It might only be October — but in the marketing world, the holidays are around the corner. As many of us know, advertisers start their campaigns earlier and earlier every year, with Black Friday arriving before Halloween and Christmas campaigns starting as early as July. If you’re a retail brand, then ‘Tis the season to start thinking about your holiday plans and getting your marketing campaigns together.
The “Golden Quarter”, – which spans Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas, – is the profitable time of the year for retail brands. Consumers are actively in the market to buy, seeking out products and services, and weighing their options to bag the best deal. More and more, consumers are doing that type of research on their mobile devices.
There’s no denying that mobile devices have redefined our lives and our expectations. Today we get what we want, whenever and wherever we want it simply by looking at the device in the palm of our hands. Anything from buying dinner to directions to travel cross country to looking up historical data is accessible in a matter of minutes. This type of ready access to all things means the way we do business and how we reach our customers has also dramatically changed. No longer a linear funnel, the customer journey has fractured into numerous touchpoints where decisions are made, and preferences formed in real-time. These interactions, in modern marketing parlance, are called “moments” and they can present a valuable opportunity this holiday season.
What is In-the-Moment Marketing?
You may not realize it, but it’s you’re already familiar with moments in time marketing; in fact, it’s already an active part of your life. Have you ever been wondering what to have for dinner only to look at your smartphone and see a BOGO entrée offer from one of your favorite takeout places? Been wondering what to get your nephew for his birthday only to see a coupon from Target pop up for 20% off toys? If you’ve ever experienced one of those moments where you wonder if your smartphone might actually be able to read your mind, then you’ve already taken part in moments in time marketing. And while your smartphone isn’t technically reading your mind, what it is doing is utilizing a CDP like FiO’s and taking hundreds of points of data it has learned about you and people like you to know how and when to send you the perfect marketing message.
In-the-Moment Marketing is based on the principle that, rather than disrupting a customer or prospect as they move through the day, it is better to serve customers the content they want, at the moment they are looking for it. For example, a common tactic might be emailing a customer an offer for a lawn care product and hoping they read it as they catch up during their morning commute. However, this is not the best time for the customer. They are catching up on work emails, preparing for their day, etc., and it is unlikely they will choose to make a purchase on the train to the office. However, that special offer for lawn care presented on a Friday afternoon as they plan their weekend chore list? That’s much more likely to get traction and results.
What Empowers Moments in Time Marketing?
The goal of in-the-moment marketing is to develop a deep understanding of the customer journey that allows you to meet your audience the moment they pick up their device with the intent to learn something, go somewhere, buy something, etc. Providing the perfect piece of content in this moment not only increases value for the customer, but also reduces the chances they will continue to look elsewhere for competitive products. And the key to making moments marketing work? Data. A robust, data-driven platform like FiO’s CDP that compiles first and zero-party data and also helps shape marketing strategy is an absolute must if you’re going to win the moments-in-time marketing race this holiday season. Successful moment marketing plans require the data and analytics infrastructure to enable real-time campaign updates to capitalize on conversion-friendly queries as they occur.
As the customer journey has become more complex and increasingly digitized, it’s more important than ever for brands to understand and interpret the data that is generated along the way. This data is essential to uncovering the key “customer moments” that drive — or halt — conversions and sales. Discerning and intentional data analysis is also essential to building a modern sales and customer management engine that’s firing on all cylinders in an increasingly mobile environment.
Steps to Creating a Moments in Time Marketing Machine
In order to engage consumers on the right channels with integrated marketing that resonates with them, marketers need to rethink their tactics—steering away from siloed engagements that perform independently from one another toward engagements that provide a fluid experience for the consumer. To do this, modern brands need several crucial components.
Omnichannel As Part of An Integrated Strategy
As consumers continue to hold brands to a higher standard, they expect that each message they engage with, regardless of channel, will influence the next message they receive. In order to provide the fluid, experiences they demand, marketers need to adopt an omnichannel approach that provides them with a complete view of their entire integrated media mix.
For example, 82 percent of smartphone owners use the devices to help make a product decision while they are shopping in-store. An omnichannel approach will account for this using technology like beacons or geospatial data. These beacons enable brands to know when a prospect is in their store or nearby, allowing them to serve relevant content and offers to their smartphone, which may translate to an in-store purchase. These engagements are informed by real-time consumer needs. Harnessing moment-marketing through omnichannel engagements allow marketing teams to affect decisions instantly.
Customer Journey Mapping Strategy
For brands to provide messages that align with consumer interests the moment they become relevant; they need to understand where those consumers are along the customer journey. By doing so, you will be able to prepare the right messages to use when you see a consumer engaging with a particular channel.
Accurate, detailed customer journey mapping is a result of good data. Marketing teams need to know every touchpoint engaged with, and how big a role that touchpoint played in moving the prospect down the sales funnel. Most importantly, all this data needs to be unified in one location. Marketing teams cannot separately look at which touchpoints were engaged with on mobile, and which were engaged with on the desktop. Rather, they must have an integrated view into each “moment” across these devices.
For example, 40 percent of consumers do product research on a mobile device then move to a desktop to make the purchase. If all the credit for the conversion is given to desktop engagement, marketing teams will be missing out on important moments in the buyer journey that ultimately led to the sale.
Personalized Content and Messaging
Modern consumer demand for relevant engagement is really a demand for highly personalized content and customized experiences. This doesn’t just mean reaching them in the moment, but also with the right messages. Today’s brands need to ensure that they can quickly update existing content to include the consumer’s name, messaging that resonates with their values and preferences, and the products and services that are most likely to grab their interest.
This is another point where having the right data at your fingertips is an essential component of creating moments marketing that resonates. Where once it was enough to do a simple mail merge of name or some other basic customer data, today’s consumer expects you to know exactly what they need from your brand even if they don’t know what that is themselves. Using technology like Group FiO’s CDP allows you to leverage tools like predictive and prescriptive data and AI-infused strategy that culls together hundreds of customer data points and provides you with a single 360 customer data profile, which enables you to customize messaging and offers in the moment with ease.
Integrating with Automation
Given the pace at which these marketing moments come and go, brands relying on anything, but automated marketing will be late to the party when it comes to right-place-right-time marketing. With this in mind, brands need to incorporate a modern marketing analytics platform like FiO’s CDP that can measure the consumer journey and predict which channel the next touchpoint will be on while preparing that touchpoint with the right messaging to make an impact.
From there, the role of marketing teams will shift toward developing the content and creative messaging to “feed the machine.” With the right components ready and the customer journey well mapped, you can build a fully integrated strategy that takes advantage of moments marketing by placing the right messaging on the right channel within the limited window brands have to hold consumer attention.