Community Futures Meridian

Box 2167, 125 - 1st Avenue East, Kindersley, SK - Phone: (306) 463-1850

Getting personal with your customers

  • May 3, 2016
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Marketing has always been about finding new tools, or ways to excite potential buyers to buy what we have to sell. Personalization is becoming an increasingly important tool. Consumers expect an increased level of personalization in their interaction with businesses, whether it be online, or in person.

Getting Personal Online

According to various surveys, over 50 per cent of people purchase books online. If you are a book lover, bookstores are cool places to hang out, so why are so many consumers buying through online stores? Is it purely convenience? In part yes, but it’s also because companies such as Chapters/Indigo dial in to what their customers like to read. They send customers emails announcing new books (including the ability to pre-order) written by their favourite authors, along with suggestions based on the genres they like to read.

Bricks and mortar bookstores need to compete with this level of personalization by zeroing in on their regular customer’s likes and dislikes. The ability of online stores to personalize their offerings by monitoring our buying habits and encouraging us to engage with them by telling them our likes and dislikes, gives them an edge - a big edge. Personalization is a powerful purchasing motivator, one that both those selling online, and those selling direct to consumers, would be well advised to consider as an important marketing stratagem.

When Coca-Cola got personal

It’s not difficult to find examples of successful personalization campaigns; Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was a big hit a few years ago. This iconic brand swapped its logo on bottles for a name, in fact over a thousand of the most popular names. A further 500,000 names were made available through the ‘Share a Coke’ online store, where you could type in your own name and purchase bottles in packs of six.

The idea was that people would share their Coke with people who mattered most to them. It was one of the company’s most successful marketing campaigns with 150 million personalized bottles sold. People warmed to the idea quickly and shared more than their Coke, they shared stories, selfies and special moments. In terms of social media, the results were astounding: 998 million impressions on Twitter and 235,000 Tweets! Coca-Cola took a global brand and made it personal. That’s a powerful thing and something any company can emulate no matter if it’s a global leader or a corner store.

Relating more closely to your customers

Prospective buyers will relate to your brand in a more personal, more emotional level, if you can relate to them to one-on-one. Think about a typical email approach. What works best, an email with no salutation, or one that opens with your name? Of course, just having software input the name of the recipient in a mass mail out (beware the fairly recent Canadian anti-spam laws by the way) is not enough; you have to build a personal relationship with the prospect. There has to be a reason why s/he, should look at the email in the first place. People open emails that mean something to them – ones they find useful, rewarding, or entertaining. A regular buyer of books from Chapters/Indigo will look forward to an email from them, as it may be announcing a new book by their favourite author.

Building a relationship with individuals in your potential market is vital because you need to learn what they are interested in, on an intimate level. You need to know about their preferences, what makes them tick, what gets them excited and emotionally involved - you are looking for them to buy into your brand. It’s all about identity – theirs. It’s about your story and their story coming together. It’s about them believing you understand them and are personalizing your approach to them – perhaps even personalising your product or service to meet their specific needs.

The best form of marketing is one-on-one because no matter how hard we try; one-size-fits-all is simply no longer effective to today’s sophisticated consumer. The new social media age, along with new technology, is allowing us to market to individuals on mass. And no, that’s not an oxymoron!

The simple fact is: when we personalize the shopping experience (across all channels and devices), we make it easier for prospective buyers to find products they want to buy. And you can take that to the bank!