The Importance of Personalized Marketing
In a world where markets are becoming more competitive and consumers often have multiple choices of where to buy, fostering brand loyalty through personalized marketing is crucial.
With companies operating and thriving on social media, a corporate, blanket approach to marketing to customers is no longer appropriate. Successful brands use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to forge their own personalities and (most importantly) they understand their customers’ personalities too.
But do consumers appreciate this? Telecommunications company TollFreeForwarding.com decided to find out. They surveyed 2,000 American consumers to find out how brands can secure customer loyalty and what place personalized marketing has in their consumer journey.
The results were decisive: three quarters of Americans want marketing from brands to be personalized to them. The vast majority of consumers don’t want to do business with a faceless, anonymous company. They want to know that, behind the email, website or letter, there is a real person there who understands them and appreciates their wants and needs. The days of the “Dear valued customer” approach are over.
On top of this, 50% of the people surveyed actually said they wanted a brand to feel like a best friend. This may sound like a tough ask for brands, but this is the level of knowledge, intimacy and personalization that consumers now expect from the companies they deal with.
44% of respondents said they would switch brands if they felt like a company didn’t know them, which makes gathering data on your audience and customers, then utilizing it in your marketing, absolutely critical.
So, how do you do this?
Creating specific audience personas through social media data allows you to target your consumers through marketing material and advertising that is specific to them. This is the polar opposite of a scattergun approach – find out what your audience’s interests and needs are and tailor compelling content to match them.
We see examples of this every day on the various platforms we use. Who hasn’t been guilty of clicking a sponsored ad for clothing tailored to our specific styles, ages and interests, or pages or apps based on what we already “Like” on social media?
Blanket emails personalized with just our name (although getting this right is a good start!) simply aren’t enough anymore. The content itself needs to be adapted to match our interests and lives.
Netflix is a prime example of this approach. It is constantly developing and honing its advanced algorithm to recommend movies and shows based on users’ previously watched media. It has tens of thousands of extremely specific micro-genres that every item is tagged with, which, when combined with a customer’s viewing history, helps to create highly advanced viewer profiles that influence recommendations.
And it doesn’t stop there, as Netflix even displays different preview images to different people, depending on what has grabbed their attention in the past. Does a user react better to the face of an actor they admire, an action-packed thumbnail or a show’s stylized title card?
Netflix’s algorithm knows and serves the appropriate image to entice viewers in. This approach leaves no stone unturned and allows Netflix to provide a world-leading personalization experience.
TollFreeForwarding.com’s survey found that the amount of personalization needed in marketing also depends heavily on gender and age, with twice as many men seeking “very personalized” communication compared to women (43% vs 21%). More men than women also wanted a brand to feel like a best friend, highlighting the importance of understanding the consumers and people that brands want to target.
While this level of friendship wasn’t as important to the older generations (just 8% of over-55s wanted a brand to feel like a best friend) this is extremely important to Gen Z and millennials, with 46% and 56% of them respectively wanting that best friend feel from a company they buy from.
This need for personalized marketing is not just subconscious either. US consumers surveyed also expressed comfort sharing their personal data to allow them to benefit from a personalized marketing experience. Over half were happy to share their purchasing habits and 43% were content disclosing their personal beliefs.
Ultimately, this shows that it’s not just the friendly side of personalized marketing that users appreciate – they want brands to provide them with a better buying experience. If Amazon can give users a list of related books or show them what other users who purchased their item also bought, it gives its customers a superior shopping experience.
This is the question brands need to be asking at every stage of their marketing process and throughout each step of their customers’ journeys: “How can we personalize this process to make it simpler, friendlier and specific to each of our customers?”
The biggest companies in the world excel at this, despite having customer bases in the millions – it’s what got them there in the first place and is why they continue to stay one step ahead of their competitors.