People hate advertising—all forms of push marketing, for that matter  It interrupts their favorite shows. It clutters their screens. It overpromises and underdelivers.

And, more often than not, it has nothing to do with their interests.

But what if there were a way to get people to like your ads and other messaging? What I'm talking about is not a gimmick. It's not a deal with the devil. It's relevancy.

Consumers don't mind ads that are relevant to their needs. In fact, an ad actually becomes useful when it's truly relevant. Relevancy simply means "The right message, at the right place, at the right time."

The following four commandments define how Ozone, our agency, keeps relevancy central to our clients' campaigns. Since we primarily work in the digital space, our tactics are measurable, actionable, and adjustable on the fly. But these commandments can be applied to offline marketing as well.

Relevancy Commandment No. 1: Know Your Customer

The more you know about your customer, the easier the remaining commandments become. Using information captured from your marketing database, Web analytics, social listening tools, and your CRM system, you can better understand...

  • How, when, and where your customers buy from you.
  • Whether your message is missing the right audience.
  • What your customers are saying about your brand, what questions they need answered, and how they're interacting with your company's website.

Armed with this data, you can come close to a true 1:1 digital relationship, without assigning a unique salesperson to each customer.

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Sean Shoffstall is vice-president of innovation and technology for Ozone, an integrated demand-gen marketing agency. Sean runs integrated campaigns for Ozone's Fortune 500 clients, helping them to optimize their online media via proven metrics and testing.