Looking at society today, George Orwell’s “1984” seems prophetic. We live in a world of mass surveillance, our personal data up for grabs. Privacy is becoming an increasingly thorny issue, with social media giants at pains to showcase their integrity and retain trust. Not wanting to waver from its policy, Twitter went so far as to say it would “tip-off” terrorists that they’re being monitored, unless ordered not to.
Sharing photos of our breakfast, boasting about holidays and telling the world how much we hate Mondays has become part of everyday life, thanks to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This sharing culture is generating an absolute gold-mine of data on our personal lives. Companies can not only track our every click, they can snoop on our loves and hates too.
While the thought of “Big Brother” sends shivers down the spine, when used correctly this data can be extremely advantageous to consumers and companies alike. Connectivity has congested and cluttered our hours, so that the need for speed in our lives is ever important. Quite frankly, consumers don’t have the time to fruitlessly forage the web. This means marketers need to do the leg-work and produce relevant content.
Relevant content is people-based marketing. It’s about using customer data, such as age, birthdays, sex and geographies to tailor and target content that is personal to the consumer. Whatever data you have at your fingertips, use it to underpin your strategy and hit customers with what you know, not assume, they love. Some stats to back me up:
More than three-quarters (78%) of consumers are more interested in building a relationship with brands that create unique and personalised content.
Nearly 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites that produce irrelevant content. For example, a poll revealed 67% would leave a site if shown an ad asking for donations to a political party they didn’t support.
Over half of social network users in the U.K. alone are willing to share data from their social media profiles to see products and content relevant to their interests.
Traditional and impersonal marketing methods are broken. 44% of direct mail is never opened, 86% of people skip television adverts, 200 million numbers of the “do not call list.”
It’s critical that personal data is used wisely, and where appropriate that it’s also used transparently. As research shows, consumers are often happy to share data in return for relevant content that adds-value and saves time. Use it to slicken and pinpoint marketing, don’t over-use it and freak people out. Remember there are huge differences between personal and intimate, informative and interruptive, prying and guiding.
People-based marketing using relevant content can be as simple as personalised emails and follow-ups, birthday discounts and tailored advice. It should streamline the customer journey. Netflix, for example, uses customer ratings to provide tailored recommendations. Here are a few more fab examples:
All women will testify how much make-up makes for the bin. Finding that perfect shade of bronzer is an expensive game of trial-and-error. Sephora’s “Beauty Insider” means you can cut through the cr*p to create your very own profile that includes personal features such as skin tone. The brand can then match its products to your profile.
Each person landing on Amazon's homepage sees something different. It displays your name along with items tailored just for you based on previous clicks, purchases and wish-lists. Moreover after browsing, your inbox will be littered with products based on your searches. Didn’t get around to buying? They won’t let you forget an abandoned cart.
Coke boosted customers ego's by replacing its logo with their names. This fantastic gimmick created a gift-giving dynamic, encouraging social media sharing and spreading the Coca-Cola happiness motto. The 2014 campaign alone generated 998 million Twitter impressions and 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans using #ShareaCoke.
The Secret Escapes teasers that drop into my inbox on gloomy Monday's never fail to have me dreaming of sun and sand. What's more, these emails don't just display any random destination, they've been tailored to my tastes based on my previous browsing behaviour. That means I'm prime to pounce come that one Monday when it all gets too much.
Heinz fans could morph themselves into beautiful beans through an app on the brand’s Facebook page. Users completed a personality test that matched them to a bean, before generating their very own "Beanie" look-a-like. Once the caricature had been created it could be used as a profile picture or shared with friends. The campaign boosted the brand's Facebook following by 30,000.
Anthropologie customers that sign-up to its free loyalty card receive e-mails from the brand during their birthday month, inviting them to a special discount.