Gearing Up for Future: Is Your Marketing Team Ready for the Millennials? (Part 2)

In the first part of the soon to be three part post, we discussed how millennials are redefining the rules of communication by introducing new triggers for smart marketing campaigns. Being a young generation which grew up with the Internet, makes them naturally addicted to social media. It’s a multifaceted cohort that lives mostly in urban circles, values authenticity, supports causes, and asks important questions.

With such a wide variety of unique characteristics on display, millennials often get a bad rap from ill-informed experts. You see, when big brands use audience research to understand what millennials prefer, their imagination is mostly limited to a tattoo-covered young individual who is constantly glued to social platforms.

The idea behind all of their research efforts is to find a single persona to create a marketing campaign that resonates with these millennials.

However, it’s difficult to limit such a large and diverse group into a single monolithic audience cohort. When the quest to find a stereotypical “millennial shopper” fails miserably, the so-called experts fill some gibberish in their persona reports…and that’s exactly where so many millennial MYTHS come into the picture. Something that needs attention right away.

If you’re looking to create an optimal marketing strategy, you need to examine these common myths and misconceptions.

With no single cookie-cutter plan for marketing to this unique group, millennials are often described in a very typical way with only a few supporting details in a profoundly distorted view. The time is right to address these common myths that lead to unsuccessful marketing campaigns. Better read up!

#1 – Millennials hate Television

There is no doubt that traditional media is losing its base to a certain extent. However, there are no concrete stats to prove that usage of television content among millennials has reduced remarkably.

With a considerable competition from high-quality streaming services on the internet, the quality of the TV content has to be top-notch. Millennials can only be engaged and involved if you showcase their values and talk about them in your video content.  So, if you’re looking to create a video ad or televised commercials, ensure that your content is in line with what the millennials like and appreciate.

Don’t do this yet

Television as a medium still works well. However, the material has to become at par with what is available on digital platforms – a challenge new-age marketing teams should address.

#2 – Millennials don’t follow brands anymore

Remember, millennials avoid checking out products in a shop.

In fact, when they first hear about a product or service, the reflex action is to Google more about the product and see if it’s worth it. Additionally, the physical shop has been successfully substituted by the e-commerce platforms. The specific recommendations from friends, family, and existing customers make up as the dominant “influencing sources” for purchase decisions of millennials.

With that in mind, maybe the brands (even big ones) are no longer relevant in a conventional sense. Even a known brand has to stick to their core values, and the marketing communication teams should try to generate a good buzz around their EXISTING customers.

For instance, the best way to remain relevant is to become a part of the customer experiences narrated by their friends, family, and acquaintances.

Don’t forget the influencers

Trust in a brand has become more important than brand awareness. That’s some serious food for thought for marketing leaders.

#3 – Offline shopping is dead

There are concrete reasons why millennials love e-commerce over offline shopping any day. One quick surf on any e-commerce platform and you can easily compare 3-4 products, all at the same time. We can look at the competition, read reviews, order within one minute and get the product in the 24 hrs. Honestly, that’s a hell of a lot of conveniences packed in one bundle.

If you carefully observe, successful e-commerce brands believe in creating an experience, a feeling of joy, and superb value at the point of sale. Something that good offline shops use to do for a very long time. It’s 2018, and if brands can offer the same (or even higher) level of customer experience, offline stores still work very well. 

We will still see this

#4 –  Millennials hate reading

Since the advent of the Internet, take a quick look at the nature of the media around millennials. You have websites, blogs, advertising campaigns, social networks, e.t.c. Even if they don’t want to, reading brand messages is become some form of compulsion. That’s why millennials have to grow up with a reading mindset. They are always looking for information that is intriguing, entertaining, and on the spot.

So the consumption of news and advertisements has certainly not stopped. Although, the medium has definitely changed. As a leader, your marketing messages should be interesting and suitable, offering all the necessary answers to your prospect. The marketing collateral should be top-notch (with a deep focus on every touch point.)

#5 – With social media, you get free advertising

Social media platforms offer a remarkable opportunity for targeted marketing communication. That’s precisely the reason why so many organizations have tried to take advantage of this connectivity and personalization.

There was a much simpler time when posting regular content on social media was enough for your prospects to take notice. However, with competition, the organic reach of platforms like Facebook and Twitter have continued to drop at a fast rate. This effectively means – a mix of paid and free advertising has to be the part of every successful marketing campaign.

If you’re looking to reach millennials, just believing in organic route might not bring the necessary ROI – something that a marketing leader should look into.

and Snapchat, and Instagram, and Reddit, and…

#6 – Millennials spend carelessly

Millennials live in a world filled with banners, online ads, and multichannel marketing campaigns. The culture of discounts, coupons, and loyalty cards is very much a part of the existing ecosystem.

57% of millennials respond to attractive offers like “buy one, get one free” from the direct mail. Coupons are still one of the most popular reasons for them to shift to another brand. Loyalty reward programs work well even today. Something that your marketing team should be aware of.

Millennials like any other human might buy something for stupid reasons. Additionally, a big chunk within millennials is known to be rather compulsive. Yet most of them are sensible with their money. Traditional marketing which helps them save money still works well (both in print and on digital!)

#7 –  Millennials don’t value settling down

Student debt is one of the most critical factors that have defined the 20’s and even 30’s of most millennials. The reason they did not invest in a great car or a lovely apartment is they simply can’t afford it.

That’s precisely the reason they’d like to save more money by purchasing online, another reason why e-commerce setups have developed that fast. Millennials also believe in “sharing economy” allowing their cars, apartments, houses to be shared. The only real purpose is to save more for their prime spending years.

So, the reason why millennials don’t value “owning things” needs a bit of research and a thorough inspection. This is probably one of the most common behavioral traits that most marketing teams miscalculate.

#8 – Loyalty from parents will be naturally transferred

Since millennials are well versed with a connected world and the powers of the Internet, they can often tell when somebody’s “marketing” to them.

They can also figure out a “forced” brand communication. Just organic messaging and unnecessary advertisements might not work.

So, a naive assumption that loyalty would automatically be transferred across generations is something that could lead to leaks in your marketing campaign.

Believe it or not, millennials are still a brand-loyal generation only if you engage with them directly and offer meaningful solutions. Hard-core selling techniques might have worked with baby boomers or the previous (read parents) generations. To get serious devotion from millennials, you need fresh content and direct engagement without sounding “salesy.”

#9 – Target: millennials  is a great idea

For some strange reason, even the bigger brands make a mistake of directly targeting the millennials with a customized “millennial offering.

For instance, car companies invest a lot of money to promote cars which are targeted directly to millennials. Most of the times this creates a doubt in your prospect’s mind, and they immediately feel that they’re being “ sold to”- a feeling they hate!

These offers become an instant turnoff for most millennials. It’s important for the teams to understand that marketing campaigns and advertisements shouldn’t be too direct. A good measure of subtlety is required. Just calibrate your marketing teams, so they avoid being too “in your face ” and salesy.

#10 – A common message should work

Using a single message is a common myth among marketing teams. It is widely believed that you can reach millennials across different platforms with a singular message. The idea is to hammer the message so many times that a millennial would recognize and respond with time.

Basically the same effect

…and that’s exactly what millennials despise. The thought of hearing the same message on every platform is an instant turn-off. This leads to content fatigue, boredom, and low conversions. Marketing teams should instead invest in personalized campaigns as needed on each platform. Make sure that touch points are personal and customized towards the exact needs of your prospects. More than 70% of millennials are happy to share their mobile usage data, only if you’re ready to provide more targeted experience to them.

Campaigns should always be designed keeping the audience persona in mind.

As a marketing team, you might need a resourceful group of writers, designers, and marketers to ensure that you have more than one message for all your prospects.

Concluding thoughts

Millennials are highly pragmatic consumers that demand serious value and high level of engagement. The digital and social space is their playground. If you’re planning to get attention in their turf, you need to be smart and vigilant.

Unfortunately, even when most companies have hired a “millennial expert” on their marketing team, it is surprising that most of these myths mentioned above are still being perpetuated. Marketing teams are still being lazy, devising campaigns that are based on age-old assumptions without understanding the nuances of the millennials.

The market is ready for you – provided you prepare to quash these millennial myths and gain the strategic marketing advantage that is much-needed in today’s competitive world. Only then marketers will gain the traction they desire with the modern millennials.

Since you have a fair idea about recognizing the crucial millennial patterns, and myths that are prevalent, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about the best marketing plans that work in the real world. Stay tuned for the third and final part of this series where we’re going to talk about the specific millennial marketing strategies.

See you then!

Gearing Up for Future: Is Your Marketing Team Ready for the Millennials?

Research and experience clearly indicate that old-fashioned ideas of marketing might not work in an age of social media. The approach towards marketing is going to need tweaking – or maybe even a total overhaul. If you’re preparing to market your offerings to the millennials, the first step is to understand the concept of generational personas. Recognizing these personas have helped marketers to divide their prospect-pool and focus on strategic groups rather than individuals.

Traditionally, a generation is defined by the amount of time between someone’s birth and when they become parents for the first time. For ease of marketing, it’s a good idea to divide the groups of prospects similar in age, behavior, attitudes into orderly groups – classified as generational cohorts. Dividing prospects into generational groupings is a common practice that helps you build sustainable marketing strategies. These categorizations represent the generational differences among your prospects. These minuscule differences impact everyone differently. For instance, the subprime mortgage crisis, had a different impact on someone was born in 1982, than on someone who was born in 1998, a fairly young age. Similarly, movies, educational styles, values, and differences in other environmental forces play a crucial role in shaping up five major generational cohorts:

1. Greatest generation – born at the beginning of the 20th century

2. Silent generation – born 1945 and earlier

3. Baby boomers – born 1946 to 1964

4. Generation X – born 1965 to 1978

5. Millennials – born 1979 to 1999

Why is it important to understand the portrait of a millennial?

The family life, educational and societal experiences for the millennials were startlingly different from what other generations had experienced. Interestingly, the beliefs and attitudes of millennials constructed a common persona that imported and celebrated all the differences, traits and perceived behaviors. For marketing teams, the very first step is to understand the systematic differences of millennials, when compared to other generational cohorts. The strategies that served well for previous generations don’t work with millennials, and it can mean the difference between success and failure of a campaign. Understanding how a common millennial persona is developed is probably the most crucial step for any marketing team looking to target them.

How have times changed?

Remember the 1980s advertisements – with vibrant colors, puffed up hair, and trousers belted higher than usual. Those ads were happy, filled with songs and jingles, portraying a specific culture across television screens and radios. If you think about it, those marketing styles describe the whole generation, exactly as it were at that time. That is how the marketers saw them. On the other hand, the style might appear a little weird to a person born after 1990. That’s an important point right there.

The marketing messages and advertisements from previous generations appeal to people ONLY from that generation. The same tone and style might not appeal to a millennial.

By contrast, the young people today are entirely different from those in the past. This effectively means the Generation X style, with all those colors, and positivity might not work with the millennial living in a contemporary world. The Generation X style was made up of messages highlighting the emotions. Millennials, on the other hand, are moved with storytelling across the digital mediums. There is a clear difference. Modern marketing teams need to focus on these changing dynamics. A new perspective based on data, facts, and experiences of millennials has to start right now. The mindset has to be strikingly different from previous generations.

Diving inside the mind of a millennial!

Millennials are a generation of extreme beliefs. It’s the generation that has no limits to creativity, thinking, and expectations. Technology is almost taken for granted. The only human generation where the mindset is not limited to a certain idea or any societal restrictions. Lamentably, millennials are often wrongly imagined just as a young person – a gross generalization that should be avoided. Millennials are a specific generational cohort which cannot be divided by a fancy demographic segment defined by someone’s age.

“In fact, a millennial will always have the same values and ideas, not restricted by any age range. It’s just the way they’ve been brought up. Thanks to social media, millennials are free, open, well-informed, and a global generation – systematically molded by the education system, media, technology, and communication around them.”

It’s 2018, and the paradigms of marketing have changed. Interestingly, a lot of today’s marketing C-level executives are part of Generation X. That’s why they often struggle to recognize the mindset of millennials. Fact is, there is a definite learning curve when you’re trying to sell to millennials. It requires a rewiring of mind.

Recognizing crucial patterns (the secret message from millennials!)

When creating campaigns for the millennials, it’s important to get involved in their motivations, while acknowledging the styles and daily habits and issues that drive them different. Here are four important patterns for you to consider:

#1 – Making comparisons to arrive at the decision

A product is mostly bought after millennials have talked about it either online, off-line, or both. They’d like to check out a few reviews, might look into popular social noise platforms like Twitter, Facebook, e.g. They might view a couple of YouTube videos about direct competitors. That’s why plain advertising will never be enough to influence the buying behavior of a millennial prospect.  Advertising is just one side of the coin. You need the support of user opinions and word-of-mouth to market and sell your product or service.

#2 – Offering top-notch value is not just an added option

You can never win by bombarding millennials with marketing messages. Being a technology-savvy generation, they’ll just switch over to another marketing channel, or activate ad blocking to insulate and fail your campaign. The age of interruptive advertising is over. For millennials, advertising is another form of content they ‘have to enjoy’ for it to be successful. As an audience, millennials are tough to please. Since they’re not ready to watch a boring message, you need to attract their attention by offering VALUE in each moment. The marketing messages have to be creative, appealing, and always offering value in some form or other.

#3 – Millennials can make you go viral!

Smart marketers do realize the importance of virality. Know that you can count on an army of generous millennials that can be the source of success for most profit-driven marketing campaigns. The only recipe is to offer top-notch value. Don’t waste time and press the right emotional buttons. The viral campaigns can give you global visibility through social networks. Millennials have a deep respect for great communication which promises quality content – video, audio, news, or anything else. As a marketer, you have the unique opportunity to break the stereotypes and use digital mediums to achieve tremendous ROI on your campaigns.

#4 – Context and Timing are everything

The Internet has changed the concept and definition of time. Depending upon the virality something can be short-lived or everlasting. Quality is a BIG factor here. The online reputation, reviews, interactive posts can vanish in a matter of minutes. The millennials have grown up in a world where advertisements and banner disappear forever if you don’t interact or click on them. This is an instant generation (instant delivery, instant messaging, e.g.), and maybe that’s why the impact in the present moment is far more important than what happens five years down the line. There’s a general lack of interest for an action that happens too far in future. The marketing teams should understand the overall context and give their best offer, right now! Put your best foot forward in the next 10 seconds. That’s the only thing that matters!

Concluding thoughts

Millennials have a tremendous market influence & they’re probably the most studied and researched generation ever. With the death of traditional offline marketing channels, millennials are redefining the rules of marketing communication by introducing new triggers for purchasing decisions. For modern marketers, the battlefield is competitive, and adjusting to the prospect demands will be an act of bravery. To understand the new requirements, you need some relevant pointers to create a more significant impact and better numbers. You have to be ready for the change. With that in mind, we conclude the first of the 3 part series on this subject.

In recent years, without any proper research, young millennials are often misunderstood and misrepresented stereotypically. As a marketer though, you need to be more vigilant and understand the actual pain points of the target audience. To have all of your ducks in a row we’re going to talk about the crucial millennial MYTHS in the next post. These are common misconceptions that lead to flop marketing campaigns. Don’t forget to check out the Part 2 of the series.

The real meat is yet to come so stay tuned!!

How to use personalized video throughout the customer journey

Video camera

In a fastchanging world of marketing, what used to work a few months ago isn’t generating same results anymore. With time and increased overall usage, marketers started creating a higher number of messages which were increasingly inferior. Naturally, this led to poor click-through rates or conversion rates. Plus with so much noise around, its harder than ever to stand out in the crowd. One quick look at your inbox & you’d realize that it’s full of unnecessary stuff that you have to compete with. Precisely the kind of noise that’s making the old marketing methods redundant...and this noise is what we’re up against as marketers.

Personalized video help you systematically grow your sales funnel
Personalized video help you systematically grow your sales funnel

The audience today expects genuine communication. Not scripted, boring generic messages. That’s exactly where well-crafted personalized videos could make us stand out. These videos are generated to educate and entertain, so our prospects could watch them with keen interest and engage. What’s important is that it helps us solve two major problems

You get audience attention amongst noise with a customer moving ahead in their buyer’s journey.
You could improve those pathetic 0.5-1.5% conversion rates – that we’re forced to become comfortable with.

 

The personalized video is a fantastic way to engage people on one to one level like never before. It changes the concept of communication letting you build trust, relationships, and credibility. With the advent of new tools, its the perfect time for marketers to push themselves to make deeper connections with the potential prospects throughout their journey. Let’s take a quick look at the process.

First, you need to think beyond the name!

A truly personalized video is more than just getting someones name right. The entire message must be crafted towards your viewer, and what interests them in the buyers journey. It’s their occupation, the phone number, their email, their interests, even a job title; you can customize a photo as well, a message wholly based on what they want to see. As a marketer, you are allowed to run your imagination. The possibility of customization is almost endless.

Video camera
Professional videos are worth it, but if you’re a bootstrapped startup, iPhone will do

and with groundbreaking technology, it’s much easier than it sounds. It allows you to imagine a video with content customized to the individual interests of the prospects. You could efficiently & strategically place the personalized elements at the right times on the video. The best part – everything happens even before your prospect comes into direct contact with anybody in your company. This’ll help you cut through the clutter and improve audience engagement at a mass scale. TargetMarketing™ does professional videos and animations alike.

That’s how Flipkart revived their fortunes

Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce giant, decided their ads cannot be same to all people. With that in mind, the higher management was prepared for a major shift!

Flipkart has an equivalent of what people call a Cyber Monday sale in the US, and its called Big Billion Days. They partnered with AdGreetz and replaced one big giant campaign ad with 100,000 personalized commercials, across 20 major metropolitan cities. The campaign relied heavily on customized video marketing based on what the audience has purchased, browsed, left in the shopping cart, etc. Result – Flipkart doubled their revenue from the five-day sale from $500 million to $1 billion.

That’s a perfect example of video personalization done right. All Flipkart did was to analyze the elements of customization considering the data of the recipients and utilize it with precision. As a marketer if you could replicate the same approach, your conversion is bound to get at least 4 to 5 times higher. Just set goals at each stage, and you can use it across the customer journey.

Depending upon the stage of the marketing funnel youre targeting, you can quickly determine the content and calibrate the right messaging for your prospects. It starts with the realization of the problem to the first interaction with your product/service, leading to the ultimate goal – the sale. These stages can be broadly classified into three categories – awareness, consideration, and decision. The idea is to add a personalized video to every step of the marketing funnel and help potential customers swiftly move through the funnel, bringing them closer to a decision to buy or convert. Let’s break the process into realistic goals and see how personalized video can help at each stage.

Awareness stage right at the top of the funnel

Your buyers are aware of the problem and looking for a solution. This is the first touch point, and you’re starting out utterly fresh with these potential customers. While creating the video, keep simple goals in mind – like brand recognition and advertisement recall. The aim is to get more views, a higher level of impressions, and repeated visits. Here are two kinds of video that could potentially work –

1. A well-crafted commercial can highlight your product or service while showcasing a story that directly impacts your prospect.
2. A detailed explainer video is used to break down difficult concepts for your prospects. If done well, the explainer videos have the potential to be distributed on social media platforms without any inorganic push. With the help of smart personalization, explainer videos can bring more engagement You have the option to bring your customers into the video. Maybe it’s their name, their photographs, their interests, or anything else you see relevant.

The goal here is to keep them engaged for a long time and increase your clickthrough rate. You are building relationships at this stage.

Consideration or the midlevel funnel stage

Now the problem is residing in the mind of your potential buyer. It’s fast becoming a pain they can’t endure. They are searching for ways to address this problem. Naturally, they search for this online as well. Assuming that you’ve had at least a single contact with your prospect (retargeting cookie), you have some data for the next step.

For example, if they’ve liked your video – you’re all set for retargeting. Remember, now you’re fighting for the attention and the need to convince your buyers that you‘re better than your competition. You have to stay on top of their mind. You have to remember they’re more likely to buy a product online after watching a quality video.

The goal at the consideration stage is simple. Whenever thinking about theproblem, the prospects should immediately associate with your brand and think like someone with a solution. This is a place where they become a lead since they are closing in towards your product/service. Some videos that make sense at this stage are

1. Testimonial Video can be used to add credibility and push them further in the funnel.
2. FAQ Video offers clear answers to their queries. You immediately become a rich resource to solve your prospect’s problem.
3. Product Review video showcases the complete procedure of how your product solves a particular problem.
4. Product tour video can help them visualize the solution and increase their connection with your brand.
5. Webinars help you tailor the content to each viewer by including the personal information of your audience. When you use their name, and personal details on each page, the whole message seems explicitly designed with them in mind.

Decision or Conversion stage (End of the Funnel)

You should already pat on your back since the prospect has made it so far. Although, they are yet to make a purchasing decision. Given the volatile nature of this stage, this is the right time to showcase your value. Create additional credibility through stats, case studies, coupon codes, incentives, and extended free trials. Your call to action also becomes crucial.

It’s like crossing the final line in a race – you’ll know when you’ve arrived. There would be an uptick in sign-ups, sales, clicks, etc. Some videos that will help at the decision-stage –

1. Process video – Show them the easy nature of using your product/service. It can be in the form of a tutorial video where you take them one step at a time towards the final solution they are looking for. When they view the whole process, there is a temptation to try out the product, and that’s where conversion happens. With personalization cues thrown in, the video could show how natural the actual process is. Theyll be excited to give it a try.
2. A customized personal videoUsing the user data, send an invitation to the prospects that appears it was entirely made just for them. Remember, getting the customization right is very important here. Something personal like a birthday coupon at the right time can be just the final push that is needed for the conversion. A ticket with your prospect’s name on it would work fine as well.

Post sale experience

Conversion or sales is not the last stage. You need to offer greater expertise and show your support after the deal is done. A personalized video at this stage can help reinforce your brand. For example, onboarding videos work really well. The idea is to offer something they appreciate, and your competitors don’t offer. It makes you deeply integrated into their memories. That’s how you create repeat customers and invite word of mouth strategy.

Concluding thoughts

Personalizing a video is far more comfortable than you can imagine. With better technology nowadays, it comes down to the quality of the data source – be it CRM, billing systems, trackers, manual databases and so much more. You just need to map your content marketing to the funnel. With advanced tools at your disposal, you are bound to see high ROI.

A word of caution here. A personalized video showcases your brands point of view. So, it’s important that you should not interrupt your prospects. Remember, your here not just to sell but to create a relationship. The video should not be intruding and should be relevant to what you’re offering. As a marketer, you have a responsibility.

The era of personalization started almost a decade back with e-cards that were customized for Valentine day. With access to tools and experts, it’s amazing to observe how far the technology has come. These videos have moved across different teams in your company and quickly getting integrated into your CRM. You could effectively talk to every prospect and have a unique conversation. Fact is, even within extremely modest video budget, you can get pretty creative with your solutions. All you need is to jump to the next step.

Don’t be late to this party or you will regret it!

Be sure to go to Target Marketing™ website to learn more and let us help you get more customers.

How To Make Personalized Marketing Work

Overwhelming marketing

Benefits, Best Practices, and More

With low attention spans, exposure to multiple channels, and a general sense of oversaturation, the consumer response to traditional marketing is changing fast. The conventional monetization channels are becoming increasingly tougher for the marketers to tap into. Brands are in a constant war with each other to fight for the prospect’s attention. With marketing messages coming from all four corners, prospects today have more content options than ever. Plus, with norms around privacy changing with time, the competition has never been more difficult for marketers.

Overwhelming marketing
Overwhelming marketing

…and you can’t blame the prospects.

 

With an overwhelming volume of content that is bombarded on them all the time, there is a sense of irritability creeping in. Result – even the most perfect prospect is defensive towards innovative marketing tactics. This effectively means higher bounce rates, low conversions, and wastage of resources. The tough times that we live in!

 

As a brand, you don’t want to become just another name that prospects ignore. The quest is to remain relevant and keep your audience engaged while maintaining a high ROI on your marketing campaigns. Fact is, the audience today is looking for targeted online experiences that are completely tailored to their interests.

Impersonal
Impersonal

…and that is exactly where personalization comes in.

In broader terms, personalization gives you an option to customize your content and stay relevant to your prospects. If executed well, the prospect might feel that a particular advertisement, email, video or a newsletter was curated just for them. With a superior degree of involvement, you’ll see higher conversions, better results, and a branding opportunity –  the perfect recipe for remaining at the top of your game while creating long-lasting monetization channels.

The present state of personalization in marketing

The marketing industry has already lapped up the concept of personalization. If you haven’t, try and run a small pilot, and you’d be surprised to see the positive data points. The actual techniques of personalization can vary though.

To begin with, it could be something as basic as simply addressing someone by name in an email. A more advanced personalization technique would be to completely alter the prospect’s environment based on their preferences, previous behavior, and browsing history. The sole aim is to tie every personalization endeavor into a fully integrated cross-channel plan, leading the prospects from discovery to intrigue, and finally make them purchase a product or service.

 

Personalization brings its challenges like increased overall costs and a need for a better IT infrastructure. Also, with an unclear estimation of eventual ROI, marketers are often confused about the incremental gain they would get out from the process of personalization. No, they are not unwilling to spend – just worried about the lack of uncertainty about whether or not they’re doing it right and using the reliable metrics.

 

Personalization is a fairly common process now, and it comes down to a healthy combination of experimentation with the unknowns, learning from your mistakes, and creating a better plan for the next campaign. The analysis should be based on the overall impact the campaign might have on your best prospects. It’s a simple rule – the more you learn, the more effective you will be at personalized marketing.

Where do marketers usually go wrong?

Missing obvious cues to personalize

In some cases, it’s very clear what your customer is looking for, and you should “personalize ” to avoid missing an opportunity for conversion.

For example, a person visiting a personal insurance portal and using the online calculator listed on the site is surely looking for an insurance plan. It’s a disaster not to use this opportunity to offer a good insurance plan to the prospect.

Have you discovered the right intent?

Analyze the important user data to have a well-informed estimate of the “real intent ” of the prospect. If you don’t know the process, hire an expert and invest in a better behavioral tracking tool. This is especially important when you have multiple products or services on your website.

For example – TiVo decided to personalize their marketing campaign. The company noticed certain data and trend about a user and began making some serious recommendations. TiVo mysteriously assumed that their customer is looking for a particular kind of shows.

In fact, you don’t need to go far. One random Google search, and you’ll find numerous examples of e-commerce personalization gone wrong. Some of these examples are absolute nightmares. Consider this tweet and imagine the deep insensitivity from the local mortuary. Events like these make you think that companies operating in certain fields should be extra careful about personalization.

 

Getting too personal to soon might hurt

Some customizations could prove to be nerve-racking for your prospects. Remember the infamous Target personalization debacle wherein the retail behemoth tracked buyer’s early pregnancy based on their purchases, eventually leading to a big PR disaster for the organization.

 

Be extra careful when tracking the location

Using customer’s location is probably the most important and basic personalization tactic used for marketing and advertising. However, as a brand, you need to be extra careful when you’re prospect travels a lot. Someone who’s staying in London for 15 days might go back to their hometown in Canada soon. Once they’re back, chances are they no longer need offers from the restaurants in London. So, customize your campaigns with precision to promote relevant messaging, or it might lead to PR blunders on social media.

And when personalization goes right!

There is no doubt that personalization can be a boon for marketers, retailers, and even consumers. As much as 96% marketers believe in the power of personalization. The real challenge is to personalize in ways that it delivers genuine ROI without annoying the end user. Let’s look at a few examples that showcase the power of personalization in marketing:

  1. Barbell Apparel was able to sell more than 9,000 pairs of jeans by using a highly specific personal outreach campaign designed for the discrete media sites.
  2. People who love wine are very specific and have clear preferences. These choices are at the center of the personalization strategy of Naked Wines. Visit their website, and with a few clicks, you can rate every wine listed on the portal. Then allow the website to give you some personalized recommendations based on how your preferences compare with other members. This is a great approach as customers gain a better understanding of what they like and don’t like in the first place. It’s a great way to give them the power to choose.
  3. Remember the famous “Share a Coke” campaign in Australia (which they also brought to the US in 2014.) The whole project was designed to reach young millennials with every bottle showing the most popular first names from that particular generation.
    The campaign became quite popular and proved to be a great way to reach a whole generation. It lead to more sales and better ROI for the brand.
  4. Then we have the most common one – Amazon. Their recommendation algorithm is usually top-notch. When you visit their site, it’s too difficult to resist the temptation of not looking down the page and look for personal recommendations. They seem to know their users well and offer the right product depending upon the preferences. As a consumer, it often leads to unplanned purchasing decisions, but that’s not Amazon’s fault, is it 🙂

Concluding thoughts

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

 

As an eager brand or an individual marketer, you might feel excited to provide your prospects with a personalized experience. The real question is – Are you ready to take it to the next level?

 

Do you have good prospect data?

Do you have the right tools, technology, and a willingness to experiment?

Do you have the in-house expertise to carry out the campaigns?

Do you have the right reason to personalize?

Do you know when to stop personalizing?

 

Every marketer is also a consumer. That’s why, when doing the personalization experiments, you need to think as a prospect and draw the line between creepy and professional. Since the consumers have come to expect it now, brings an extra responsibility on your shoulders.

 

Finally, you need to have an opt-out option for your customers as well. Knowing that they can opt-out of communication at any time creates a layer of trust. This step will make you appear flexible and secured. It will also keep you away from any blunders and help you maintain a positive and respectful image, even if something doesn’t work out with the prospect. They deserve that.

 

Personalized marketing is not complex. Try it out and make sure you’re doing it at the right time, in the right manner, and for the right reasons. What has been your experience with personalized marketing? Want to share some examples?

 

Do let us know in the comments.