Situational Marketing and the Science of Getting Personal / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

To see the evolution of situational marketing, all you need to do is follow the ads. Advertising has to adapt to keep customers interested.

To see the evolution of marketing, all you need to do is follow the ads.

At one point, ad placement was almost exclusive to print media, where newspapers and phone books would maximize ad exposure to a widespread population of consumers who might find them relevant.

When televisions became mainstream, advertisers followed; bolstered by general user-data (program genres and time slots, demographics, regions, etc.), they were able to deliver semi-relevant ads directly to audiences in their living rooms.

Today, the Internet age has generated new opportunities for digital marketers to gain greater access to more customers across multiple channels, and connectivity is enabling customers and marketers alike to engage with those channels wherever they go.

Advertising has had to adapt to keep customers interested.

Related Article: Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which is Better?

As mobile screen time has increased, so, too, has the volume of advertising and messaging consumers see. In fact, research reveals that 86 percent of Internet users admit to “banner blindness”.

Because these consumers have become inundated with ads as they browse online, they’ve also become adept at ignoring the ones that are irrelevant.

Location-based ads alone can’t deliver the uniquely tailored results that resonate with customer wants or needs as they experience different situations throughout the day.

Situational Marketing

For marketers who have committed to mobile advertising as a high priority strategy (indeed, mobile ad spend is projected to increase to $28.48 billion this year), this presents a unique challenge: how do we avoid one-size-fits-all campaigns and make ads engaging and relevant to each individual consumer?

The answer is situational marketing, at the heart of which is harnessing the data needed to create more effective, contextual and personalized advertising campaigns.

The good news is that today’s technology enables marketers to extend their hyper-local reach. By leveraging location, advertisements can be more targeted with appropriate situational information that has a greater influence on customer decision-making.

For example, say you own a vitamin and nutrition business. If a target consumer has just finished their workout and logged that data in a mobile app, tools that allow you to view this activity also enable you to deliver a timely, relevant advertisement for a discount on protein bars or post-workout supplements at your nearby retail location. Just what that customer might need in that moment.

Related Article: A Hand-Held World: The Future of Mobile Advertising

Online Review Channels

Online review channels are another effective entry point for impactful situational marketing. If you market for a multi-location company, review data provides you with the ability to effectively advertise for each one of your locations.

Imagine a person in your target audience has just finished a movie around dinnertime. With the knowledge of customer preferences and the time of day, an advertisement can appear as they rate the film on a review site to display directions to your nearest restaurant location, complete with contact information, hours of operation and a free coupon.

While this customer may have been unsure or unaware of dinner options around the movie theater, anticipating and satisfying a micro-moment of customer intent will help to win their attention and build brand awareness around your commitment to providing them with value, giving your brand the advantage of preference over your competitors.

Related Article: 5 Steps for Success with Facebook Ads in 2016

Time to Make The Move

There’s a reason more and more marketers are moving away from national advertising and focusing instead on boosting their efforts at the local level: the market is loud, saturated and fiercely competitive.

Customers have mastered the art of disregarding everything that doesn’t apply to them. Developing a personalized purchase journey enables you to provide an experience that stands out by reframing your strategy: what’s on my customer’s to-do list, and how does our marketing plan help them check items off that list?

By drilling deeper and answering the questions of when, where and how  a customer would want to receive an ad, you can take customers through a conversation at the micro-level.

This creates demand and encourages the customer to act. In fact, personalized calls-to-action can lead to a 42 percent increased conversion rate. It’s clear that by switching to a situational strategy, and aligning advertising with customer activity, marketers can regain control of the conversation and create effective strategies that deliver real results.

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