An article recently published on the Harvard Business Review website explores the idea of NBO (next best offer) as the holy grail of marketing. The article entitled “Know What Your Customers Want Before They Do” outlines how brands can utilize the wealth of data currently available to customize their offers, and target individuals at the right moment through the right channels to maximize their marketing.
So what exactly is an NBO? It is a targeted offer customized for a consumer based on a number of factors including demographic, shopping history, search history, and relationships on social websites such as Linkedin and Facebook. Despite the name an NBO can often be an initial interaction with a consumer and is usually designed to inspire a purchase, build brand loyalty, or both.
In the current age of increased online shopping, consumers are bombarded with ads, information, and options, and they often struggle to find the products or services that will best meet their needs. Most retail sites rely solely on demographic information and can’t replicate the personal touch that shoppers once depended on with on-the-floor sales people who would help the consumer find exactly what they wanted or needed. However, with the increasing availability of information about consumers, and online channels that brands can use to communicate with them, many companies have had huge success with customized and targeted internet marketing.
One of the best examples of this, is a program that Microsoft ran with e-mail offers for its search engine Bing. They sent out e-mail offers that were tailored to the recipient the moment they were opened. In 200 milliseconds, about half the time it would take you to blink your eyes, Microsoft’s advanced analytic software would assemble an offer based on real-time information about that customer. The data they were able to gather and analyze in that amount of time included location, age, gender, online activity (both historically and immediately preceding the e-mail), and the most recent responses of other customers. These ads were able to achieve conversion rates as high as 70%.
Obviously you and your small business probably don’t have the same resources and programing capabilities that Microsoft has to be able to run something like those e-mail offers; but the information is out there and ready to be leveraged for more effective advertising. Appealing to a customers unique needs based on their behavioral patterns will allow your brand to stand apart from irrelevant offers that are based solely on demographic information. It might involve you becoming more engaged with your customers online or on social media but if executed properly you can gain new customers and build loyalty in your current customers by being more relevant online than the competition.
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