By VINCE JEFFS
Direct marketing’s success is dictated by finding the right target, serving the right creative and presenting the right offer. Each has nearly equal impact on marketing success, making it essential to perfect all three.
First, let’s define each.
- Targeting – Finding a customer or prospect at the right time that needs what you have.
- Creative – Doing something visually and emotionally compelling that that entices an action – an open, a click, a conversion and some curiosity.
- Offer – Proving value with a relevant offer.
Simple and elegant, right? And it shouldn’t take rocket science to achieve this, should it?
This one-to-one marketing vision (right person, right message, right product and offer), arguably first espoused by Peppers and Rogers in the 1990’s, is a great goal. However, even the most advanced marketers haven’t realized this complete vision yet. But the good news is any marketer can get much closer to realizing it now using the right data, science and technology. Is this rocket science? No, but it is predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms that come pre-wired into some of the marketing automation solutions available today. And they’re readily accessible.
For more than 30 years, the marketing technology industry has made an amazing amount of progress using data science and AI to achieve better targeting, better timing and even making the right offer on the right product. Thus, savvy marketers leveraging these advancements in two of the Triad’s pillars (Right Target, Right Offer) have often achieved 400% or more return on investment (ROI), such as in this example where a major communications provider enjoyed a 400%+ ROI, according to a TEI report published by Forrester. And the explosion of companies involved in this revolution is nothing short of breath taking. Just look at the latest Marketing Technology Landscape in this Chief Marketing Technology Blog super graphic. Oddly, where we’ve seen much less advancement is in serving the “Right Creative.” What’s exciting is now that’s changing.
The Creative Dilemma
Today, most creative marketing testing is still limited to a few versions. For example, many firms use A/B testing, which only tests two versions at a time. Assuming each test takes a week (which is generous), testing 10 variations would take months.
And whether you’re doing this or something more sophisticated, like a multivariate test (which can test many versions at once), the fact is that finding the right versions to test is still guesswork. In other words, assuming you’re testing 10 variations, are you confident you are testing the best possible versions? Chances are very good that no science was used in coming up with those 10 versions.
What if you could use machine learning to generate and pick from thousands of creative variations, test them methodically and systematically and select the winners – not for just an audience or segment, but for an individual?
You can do this – using systems that can help you generate the right copy, test the right combinations and surface the most relevant creative recommendations. And creative optimization alone has shown to lift ROI by 300 percent or more. Combine that with optimal timing and offer, and you move much closer to true marketing optimization resulting in unprecedented business performance.
Vince Jeffs works as a Director of Strategy & Product Marketing for Pegasystems. Vince has written extensively on Marketing Technology and A.I. You can find his latest articles here.