To know a customer is not enough – show them you know and care

As marketers, we want our communications to be the foundation of a rewarding relationship between consumers and our brands.

Kathy Parker

In my last column I talked about creating a ‘value exchange’ with consumers by genuinely delighting them with something useful and relevant, but I believe we can establish a more powerful connection by giving our relationship with consumers a true ‘personal touch’.

I have seen great examples of personalisation that have had a positive response on the brand-consumer relationship and have increased sales or footfall. These fall into three areas: physical personalisation, communication personalisation and an interesting combination of the two.

Take, for example, Heinz’s Facebook initiative that lets you send to a friend a personalised can of ‘get well’ soup or the Cadbury scheme where you can add a picture of your choice to the chocolate packaging. The beauty of these services is that both the recipient and the sender feel they have had personal input and this extends their sense of affinity with a product they have helped create, or has been created especially for them.

On Diageo’s luxury ecommerce gifting site, sales increased significantly the moment we offered customers the ability to engrave a bottle of spirits with a personalised message.

Data analytics enables brands to build an understanding of consumer interests and create personalised content. Amazon has done this by using an algorithm to analyse what a customer has bought, rated or liked to heavily customise the browsing experience when they return. A consumer’s visit to Amazon is personally curated to their needs so they can ‘serendipitously discover’ products that they would be interested in buying. This gives Amazon’s sales a head start as what the consumer is looking for – and so much more – is at their fingertips.

Similarly, Westfield is using curated content based on shoppers’ likes and dislikes to show consumers that its shopping centres house the brands and experiences they love, with the aim of increasing footfall and generating more sales for the retailers. The Westfield mobile app (a Marketing Week Data Strategy Award winner) creates a personalised shopping experience based on the retailers and activities shoppers have indicated they like best. This specially curated content includes useful information such as retailer offers, product launches, film screening times and fashion books and videos, and as it collects further data, it continually adapts to become more personalised each time it is used.

Meanwhile, global visitors to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, after experiencing the journey into the elements that comprise the magic of Guinness, are sent an email reminding them of their visit and advising them of the best places to enjoy the highest quality Guinness close to their own home, thereby allowing their positive Guinness journey to continue into the future.

But how can we take this quest for consumer personalisation even further to make our marketing less intrusive and easily adoptable? At Diageo, we have combined the personalisation of products and communications to create an individualised offering. We used technology called +More to enable consumers to personalise gift bottles by including a video message created by them in a QR code on the label. When the label is scanned it reveals the message to the recipient. We used the smart technology for our Father’s Day campaign in Latin America and have also rolled it out to Vietnam. This example blends the use of data into the physical product and simultaneously delivers the personal touch.

Data analysis is the gateway to creating a personal touch and cut-through for your brand but it is the translation of the ‘zeros and ones’ into specialised, personalised content that brands need to harness to show consumers they really understand their customers and achieve the rewarding relationship we are all seeking to build.

Kathy Parker is senior vice president, marketing innovation at Diageo



    Leave a comment