In 1996 Bill Gates said "content is king", and it's been used by every digital marketer in one way or another since. But as marketing dynamics and consumer expectations have evolved, we now live in a modern world where "content is critical, but relevancy is king."
In the last two years, consumers have rapidly changed their lifestyle and habits and marketers need to meet their growing demands in new ways. This shift raises new questions, like "which channels are now most effective, especially with so many?" and "how do you reach your desired audience in a more meaningful way?" While traditional marketing practices tell us consumers are on multiple platforms and spending more time online, brands need to dive deeper and develop personalized, data-driven, and non-linear marketing messages that cater to the modern world.
We believe marketers must re-imagine their go-to-market strategies, fueled by omni-channel, social applicability, disruption, innovation and building deeper connections with consumers and communities. Here are four impactful and creative examples of ways brands can unlock value through customer-centric marketing:
- Customer Segmentation: Brands should be extraordinary for some, rather than mediocre for many. Segmentation allows marketers to be more efficient in terms of time, money and other resources. But segmentation needs to go far beyond demographics. We must elevate the importance of psychographic segmentation and incorporating lifestyle into the equation. It's not enough to simply understand who your customer is—you must also understand why they behave the way that they do. Marketers can improve their MROI by improving the likelihood of driving engagement and conversion through radically relevant marketing messages. By improving MROI, you can then advocate for more marketing investment, and/or re-purpose those dollars into working capital.
- Multicultural Marketing: If you look at the latest Census data, one thing is very clear: the U.S population growth is being fueled by multicultural citizens. Nearly 80% of the U.S population growth between 2015-2020 came from multicultural demographics. Nearly 40% of the Hispanic population is Millennial across the U.S., and if you dig deeper, you'll find these numbers even higher in specific locales like Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix. While it's easy to understand the size of the prize and customer opportunity, not all marketers get this right. Cultural sensitivity and identity, social and economic behavior, and authenticity are critical components to know before embarking on a grand plan to reach this audience.
- Localization: Consumers don't just live in the U.S—they live in communities and neighborhoods across the country, all with different idiosyncrasies. Each area has its own look and feel. Take the South Side and North Side of Chicago for example. As a brand, you might place a media buy or deploy an advertising message to the Chicago DMA; however, does this broad message resonate with the vastly different audiences that live in both of those areas? This is one small example of why localization and truly understanding customer behavior at a micro level is critical to a brand's success. Retailers and CPG brands do this every day with a concept called "clustering". Clustering is the process of leveraging data—both internal and external, from firms like Nielsen and IRI—to build merchandising and product preferences based on buying behavior. While many brand marketers may solely be interested in buying media at a national level for scale and efficiency, a healthy amount of support for localization through things like public relations, corporate social responsibility, out of home, partnerships and local market heavy-ups can help enhance your overall marketing plan.
- Unexpected Partnerships: As marketers, we live and breathe our brands. And it can sometimes be difficult to take a step back and realize that our target audience spends very little time thinking about, or even engaging with, our brand. Being culturally relevant allows brands to authentically enter their customers' lives in a non-marketing way. Unexpected partnerships can play a critical role in your marketing arsenal to extend the reach of your brand and align with a partner that has existing equity with your target audience.
In today's fast-moving and ever-changing world, marketers need to be more agile, precise and creative than ever. Marketers can stay ahead of the competition and break through to consumers by delivering strategies that are relevant, original and make a real impact on the consumer…and on business.