“Relevant” Offers ?

If we had £1 for every time someone added the word “relevant” in front of the word “offer”, we’d be very rich. The usage of the word seems to be in inverse proportion to any understanding of what it might mean. We often ask people what they mean by “relevant” when we hear them say it in conjunction with the word “offer”. More often than not they can give no meaningful answer.

We are being overrun with apps and offer programmes from banks, mobile phone companies and employee benefits providers. All say that their offers are relevant. None of them have defined what they mean by it and engagement in their programmes is very low.

At dunnhumby when working with Tesco we defined a relevant offer as an offer on a product that a customer had previously bought. If you bought Ariel soap powder then an Ariel offer was relevant but one from Persil was not. So you would only receive the Ariel offer.

This was consistent with Tesco’s view that the role of Clubcard was to say thank you to customers. Not to try to and get them to buy or try things they didn’t already buy.

To many this seems counter-intuitive. Surely they were just subsidising margin on products customers would have bought already?. But it didn’t work like that. One extra item per basket or one incremental shopping trip from the most loyal customers made all the difference.

At first Tesco’s suppliers struggled with this notion. The Ariel brand manager absolutely wanted to target the Persil shoppers, and vice versa. But over time they too realised that a clear definition of relevance – something you have previously bought – was the way to generate the optimum roi on personalised marketing campaigns.