Author: Justin Nelson, Director, Strategy & Agency Services
One of my favorite television series to re-watch is The Office. Steve Carell, Ed Helms and Rainn Wilson really owned their cringeworthy moments and always made us all laugh…uncomfortably. The magic of those awkward moments came from the desire each character had to be liked or admired. Disaster occurred when they lost sight and awareness for their audience.
Like Michael Scott, and as much as we hate to admit it, marketers sometimes lose sight of our audience. Our awareness for who the customer is and where he or she may be at in life takes a backseat to what WE want to say and what WE want to do. Marketers tend to get in trouble when they don’t stop and listen every so often.
How do brands “listen” to the customer?
The first method is straight forward –listen. Read reviews, solicit feedback, engage with real, live customers. It’s amazing how much valuable insight may be obtained through basic human interaction.
The second method is to use data to generate greater awareness for your audience. Demographic data will offer insight into age, gender, income and perhaps even attitudes and aspirations. Transactional data will offer insight into spend and share of wallet, it’s also a valuable indicator of past and present engagement. Leveraging first and third-party data will provide great insight and awareness into your audience.
Monitoring your CRM with event-based deterministic data fills the gap in the narrative with your audience and provide a more complete view of where the customer is at in life. It will keep your brand relevant and reduce the likelihood of a “Michael Scott” moment.
Consider the how the following may impact your engagement, spend, loyalty and attrition:
Move-Oriented Life Events: Listing a home for sale, a house going under contract and moving into a new home. In addition to a physical location change, moves are often accompanied by broader lifestyle changes. Staying connected with new movers as they migrate will help to keep your brand top of mind as the mover settles into their new space.
Marriage-Oriented Life Events: Getting engaged, getting married or getting divorced. How people engage with their partner impacts a multitude of purchase and lifestyle decisions. Awareness for partners and spouses are integral in messaging and brand engagement.
Child-Oriented Life Events: Expecting a baby and welcoming a new baby into the home. Anyone who has had children will tell you that EVERYTHING changes with a new baby. When families grow, discretionary spend and priorities shift. Brands that understand this and pivot are more likely to remain in the consumers’ favor.
Now for the faux pas…where thing could go wrong without data monitoring. If the brand doesn’t have the most current address for the customer, it is entirely possible that they may message an individual or family that may no longer reside at the same address. Message mis-alignment is also a risk…consider the following:
- Marketing renters’ insurance to new home owners
- Marketing lawn care and fertilizer to apartment dwellers
- Marketing exotic vacations for families that have recently welcomed a new baby into their home
- Marketing extended warranties for appliances that are no longer at the address
Not only is brand engagement lost and altogether irrelevant in the scenarios above, marketing dollars are also wasted.
Remember, where, how and who we live with impacts a multitude of decisions and behaviors. Brands that allow these details to impact messaging and are willing to grow and change with the customer and show empathy for life changes are more likely to keep customers.
To quote Michael Scott, “Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me, the choice is easy.”
Embrace the things that connect us…life events.