Our mission at Noble Five is to help our customers realize the full potential of modern marketing. We often provide consulting services to leading brands at the intersection of data and digital media and work often includes strategies and projects on the topic of digital personalisation.
It’s a big topic that is constantly evolving. This article is the Second in a series where I explore the future of digital personalisation for marketers. We started by looking at the alternative – mass marketing. This article is going to focus on the foundation of great personalisation – customer understanding.
The foundation of personalisation
Customer understanding is the foundation of personalisation. Without an understanding of the customer there can be no personalisation.
Beyond the persona model
In the mass marketing world, there exists a concept known as personas.
Personas are facsimiles of people like:
Name: Bob the Sportsman
Defining persona models is based on research, both qualitative and quantitative. This research ensures that by targeting your personas you are targeting the right people in the real world.
Persona-based research is often derived from sampling. Even individual techniques; such as post-purchase surveys and voucher offers for participants are skewed. Market research agencies refer to a sample size, typically more than (n=25) participants in order to ensure the research is statistically significant. But even with a much broader cohort than 25, the fact remains that personas are based on a sample population, using dubious data quality, and that the models are based on inference (and quite often guesswork).
Personals can work well when reducing mass messaging to a smaller but still broadly defined group. This is typical with mass reach large consumer brand campaigns. However, as campaign granularity tightens the shortcomings of data accuracy become more pronounced. As we will see later in the series, the good news is that with the proper methodologies and technologies, your customer understanding can tighten from broad persona group to actual people.
You already do it (Kinda)
When you run a social campaign you aren’t targeting “Bob the sportsman” you are targeting “Males over 50, without children with a university education” and based on your research you may also target people who have an interest in professional sport.
How are you able to target this interest group?
Because social media companies understand their customers.
Why do you target this interest group?
Because you know it is a more efficient way to utilize your marketing spend.
If you can understand your customers in the same way as social media companies understand their customers then you’re in a position to make your marketing communications much more efficient.
Use what you know
Just as understanding your family’s food preferences will make your dinner more successful, understanding your customers will make your messaging more successful. This is not revolutionary thinking.
What is revolutionary are the opportunities available to modern marketers to understand our customers. From powerful first party data to astute digital media platforms and all the way into an increasingly easy ability to ask you customers directly. Modern marketers have the ability to really know and understand their customer base.
It’s not enough to just know the customer though, you have to act! The most important thing to remember when acting on customer understanding is to make the messaging and channel delivery relevant!
The subject of our next article in the series focuses on Contextual Relevance. Commonly known as “The right message, to the right person, at the right time.”
(This article is part of a series on personalisation – click here to read part 1 )