Mashable published this content previously.
Successful digital marketing is paradoxical.
On one hand, the best online interactions are bolstered by technology — using advanced cross-channel programming and algorithms to make content more accessible; on the other, the most overlooked yet essential characteristic of digital experiences is humanness — the intelligent and adaptive ability to understand a consumer's mindset, history and desires.
For your marketing efforts to thrive, your company must strike a delicate balance between the opposing forces of technology and humanness. Perhaps more important, though, this balance must be achieved without feeling invasive or creepy.
Consider thinking about marketing in terms of relevance and context. Taken together, a relevant and contextual message is the ideal way to build a relationship in a largely impersonal environment.
The challenge of relevance
According to Rob Walker, PhD, vice president of decision management at Pega, relevance is "providing customers the answers or information they need based on what’s known about them, along with what is likely on their minds."
Walker's point takes us back to the human element of marketing. In the same way your best friend might know that you bought a new TV online last week, adept marketers will use predictive analytics to shape their message, based on what the customer has done, and might be looking for.
Using a newly purchased TV as an example, Amazon.com would be doing itself a disservice by serving you offers on new TVs. A relevant execution, however, might include a new TV stand or home stereo system.
Predictive analytics help anticipate customer needs and, by extension, help form meaningful digital relationships rooted in understanding.
Context is key
Walker describes context as "using real-time data to deliver that relevant information in the moment, with an understanding of the customer’s mindset, as well as their information needs."
In other words, the difference between relevance and context is the timing in which data is gathered. Determining relevance is based on a large body of historical data on the customer, while context is based on in-the-moment behaviors.
Using the TV purchase example from above, a contextual offer would be delivered when a customer is, say, browsing stereo systems on a competitors website or when a customer abandons a cart on your website.
Understanding your customer's unique needs and providing a relevant and contextual offer is part of what Walker claims to be a new movement in successful marketing — one marked by personalized targeting philosophies that treat customers like entire campaigns were designed just for them, not the masses. In Walker's words, "relevance simply requires context, because what seemed relevant only moments ago (before the customer said 'no,' clicked 'yes' or became upset) may no longer be."
However, with this move toward intense personalization comes complexity. Highly personalized campaigns informed by predictive analytics cannot be managed in real time by a marketing team — there's just too much volume to deal with. Instead, the companies that succeed rely on customer relationship platforms that can execute thousands of predictive functions per minute.
At scale, Walker says that relevance and context "opens up a new world of creating deeper, more personalized and more valuable relationships with your customers."
But if all of this sounds complicated, don’t worry: Pega can help
The Pega marketing platform is at the forefront of analytics technology and can help you remove the guesswork from prospect targeting.
Pega Marketing leverages sophisticated analytics and business rules in real time and constantly evaluates the context of each customer interaction with predictive insights. It then balances with your business goals to dynamically recommend the most relevant action, offer, content and channel.Learn more about Pega and its marketing platform.
Download the 6 Engagement Strategies to Keep the Customers You Want e-book to learn how.