Relevancy. Customer Engagement. Customer Experience. Customer Loyalty.

The message to loyalty marketers is all about relevancy, the linchpin to sustainable customer loyalty.

Loyalty360 caught up with Ron Orgiefsky, managing director at emnos, to talk about the power of relevancy for loyalty marketers.

We talk to brands on a regular basis and relevance is one of the buzzwords that almost always come up. Can you talk about the importance of relevance for brands and how they can impact customer engagement with relevant, timely communications?

Orgiefsky: Each of us, as consumers and shoppers, makes different decisions about products or brands that are relevant to us. Relevance is fluid. What is a relevant message to one person all the time, like a discounted price, may never hold the same relevance for someone else. An offer may be relevant to a customer for one group of products, and not at all for another. And what may be a relevant brand communication at one point in the shopping journey, may hold less immediate value if delivered after the shopping trip is complete.

To know which customers value health or convenience, or value rich promotions−or maybe better said, which customers value each of these things and when−enables marketers to maximize the opportunity for engagement at the right time with the right message and to affect changes in customer behavior. This is what is driving the shift toward personalized communication today. Technology has enabled personalized content and offers, delivered at the right time for each customer. The more personalized, the more relevant, the higher probability of engagement.

Can you define what relevance means to emnos?

Orgiefsky: Relevance involves the who, the what, the when, and the how. It is to know the customer, and what drives their behavior and choices. What are the brands/products most relevant to your shoppers (e.g., if you are a fashion-forward, trendy consumer, you may have the greatest affinity to a cosmetics brand with a less-than-conservative color pallet); if you are a strapped-for-time parent, a collection of easy recipes may be more relevant than a single item discount.

When is the right time to communicate (e.g., maybe it’s weeks before the items hit stores to build excitement, or maybe it’s tied to other purchases they have made); and how should you communicate the “news” of your offering (e.g., digital ad first, followed by an email reminder)). So, there are many layers to relevance, and we let the data tell the story. Consumer behavior−what she buys, when she buys, what other items are in the basket, what price was paid and was targeted coupon used to make the purchase–is best understood from the data. Understanding real behavior and choices made, to drive real outcomes.

How does a brand determine what relevant messaging means for its customers?

Orgiefsky: I think all brand messaging starts with someone’s idea or hypothesis, which is then explored by some type of consumer research. But, there is also an old adage that says if you ask consumers what they want, they don’t really know. It was Henry Ford who said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” 

So, that is where we rely on analytics to truly understand customer behavior and predicting what is important to them to make the next purchase. Couple that with consumer research to help understand how to best communicate the idea, marrying the What to say with the How. Lastly, Test & Learn, leveraging dynamic evaluation of alternative communication approaches to the same idea, and in some channels, making changes as one learns in real-time.  

If a brand’s conclusion as to what relevant messaging is for its customers is inaccurate, what does that mean for ongoing messaging and communications to spark customer engagement?

Orgiefsky: At a very basic level, if something is not relevant to you, you will not be necessarily motivated to act.
The trend in U.S. hotels to save water comes to mind. Hotels started giving guests that option to reuse or get new towels each day, messaging about how each towel reused during your stay saved X gallons of water, and how good it would be for the planet. The programs were met with moderate success on a “You can save the planet” type message. 

But when a message that focused more on social norms was used, a much higher level of success was seen. When a message of “Join your fellow guests in helping to save the environment; X% of your fellow guests have participated in the resource savings program…”, proved to be a much stronger motivator to ‘close the deal.’

We believe the best way to accurately land on the most relevant messaging and content is through customer data. Using Predictive Analytics, we can understand what is the optimal mix of message, channel, and timing to maximize customer engagement. Shopping behavior data could help infer, coupled with other data sources such digital footprint, and offer up the hard data. Often, these hard data can and should be combined marketing intuition. 

A less relevant message could still garner successful engagement, as measured by sales, but the higher relevancy of message/content/offer would maximize sales. And the most relevant message for one is not the most relevant for another. Our experience at emnos is that different customers or groups of customers need different messages to act.
 
What advice do you have for brands when it comes to relevance and its enormous impact potential on customer engagement, customer experience, and customer loyalty?

Orgiefsky: Relevance is key to everything when it comes to customers and brands. Is your food brand a more mature, perhaps, staid brand that isn’t being picked up off the shelves by foodie millennials who like to experiment in the kitchen, but are also budget conscious? Think a $2.00 coupon will motivate the sale?  Or instead, perhaps, a wonderful recipe suggestion, sent to their phone, that incorporates your item with some other “ingredient of the moment” will do the trick? Intuition may answer that, but analytics might take you places that intuition alone will not. 

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