“Carpe Diem, sieze the day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” This idea of seizing the moment originates from the 1600’s but it comes up over and over again in film, literature, art, and… marketing? Yes, marketing. Or at least it should.
Think about it. As marketers, we try to build personal connections with individuals through campaigns, content, and creative, but with large-scale reach to huge audiences. It’s hard to create real relationships when you’re talking to millions. To help achieve more personalized connections, marketers take what we know about audience segments (“these people are high value,” “these viewed X product online,” “these purchased Y”), and try to deliver experiences that make sense for those segments. But creating real relevance requires an understanding of intent – not past intent or limited glimpses into current behaviors, but what is happening for that customer in the moment – all of it, their moment of intent in its entirety.
This is where most marketers run into limitations. “Real-time” doesn’t always deliver insights in that moment when intent is most clear. And past behaviors are not adequate indicators of what someone’s behavior will look like today. Customers are human, after all, and humans are unpredictable, and their patterns of behavior are always changing. The only way to know what someone wants right now is to know what they are doing right now.
But knowing is only half the battle. To use intent to build relevance for each customer, marketers must deliver experiences in the moment when they are relevant. And this is no easy task. This is the “seize” part of “seize the day.” What good are insights if you can’t act on them? What good is a moment if it’s not seized? If you’re not delivering the right content, offers, up-sells, buy flows, and all the other pieces that define how a visitor interacts with your brand digitally, the experience will fall flat and that visitor will have her needs met by another brand that can meet those needs. In other words, you’ve got to gather those “rosebuds while ye may” or those rosebuds will take their business elsewhere.
Marketers are most effective when the approach feels human and the interaction feels real. And humans live in the moment. You’ve got to seize the moment (“the day”) for the experience to be effective on a human level. If you don’t seize it when it matters, that moment just becomes another data point about the past, and you’ve missed your opportunity.
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