Knowledge Bank Blog, Channel Execution

Being Relevant

Are your activities as relevant as they could be?

Most of you will have seen the basketball video.  You know, the one where you are asked to count how many times the white team passes the ball.  Then halfway through someone in a gorilla costume walks across the screen, turns to the camera and beats their chest, then walks off again.  How many of you missed the gorilla the first time you saw the video?  Most of you, probably.

You didn’t see it because it wasn’t relevant.  It wasn’t relevant to the task you were given before watching the video.  You were asked to count how many times the white team passed the ball.  So, your brain filtered out anything that wasn’t relevant to that specific task.  Even a 6ft gorilla.

This type of filtering happens constantly in daily life.  We are bombarded with information.  The only way to deal with this is to filter the majority of it out.  If we didn’t filter, we wouldn’t be able to do anything.  We’d be overrun by the amount of information we face and the number of decisions we have to make.

Nowhere is filtering more evident than when shopping.  We have so much choice.  Different stores to buy from, different products to buy.  A lot of traditional marketing thinking is based on ‘opportunity to see’.  How many people have the opportunity to see your communication or your product?  However, just being there – in store, or in different places in store – is not enough.  Opportunity to see is not the same as being seen.  Everyone had the opportunity to see the gorilla in the basketball video.

To maximise your chances of being seen you have to be relevant.  Relevant to the shopper, in that store, or for that occasion, or at that point in the shopper’s journey.

It is often not the best communication that is seen, but the most relevant communication.  Not the best product that is bought, but the most relevant.  Being relevant is key to winning.

So, how do you maximise the relevance of what you do?

Be relevant to the stores in which you are selling.  Where is your category most likely to be bought?  What mission is the shopper typically on, in that type of store?  What are the most relevant pack sizes and formats for that mission and that store?  For instance, if a shopper is on foot and one pack of beer has a neat handle for easy carrying and the next one doesn’t, which one is most likely to be bought?

Be relevant to key consumption occasions.  Do you know what criteria your product needs to meet in order to compete and win in your priority consumption occasions?  For instance, if you are a soft drink or beer and you are in an outlet where shoppers are buying for immediate consumption, and you are not chilled, you are irrelevant.  If you are a food that should be eaten on the go, but you are not in a simple, on the go format, you are irrelevant.

Be in relevant secondary locations in store.  Every product wants to be in high traffic parts of the store.  But traffic doesn’t guarantee being seen.  Take all the stacks of products to the immediate left and right as you enter a supermarket.  Most shoppers walk past without noticing them.  Not relevant to the task of getting into the store and orientating themselves at the start of the journey.

Often the desire to sell actually gets in the way of selling.  Take clip strips of products, like sweets in the haircare aisle.  What is the point?  At best they are completely irrelevant to the task of buying hair products.  At worst, they actually get in the way of the shopping process.  Good secondary locations are high traffic locations, but they are also relevant locations.  Beer next to curry – OK.  Plasters next to coffee – why?

Be relevant at that point in the shopper journey.  When do shoppers want to slow down, when do they want to speed up?  When are they navigating towards a part of the store and when are they looking to buy a specific product?  What mind-set are they in?  Don’t try to sell them chocolate if they have just finished shopping produce and have been focused on health.  Or try to sell them the latest DVD at the end of the trip when they might have already spent £100+.

The dictionary definition of relevant is something that is ‘closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered’.  To be seen you have to be relevant.  And if you are not seen, you can’t be engaged with or bought.

Are your products and activities relevant enough?

Feel free to forwards.  Have a great weekend and speak to you next week.