Savvy brands are taking personalization to the next level, serving up relevant messaging at the most advantageous moment. They’ve become so attuned to consumer behavior and the ideal conditions for conversion that they’re able to anticipate when and where someone’s interest might spike.
The secret? Environment.
Understanding the consumer based on more than just identity makes it possible to target your messaging more effectively. It’s all about using different data signals and environmental factors to provide context to where that person is along the path to purchase.
Weathering the Storm
One of the most obvious environmental factors that can affect a purchase is weather. Knowing current conditions and the forecast provides an opportunity to trigger and present consumers with relevant messages in real time. This could include an ad for ice cream on a hot day or a service reminder for a heating system before temperatures drop.
Our company used weather-triggered marketing for a charcoal company ad in neighborhoods where the local temperature hit a point ideal for grilling. The result: Engagement rates rose to three times the industry average.
Known area sales in a particular location or with a particular retailer is another factor that can benefit your marketing efforts. Selling products within a given market or location can tell you whether an advertisement for a new or improved product will spark interest among local residents. It can also tell you to adjust or pause advertising when inventory is low or out of stock.
Products don’t always hit shelves at the same time at every retailer. But if scanner data shows that the product has started to move, you can safely trigger location-based advertising in that area to build awareness and encourage additional sales. Running an ad before that might frustrate consumers who can’t find the product in stores and waste ad spend. You want the campaign to coincide with the rollout.
Beyond that, consumer intent can provide context. Being cognizant of data showing progress from interest to intent ensures ads are deployed at the right time to satisfy consumer needs. It means you’re targeting a qualified lead.
Each of these factors presents endless opportunities for personalization and optimization of your advertising efforts. You can employ anything from location-based advertising to weather-triggered marketing. Messaging becomes more timely and relevant to the recipient, resulting in more effective ad spend for advertisers.
Making an Impression
How you go about using environmental factors to improve marketing will vary by product or service, but the following are the best places to start:
1. Use a variety of data sources to get a more complete customer view.
Consumers know when brands are marketing to the masses. But pull some data and do a little segmentation, and all of a sudden you’ve got a more complete view of consumers. The more complete your customer view is, the easier it becomes to align and personalize your messaging. It also allows you to deploy an offer at the precise moment it matters most, creating a seamless experience that increases the chances of a purchase.
Let’s say you’re marketing suntan lotion. Promotions generally occur at certain times of year, right? But data can provide further context, opening up additional opportunities to target various consumer segments through weather-triggered ads. So when there’s a warm snap in the Midwest, you might want to set up a trigger to push out a message on a sunny day.
Location-based advertising can direct shoppers to a nearby store that has the products they’re looking for. Valassis worked with a regional grocer to drive visits from competitor stores using targeted, digital advertising media based on real-time shopper signals such as product interest and proximity to their locations. The approach was a success for the retailer which achieved a strong visit rate of 7.6%. Additionally, for nearly 10% of these store visits, dwell time ranged from 32 minutes to an hour.
2. Work with partners who can connect signals with your campaign.
A unified approach will always win out over siloed efforts. Cohesive campaign data allows for greater visibility into the impact and results. It also affords greater agility, making it easier to adjust advertising as needed — even weather-based marketing.
The only problem is that aggregating data from multiple sources on your own can be time-consuming. The lost time could translate into missed opportunities to connect with ideal consumers via real-time location-based advertising or weather-triggered ads. A third-party vendor can help you connect signals to optimize your campaign.
3. Know your market.
Future consumer behavior can often be traced back to interest and intent data. Interest data shows behavior over time, and intent data tells marketers what you are in the market for at a specific moment in time. If you’re able to identify how they interact across media, you’ll be better equipped to respond with the right message.
Using these data signals to trigger messaging also provides a better customer experience. You’re able to meet their expectations and offer the necessary information to help them make an informed purchase. Besides, timeliness matters with marketing. If that key moment of intent or interest is missed, you might lose out on a sale.
Understanding the consumer is vital in any good marketing campaign. But when you add that extra layer of environmental factors, you take your efforts to the next level. You’re able to trigger messaging to satisfy both the immediate and future needs of your customers.
To learn more about predicting and delivering on what consumers really want, check out our blog post on the topic.