When marketing to consumers, one main piece of information that you should never forget is – consumers are people. As human beings, we naturally want to be liked, we want to feel special and we want to be noticed, even when dealing with a company.
As a marketer you can benefit from this human psychology by using personalised marketing.
Personalised marketing – also known as individual or one to one marketing – is when a business targets a product or its advertising directly to one person or a very small group of people.
For example, last week I received a letter with a personalised membership card from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service as a thank you for donating blood for the first time and to encourage me to continue.
Personalised Marketing Saves Lives?
The letter was expected. What caught my attention though was the letter sent with the membership card. A mock up newspaper front page with the headline LOCAL HERO NICK SAVES THREE LIVES, and a picture of a child smiling.
Just sending a thank you letter would have been enough, but to see the headline directed personally to me along with a picture of a happy child was compelling, it almost made me feel as though I had saved that child’s life.
Personalised marketing works so well because it engages with the consumer and builds a connection. When you can make your marketing speak individually to someone, it makes them feel special and it can be very powerful.
Porsche used in personalised marketing
PFAFF Auto in Toronto Canada combined the use of a Porsche with guerrilla marketing to create a very successful personalised marketing campaign. They drove a white Porsche 911 Carrera to affluent neighbourhoods They parked the Porsche out the front of every single house and took a photo.
They then designed and printed personalised postcards using the pictures in a nearby van, and left them at the house on the same day.
Each homeowner in the estate arrived home to find a postcard with a picture of a Porsche in front of their house, encouraging them to take a test drive, resulting in a 32% response rate of people taking up the offer for a test drive.
These are absolutely phenomenal numbers, all because they had taken the time to use personalised marketing.
How to Benefit from Personalised Marketing
To run a personalised marketing campaign, the more information that you have about someone, the better. However, the Porsche example above shows that you don’t necessarily need any previous information about somebody to personally market to them.
A lawn mower in the United States also proved this to be the case, when he measured peoples yards on Google maps and posted them an exact quote based on the measurements of their yard.
If you can’t think of any good ways to be personal with new prospects, save it for people that you already know. Anybody that you have spoken to, have subscribed to your email list or are a previous customer.
There are multiple ways that you can implement a personalised marketing campaign. All will require the following -
Creativity – You will need to be creative in what you do. Remember you are engaging directly with someone so don’t be plain and boring.
Perseverance – Personalised marketing may not cost extra money but it will create extra work. If you are prepared to roll up your sleeves and put in a bit extra effort, the rewards will be well worth it.
Responsiveness – There is no point going to all the effort of personally advertising to someone, if when they reply you don’t respond correctly. When they reply by email or call you, you should know exactly who they are and you need to be able to continue the conversation that your advertising has started for you.
To complement this strategy you should add a personal touch to as many areas of your business as you can. Record phone numbers so when someone calls you, you can answer using their name. Use the customer’s name when you send them an invoice or any reminders that you send.
Doing this will reinforce that you know who they are, and they will feel welcome and wanted.
Should you Personalise Deals or Sales?
Using personalised marketing to offer more products to people can be very effective. Amazon do this very well by using the information of the books you have purchased, by suggesting other books that are very similar or that you may like.
Personalising a deal doesn’t always work though. Itamar Simonson’s (marketing professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business) research shows that consumers are sceptical and less likely to respond to special deals that are ‘especially for you’.
Consumers are likely to think that if a company has tailored a deal ‘just for them’, that the company will take advantage of the knowledge that the consumer will be interested in a particular product so will have worked that into the price.
Consumers are far more likely to respond to incidental deals – deals that are shown to a consumer based on their interests but aren’t ‘just for you’ – or suggestions like ‘ what others have also bought’ based off previous purchases, similar to amazons model.
So although it is great to use personalised marketing to connect with consumers, offering someone a personalised deal ‘just for them’ may not be as well received.
Personalised Marketing Online
Many of our dealings with consumers these days are online, so people are already removed from having personal dealings or relationships, compared to a brick and mortar business where customers are actually in the store.
By becoming more personal online, it brings back the feeling that you are speaking directly to the consumer as if you were having a proper conversation.
To do this effectively you gradually need to find out as much information as possible about the consumer. You should already have multiple contact points online and you should endeavour to find out something new every time you deal with people.
Social media is a great platform to find out information. Interacting with consumers on social media will not only tell you loads of information about a person, you will be able to interact and they can personally tell you what they are interested in.
Email marketing is pretty simple and one of the easiest forms of personalised marketing. When people have opted in to your list, you can send personalised emails to people based on information that will interest them, leading to future sales.
Humans are emotional creatures and buy with their emotions, so speaking directly to your consumer through personalised marketing will let them connect with you on an emotional level and will help your conversion rate.