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How Marketing Can Escape the Age of Irrelevance

4 min. Read

The marketing world has a serious problem. In an age of instant connection and communication, it’s become easier than ever for companies and brands to reach existing and new audiences—whether or not they have something worthwhile to say. Emails, digital ads, mail offers, billboards, magazine spreads, TV commercials and even text messages are just some of the channels through which companies can advertise their offerings and build brand interest and loyalty.

Marketing spending has increased dramatically, and this year, global ad spending is expected to reach a whopping $727.9 billion. While there is no doubt that mass marketing strategies, particularly through digital channels, have had an enormous impact on the industry, the negative consequences to consumers, to the media landscape, and to the environment are growing more dire every year.

Consumers are exhausted by the endless stream of marketing messaging everywhere they look. By its nature, mass marketing is designed to appeal to everyone, meaning it appeals to no one in specific. When paired with the hyper-competitive business landscape, marketers are increasingly shipping vague, and irrelevant marketing messaging that may lead to a few clicks but tend to annoy and frustrate the majority of their customer base.

Even when marketers attempt to personalize their marketing efforts, they do so based on sloppy or incomplete data and a fundamental misunderstanding of what their customer base wants, leading to misspelled names and haphazardly “personalized” messages that only baffle their recipients. Over time, this approach leads to damaged customer relationships, environmental harm, and a weak marketing ROI.

A survey we conducted in August found that nearly 40% of consumers find that brands they’ve subscribed to don’t regularly send them relevant marketing or understand what they want. When consumers feel consistently misunderstood by a brand, the easiest thing for them to do is ignore or ultimately, unsubscribe.

Bridging the Relevance Gap: The Role of Intent-Based Behavioral Data in Modern Marketing

We call this existential problem the Relevance Gap— and it’s still widening every day on multiple fronts. There’s a gap between the tailored, relevant marketing consumers want and the incessant, irrelevant marketing they’re receiving. There’s a gap between the data marketers need to accurately reach their customer base and the data they have. There’s a gap between what customers say they’re doing and how customers actually behave. Trying to fill these gaps by flooding audiences with every possible marketing message a company can create is exacerbating the problem, not fixing it.

There is a better path for the marketing world, one that prioritizes every customer’s individual needs by building a deep understanding of consumer behavior through intent-based behavioral data.

Demographics, third-party data and aging audience reports on past behavior aren’t enough anymore: Brands need to understand what customers want in real-time. The market changes constantly and so does customer sentiment and needs—a report from six months ago might as well be from an ancient past. Brands need to be able to infer the future intentions of their customers so they can reach them with the right message, at the right time, with the right offer. Intention is the future of marketing, which is why we’re called Intent HQ.

We’re living in the dawn of AI, a technology which is heralding what’s being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The smartest companies are already using AI to take the guesswork out of their marketing and deliver high-quality, precisely tailored marketing messages to the right consumers at the right time.

By partnering with Intent HQ and integrating the Intent Lift platform into their data analysis, Verizon Protect was able to extract subtle but rich behavioral signals in high fidelity from trillions of data records, leading to a number of more successful marketing campaigns. For one campaign, Verizon Protect saw a 47% higher take rate versus previous targets; for another campaign, Verizon Protect was able to offer distinctly personalized messaging to 2.4 million customers.

Relevance marketing bolstered by intent-based, behavioral data works—and it’s what consumers want too.

Our survey found that after receiving a personalized ad or brand message, about 59% of American consumers have made a purchase purely because the offer came at the right time and was relevant to their needs. Mass marketing and even mass personalization isn’t fooling or charming consumers. Considering the scale of marketing messages constantly flooding their inboxes and screens, it’s no surprise that the average consumer will tune out whatever isn’t relevant to their lives.

The age of mass marketing—the age of irrelevance—is coming to an end and it’s time for relevance marketing to take its place. The companies that understand this will enjoy stronger customer relationships, dynamic, comprehensive insights into their audiences and smarter marketing campaigns that truly resonate with consumers at scale. Meanwhile, as relevance marketing continues to gain traction in the industry, brands that choose to cling exclusively to mass marketing approaches will only further diminish and damage their customer relationships, the quality of their data analysis efforts, and their marketing ROI.

By investing in tailored, insights-driven marketing experiences, companies are investing in their customers—and by investing in strengthening the customer experience, companies invest in themselves. Closing the Relevance Gap through relevance marketing is a win-win for consumers and companies alike, leading to successful data-backed campaigns, happier, more loyal customers, and clear insight into what consumers want now—and in the future.