Saturday, 9 June 2012

Creating Personal Experiences

As we are all individuals it is understandable that our reactions to any interaction with a brand is dependent on how well they have understood our wants and needs.

This was brought to the fore recently with me when I accompanied my fiancée to the florist to discuss the flowers for our up coming wedding*. Obviously an important day which is highly personal and has to be right first hopefully it will be the only time.

The florist started off by asking key questions around the location of the ceremony and Wedding Breakfast and of course when the happy day was going to take place. In marketing terms she was establishing important elements in the area of Environment and Season, so beginning to create a picture of the context in which the flower arrangements needed to be suitable for.
She gently prompted my fiancée (not me) as to what her favourite flowers were and how many people would need special flowers such as bridesmaids, flower girls, mothers, fathers, groom and ushers. Again there was an understanding of the decision maker in that area.

There was also a gentle discussion around budgets. At which point the focus slightly moved towards me - am pretty sure it was only out of politeness really as I don't think I had much influence

Now of course I sat there taking a genuine interest in the discussion and perhaps taking slight offence when my suggestion that the flowers should be white yellow and blue to signify my allegiance to my football team.
And then it dawned on me how the process reminded me to some degree of how we create email communications for our clients customers.

The 3 core elements of any message from a brand include
1                 what we know about the customer
2                 some understanding of the context into which the communication will arrive – so areas around environmental factors and seasonality
3                 a reflection of the commercial priorities for the brand

And as I write these I realise that I have actually written them in the order of importance – just by chance

At the heart of the email experience is the customer and context. Of course we don’t usually have the luxury of being able to sit down with the customer and ask them what they want and when but in the digital world we can use the customers digital  body language to get closer to that understanding.

In our world we can use a mix of behavioural, transactional and profile information ( customer preference centre, opens, clicks, link analysis, web behaviour, social behaviour etc) to get that picture of what the customer wants and might want at that moment in time

And context is increasingly important these days. Context is a complicated mix of

where in the lifecycle the customer is
 how close to an individual purchase they are
 where they are physically
on what device they may be reading the email

All of this information is available either explicitly or implicitly through behavioural profiling

It's not always easy, but the rewards can be bountiful

(* Actually this piece was written before I got married and left in draft somewhere for 6 months.)

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