Author’s disclosure, I blog for Loyalty Lab, a software-as-a-service for marketers. This work gives me great insight into what’s happening at the forefront of technology and how people buy and sell, so please forgive any blatant promotion. I love what I do.
There are still marketers today who think of their mission as traditional advertising, direct mail, loyalty programs and the like. Defining marketing solely in those terms made sense just a few years back, but makes increasingly less sense today. Unified marketing platforms like the newly released Loyalty Lab® Reward 13.1 bring together real-time data context that has been available for other industries, but is now sweeping through retail.
The single biggest change is the move from static, predefined marketing to real-time interaction with the end consumer. This involves engaging, often at the time and place of the consumer’s choosing, with real-time offers of information, suggestions and enticements to act. This isn’t without a few paradigm shifts, the biggest being the shift to in-the-moment awareness.
In the moment
Engaging at the time and place of the consumer’s choosing involves being ‘in the moment’ at the point of sale, the Web, mobile (in or near the store) and social (engaged with the brand) using information that is down-to-the-second. This type of interaction is more analogous to how people actually think and drives much better and faster response than the static model. Executing it requires the right technology to make it work at speed.
Before you think this is over the horizon, Gartner’s 2012 report, Me Marketing: Get Ready for the Promise of Real-time, Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods, “By 2015, context-aware promotions will comprise 10% of promotional activity among consumer goods manufacturers in developed markets.” This is sure to quickly increase as the early adopters are followed by the mainstream.
Ahead of the pack
Will your business survive as a latecomer to this shift? This is about being able to understand a consumer’s full shopping experience and habits at any moment so that engagement is relevant. As shoppers become more accustomed to this level of interaction, anything less will seem more and more old-school.
Therein lies the problem for those who don’t adapt: Consumers who see relevance will quickly learn to pay attention to nothing less.
This article first appeared on the Loyalty Lab blog and has been lightly edited.