Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Relevance vs. Incentive

What are we trying to achieve with relevance?

The typical phrase used to describe content is 'be relevant' but what is discussed around content tends to be offer-related.  A lot charts that appear in retail research and presentations suggest that consumers want offers, deals and promotions.  But is that all we mean by the phrase 'relevant content'? 

Some definitions first:
  • Relevant refers to being 'pertinent to the matter at hand'.  
  • Incentive refers to 'stimulating action or effort'.
It is likely true that as consumers we prefer retailers that apply business rules to the potential offer pool to ensure we find things of interest, i.e. personalized coupons based on transaction history.  And it is a small logical leap to go from using the term personalized to relevant.  

While custom coupons are relevant; is all relevant content necessarily promotional?  

It seems that our point of view need not to be the same when it comes to relevant vs. promotional content.   In the first case we need to understand what the consumer is trying to achieve; in the second case we need to serve our best option to generate an event or transaction.  Similar, but not quite the same.   In fact, there may be other types of content that are appropriate depending on the context of the situation.  And it is context, both the consumers and ours, that should shape our content strategy.  

If we want to help her, be relevant by first understanding what she is trying to achieve.
If we want a sale, offer incentives that make sense to her and mitigate the risks of decisions.

So, let's first be clear about what we're trying to achieve.

No comments: