Partnership & Flow
Do your customers feel that they work well with your company? Do they see your company as a “partner” in their daily lives, helping them with their needs, problems, and struggles?
Brands that work on the customer experience and make each transaction as simple and smooth as possible for their customers will gain relevance and likely experience business growth as a result.
Take a moment to discuss how your brand is interacting with customers and how these interactions can be further improved in order to make your customers consider you an invaluable partner.
4. Ensure Protection & Buying Confidence
Do customers feel safe buying from your brand, and are they confident in their purchase?
To stay relevant, your business must exude a sense of safety, security, and confidence in the presence of your customers.
Implementing security measures is incredibly important, such as authentication and secure browsing for e-commerce purchases. These measures should make your customers feel that doing business with your brand is safe and makes them want to interact with you again in the future.
Offering your customers a sense of protection, security, and buying confidence will help boost your relevance and make it more likely that customers will do business with you in the future.
Create your plan to stay relevant today
The era of relevance marketing is officially here – it’s time to ask yourself how your business is adapting to the shifting sands of the marketplace.
Customers are increasingly making buying decisions based on how relevant a particular brand is to their needs, which requires companies to use relevance as a marketing differentiator.
By using personalization and tailoring custom experiences to your customers, you’ll be able to show them that your company cares for their needs and is willing to adapt. Furthermore, when you show your customers that you share their purpose and values, and make your prospects feel that you have their best interests in mind, you’ll be well on your way to staying relevant in today’s marketplace.