Thursday, 21 July 2011

Personalisation for the Connected Consumer



Today’s world is increasingly being inhabited with Connected Consumers. These consumers use multiple channels, touch-points and devices to communicate with brands and with each other at warp speed, 24/7. The number of marketing messages that consumers see is often quoted in the thousands. Whatever the number, it’s a lot!

For brands, providing communications that quickly create engagement with these consumers requires that message to resonate and so personalisation is a key plank of any organisation’s eCRM Strategy.

I often have a quote in my presentations about lazy marketers creating email newsletters. Now of course, having offended a large proportion of the audience, I explain later on by actually talking about lazy marketers creating one size fits all email newsletters. This is based on the principle that if I put enough ‘stuff’ in front of you, something will take your fancy. Today’s consumer doesn’t have the time or patience to trawl through a mass of content to find something they need

Now of course we mustn’t mistake personalisation for salutation. ‘Dear Gianfranco’ doesn’t really cut the mustard in terms of personalisation these days. Even Cicero, the Roman philosopher, a few thousand years ago talked about remembering and using someone’s name to have a successful conversation with them. We need more than that if we are to persuade our audience to takes us along with them on their journey

My old Greek friend Aristotle ( don’t worry, there are no more philosophers in this piece) talks about Pathos, Ethos and Logos in the art of persuasion. In plain English that roughly equates to Emotion, Credibility and Logic.

The emotion (Pathos) of a brand can open up an email inbox for example but only positive and relevant experiences will keep it open. And I believe that Credibility and Logic have the use of data at the heart.

In today’s data rich marketing world, logic in the form of personalisation in eCRM can be based on 3 key information areas

Profile – What I’ve told a brand about myself in terms of age, sex and interests
Behaviour – What a brand can infer are my likes, interests from my interaction with them
Transactional – What do my purchases both on and offline tell you about my current and future needs?

Used correctly, combining these starts to create relevance and context to our messages in particular if we can overlay location as part of all this as well an understanding of what device and or app they are reading the message on. As a result, the messages and the brand gain credibility

But of course this new eCRM only works when the context and relevance that you are engaging with me with has my Permission. But it also stops working if you abuse my Privacy by ignoring the Permission I have given you. That permission is about engaging me on particular topics, at certain times using my preferred media.  Nothing more.

Of course before you can convince an audience, using Aristotle’s Ethos, they have to accept you as being credible. And credibility also has Trust as a cornerstone.

As a consumer I want the recommendations and relevancy that personalisation brings, but don’t want you to abuse that trust.

And if you do, as a connected consumer in today’s world using connected networks, your lack of ethos will be quickly shared.

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