Targeted Marketing — 4 Easy Ways To Stop Annoying Your Customers

When it’s 100 degrees outside and you’re on a particularly invigorating run, sun burning your face, zero breeze in sight, the last thing you’re thinking about is a hot and steamy cup of coffee. At least for me. Why then did I get a message promoting a piping hot coffee when it’s the middle of Summer and I live in Austin, TX? You may laugh and think that experienced companies would never send such irrelevant marketing messages, but oh, how you’d be surprised the gamut of irrelevant messages I’ve received. From men’s clothing to big, juicy burgers (I’m a vegetarian) to events happening on the other side of the country, one thing’s for certain — I always feel annoyed and usually unsubscribe.

It’s no surprise but one of the most common reasons people unsubscribe from marketing communications is due to irrelevant messaging. Both are a big no-no in the marketing world. People sign up for your programs because they’re hoping to gain some type of value, whether it be promotions and offers, knowledge and entertainment, or helpful notifications. As soon as you cross that line and start sending them content that is none of those things, you’re setting yourself up for a swift and deliberate unsubscribe. Not only is targeted marketing important for increasing your credibility, but it’s also integral to increasing conversions and getting your customers to take action. With all the information out there about targeted messaging, I wanted to distill 4 easy ways to be a relevant, helpful and effective marketer.

#1: Location, location, location

This a big one especially when you’re marketing for specific store locations. Why send massive national blasts when you can get more personal and more relevant? To increase relevancy and conversion, send your customers messages based on their actual location. Target is an excellent example of a company that understands the importance of localization. They recently added Beacons, which uses Bluetooth to connect with shoppers’ phones in close proximity, to 50 of their stores with rollout plans to the remainder of stores by the end of the year. Beacons allow companies to send personalized messages to customers who have downloaded their app. This is just one method to send localized messages.

A simpler and more effective method is to use a marketing automation provider with segmentation capabilities. Sending targeted SMS messages is a very easy way to achieve localized marketing without the hefty price tag and development costs of building an app and using beacons. At Waterfall, we recommend our clients to collect zip codes and use an operator to filter subscribers based on certain location e.g. “in the radius of 5 miles of X location. Another method is to create a unique keyword for each call-to-action, then associate that call-to-action with the zip code where the customer signed up.

#2: Time of day

Who likes pizza at 3 a.m.? Perhaps me on a particularly eventful Saturday evening. Either way, the point is most people do not want to receive anything marketing related at 3 a.m. — delicious pizza or not! When you’re thinking of factors that affect your marketing, timing can sometimes be everything, especially when it comes to SMS. Because SMS has such high engagement and open rates, your messages are anything but invisible. It’s an immediate and personal channel that when used correctly, can deliver serious results. There is so much data out there about best times to send email marketing campaigns, but not a ton of this type of insight exists for SMS. So I’ll lay it out there for you. Think about your customers as real human beings, just like you. Ask yourself how you’d feel about getting messages very early in the morning or while you’re sleeping. I for one, would not be too jazzed. To be on the safe side, stick to sending messages no earlier than 9 a.m. and no later than 7 p.m. Remember to keep your customers’ time zones in mind when scheduling messages.

#3: Personalize beyond just a name

Most marketers know how neat it feels to add a person’s first name into a campaign, but, really, is it that monumental? At least for me, I think it feels a bit artificial. Personalization is an extremely broad term and adding a first name is just barely scraping the iceberg of what you could be doing. When it comes to personalizing your marketing, you don’t need to struggle. Gather personalization data by asking the right questions to your customers. For example, ask them why they came to your website / store, what are their favorite styles, what are they hoping to learn? In short, the goal is to get answers to questions that help you better understand your customer for you to use with future communication and target marketing.

#4: Lifecycle targeting

As important as all of these tactics are, the bigger strategy tying them all together is the concept of customer lifecycle marketing. It’s a critical component to any successful targeted marketing campaign. So many marketers focus messaging around specific events such as clicking a button on a website or making a purchase. This is not to say that conversion rate optimization is not important — it definitely is. But when we’re talking big picture, customer lifecycle marketing rules the roost. Customer lifetime value is the total revenue generated from a customer over their entire lifetime with your brand. So, it makes sense that you want to optimize the marketing for the entire journey rather than one size fits all message based on specific events.

To understand just how important lifecycle marketing is, let’s define the 3 distinct stages: acquisition, activation and retention. Each customer goes through each stage of this lifecycle, and each stage requires unique marketing. For your super VIP customers, why not invite them to early promotions on your website or exclusive shopping events? For customers that just signed up, send them a welcome message and a few days later send a coupon based on their history. The bottom line is that all of your customers are on their own journey and should be treated as such. You wouldn’t send the same message to your mom that you do to your boss, so why would you send all of your customers the same generic messaging? It just doesn’t make sense.

There are infinite ways marketers can send more personalized and targeted marketing messages by using data and real-time analytics. No matter the tactic, the important thing to remember is keeping your customers’ best interest top-of-mind. So, next time you feel compelled to send a broad marketing message to all of your customers at 3 a.m., ask yourself how you’d respond and perhaps wait until the morning.

To learn more about creating targeted mobile marketing campaigns, check out a quick demo of Waterfall’s mobile marketing platform.

Originally published at on August 6, 2015.