We’ve all become accustomed to a certain level of personalisation in our marketing. Think the mass market email you get from your favourite retailer with your name inserted (revolutionary, not that many years ago) or the birthday SMS from your gym (nice or annoying, it was clever when it started). Well, the next level of personalisation is here and the term “hyper-personalisation marketing” conveys the opportunity in all its dizzying possibilities.
Brands are now able to collect infinite amounts of data about us. If you use the internet, big brother is watching whether you like it or not. I’m not saying give up on your privacy, but the reality is, nothing is private anymore and every keystroke you make and every page you visit can and is tracked. But data is only useful to a brand if they can do something meaningful with it.
Imagine being an airline that can track that you are looking for fares to tropical destinations in May. A week later, bang, a discount airfare to Fiji lands in your inbox with a picture of a family that looks remarkably like yours (ages, ethnicity etc) all addressed directly to you with a time-bound offer you simply cannot resist. And you don’t resist.
Companies achieve this by capturing your search data and keystrokes and feeding into their CRM systems. It’s the capturing and management of this data that makes hyper-personalisation so easy. Owning a mailing list is now the marketing holy grail and affords brands the opportunity to engage with us to meet exact wants and needs in a timely manner.
Amazon has been a leader in this area for years. Amazon has suggested products based on your previous purchases for years, but they’ve been getting better and better at it. Amazon reports that these algorithms now account for a staggering 35% of all their sales.
But brands are using this to be kinder to their customer by offering a dizzying array of discounts and non-monetary rewards tailored directly to our preferences. O2, a phone retailer in the UK is a leader in the field, offering it’s customers discounts and money can’t buy opportunities via its rewards programme. Check the gushing posts using the hashtag #FollowTheRabbit – what an amazing opportunity to turn your customers into raving brand ambassadors and of course, to keep you paying their bills and upgrading your phone.
Of course, not all businesses have the opportunity to cut data to the same degree that an O2 does, but hyper-personalisation is built into all CRM systems these days, offering most marketers some level of hyper-personalisation. A starting point may simply be to segment your database by age, gender, purchase history or location and deliver offers based on one of those criteria.
Think a food retailer offering an in-store tasting experience and discount offer this weekend in Melbourne, only for customers who regularly buy product X. Sending this to your Melbourne clients who have previously purchased product X is a smart move and because many mailer services charge by the volume of emails you send (or the size of your list), you can cut your costs and also avoid annoying your Sydney customers who may have really wanted the same experience but feel like they missed out. Your Melbourne customer feels you ‘get them’ which further enhances your brand ‘stickability’.
Which heralds in the next part of hyper-personalisation and the power of the #hastag – Social Listening. If you want to target customers who are interested in Property investment in Sydney, you can use a social media management tool to target #PropertyInvestment and tweet a personalised image with a bespoke message directly to them.
Facebook has the same ability to track your likes and interests allowing marketing the opportunity to have relevant ads come through your feed. Have you ever felt weird that Facebook seems to know you so well, well that’s why. Facebook just announced record profits in the last quarter from its 1.8 billion users, exceeding analysts expectations. The reality is they can attract advertisers who can now hyper-personalised advertising. Even the local corner store can target locals with offers and not spend money on advertising to people outside their area. Its’ Target Marketing taken to the next level.
But to make Social Listening powerful, you need to be engaging in social media where your customers are. Brands that engage with their customers and actively post on social media build deep relationships with these customers who become very ‘sticky’.
The challenge for small businesses is not to become overwhelmed by all the opportunity out there. To make hyper-personalisation work on a realistic scale, you have to be extremely clear on who your Target Market is. Building a client Avatar and having a laser focus on that customer can give small businesses the edge over their larger competitors.
In a world where we are being targeted so precisely by large business, small businesses can and do have the opportunity to cut through all the noise and speak directly to their ideal customer which will save time and money on marketing, because knowing precisely where to market will give you the edge and your customer will love you for it.