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This time it’s personal!

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Customers warm to personalisation and it shows that brands can actually get intimate with their customers. But there’s a few things to remember before you start on personalising your marketing messages, writes Niall Crowley.

Where does our need for acknowledgement start? The assigned coat space in pre-school? The morning Starbucks coffee cup? Your first business card? Let’s face it, we all like to see our name in lights! But what is personalisation?

“Sometimes known as customization, it consists of tailoring a service or a product to accommodate specific individuals, sometimes tied to groups or segments of individuals. Or so the definition goes.

I like to think of it as a brand’s opportunity to get intimate with customers, to connect with them, be taken home and the following day be talked about amongst friends. This relationship will be all the customer can think about next time he or she walks down the shopping aisle.

The principles of personalisation have been around for a while, however brands need to think further than just personalising an email out to their database. In order for brands to grow, they need to create up close and personal customer experiences. Doing so will not only build advocacy and loyalty, it will create an emotional bond between them and their customers, like no other.

The Age of the Consumer

The age of the consumer is well and truly upon us. Consumers are in the driver’s seat (whether we like it or not) and with the increase of competition, brands are fighting to provide the best and most engaging experiences.

Consumers expect more, they want to feel valued and don’t want to be just another number”. It needs to be personal in order to drive conversions and increase loyalty. Brands need to offer a tailored approach to each individual where possible and build a long-term relationship, making them far less likely to switch to rival brands.

One such brand that achieved just this, was Galaxy. As main sponsors of last years DFF (Dublin Fashion Festival), Galaxy sent out personalised bars to fashionistas and bloggers alike. At the event, Galaxy combined personalisation with sampling to deliver a ‘brand to hand’ experience that surpassed all expectations. Galaxy knew who had RSVP’d and was due to attend the event. They wanted to give a little personalised gift to everyone on the night – a bar with their name on it!

It went down a treat with the experience being amplified through social sharing – the power of personalisation at its best. Galaxy’s willingness to bend their brand guidelines helped deliver this remarkable and memorable experience.

The Holistic View

Brands need to gain a holistic view of their customers that will enable them to deliver even more personalised and tailored marketing interactions that increase brand engagement and drive sales.

With the constant evolution of digital marketing, it has become even easier for brands to engage and offer their consumers something a little more personal, based on their interests, location, demographic and purchase history, making a brand feel relevant and interesting.

Take Nutella for example. Another brand that placed personalisation at the forefront of their offering through their personalised jar campaign. Not only were consumers able to create and purchase their jars in store, they also offered this through online channels, allowing consumers to create their own personalised label, before being able to purchase and have it delivered!

Through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this campaign sets the standard for synergy between offline and online whilst still offering that little personalised touch.

It may not be possible to personalise every communication, however it’s still possible to make it relevant through the use of pertinent imagery that’s appealing to the target audience, colours used, tone of voice, and font size. It sounds simple but makes a huge difference.

Time and time again, the results are clear. Brands that add in a little touch of personalisation receive greater success.

The Keys to Success

But there are a few things to remember.

First of all, don’t be afraid to use your database if you have one and you have permission from customers to contact them. Look at ways to programme this data into a personalised platform at every touch point, from greeting through to sale.

In addition, don’t forget about the human touch. Don’t use your data to merely split your audience into groups. Strive to deliver individual personal experiences where possible, not segmentation.

Always keep the end consumer in mind. Ask lots of questions. For example, will they appreciate the approach and platform used? Will they feel emotionally connected? Will it stand out from the competitor? And most importantly, will it take the brands relationship to the next level with the consumer.

Finally, keep it personal and share it socially! If a bond has been made and the relationship has blossomed, invite your customers to share the experience with others. You may not even have to ask!

Niall Crowley is head of client services, Runway Marketing.

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ August 2017)© to order back issues please call 016611660