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Relevancy Isn’t King, It’s Kind

February 16, 2018 James Elhardt


We’ve all seen ads that we can’t get out of our head — ones that resonate with who we are and impact our decision to purchase. These moments are starting to feel further and farther between in a world where we see ads every day for work and relaxation. Instead, we feel frustration, surprise or boredom as ads play before our YouTube videos or on our Facebook feed that completely miss the mark on who we are and what we want to buy.

The crazy thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. While the B2B world is a little different, and content marketing doesn’t follow the same principles, these ideas apply to every advertiser. The time for excuses is gone. We have too much data to ignore relevancy and chase memes and viral video status. What we should want, is to find our ideal customer and engage them with highly relevant content.

The impact of this is massive. Instead of being part of the noise, a conversation is created and a relationship starts. In short, relevancy engages instead of disrupts.

The Digital Shift

Technology has created two major tectonic shifts in marketing: access to data and the ability to strategically target. These principles laid the foundation for both account-based and inbound marketing. Two methodologies that have reshaped the way marketing exists in the world, as both strive to meet your prospects where they are, with content they need.

Access to Data

We are creating a massive amount of data as a society. In fact, 90% of today’s data was created in two years. While not all of it is useful (I very adamantly maintain that both Nyan Cat and Call Me Maybe are always useful), we have access to a massive array of vital information as marketers. Thanks to marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, we can collect data ourselves and strategize around it for better results. With this data we can create content and better strategies to qualify our leads and move them through a sales pipeline.

This is the birth of relevance. Without knowledge, how can we improve what we do? As we have gained access to more information, we have been better able to tailor our advertising to the people most likely to buy our products. This was an important shift, and something that used to take a lot of effort to gather the data — and spawned reports like the Nielsen ratings for broadcast television.

With the right set of data, we, as marketers, can stop adding to the irrelevant noise and start crafting better messages that both engage and inform our leads about how our product or service is a great fit for them.

To do this, we as marketers need to curate and append our database. Without doing so, we waste our most valuable resource.

Honing Our Sights

Marketing is getting more precise in how it targets an audience. We used to cast a giant net into a sea of diverse fish, hoping to catch tuna. Today, thanks to platforms like Terminus, we are instead able to target the exact departments within companies that fit our ideal customer profile with ads meant just for them.

Data gave us the insight to create the content, and advances in technology have given us the avenues we need to deliver it. Instead of creating an ad to run during a relevant industry conference, we are targeting by exact keywords and serving ads to those most likely to need our products.

That is a revolution in relevancy. It is one of the most exciting things to happen to marketing EVER.

Why Relevancy is Kind

Relevant marketing feels kind to me. On some level, our world runs on advertising. The television we watch, the websites we visit and even some of the tools we use every day at work. When the advertising we see becomes too broad, it causes us to become jaded. It feels like someone is always trying to sell us something we don’t want.

Relevant marketing changes that. We get messages for products we may not have known about, but actually need. Relevant content doesn’t put noise into the world, it creates education and (when done properly) helps people grow.

While this may be a slightly romantic look at the world of marketing, the bottom line comes down to engagement. We as marketers need our audience engaged, yet a system was created that encouraged the opposite. It wasn’t until these recent innovations came along that we were able to truly take our strategy a step further. Mass-produced advertising may still have a place in this world, but I wouldn’t expect it to last forever.

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