How Data Is Making Mass Marketing Personal

Author: Sian Taylor
Posting date: 11/1/2018 9:07 AM
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” – Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

From the very first market stall, sales have always relied on convincing individuals that what you’re selling is meant for them. The ability to connect with a person’s instincts, likes, and dislikes, is one of the key skills of any good salesperson. But as sales have moved from the market to the masses, businesses have needed to be increasingly innovative with the ways they target their specific audiences. To do this, they’ve looked to data.

However, as customers become increasingly sceptical of targeted ads, just presenting your audience with a tailored advert is no longer enough. We’re having to get creative with data.

Speaking to the Masses


One approach brands are utilising to be more creative is, rather than using data to target, they’re using it to inform campaigns for a wide-audience. For example, Spotify’s end of year campaigns use data to recap highlights of the past year. These range from broader data about what music performed well, to data highlighting unusual behaviour from individuals. 

This tongue-in-cheek approach helped reaffirm Spotify’s position as a brand who represent the zeitgeist. Furthermore, it feels personal even though it isn’t specifically targeted. If users identify themselves as part of a group being discussed they can feel as though the ad is personal to them, even if it’s on a billboard in Time’s Square. 

However, there are still some risks to being so transparent with your use of data. Netflix stirred up a minor controversy when using viewing data for a light-hearted tweet. Whilst some saw the funny side, others felt that the post was invasive. Either way, it got people talking and ultimately led to an increase in views of the film they mentioned. 

Using Insights to Incite Change


Whilst some companies, like Spotify, use data to reaffirm their current brand, others utilise it to help them define their position. This doesn’t have to take the form of a radical change. 

Nike’s recent campaign was fronted by a divisive figure within the world of US sports, Colin Kaepernick. Whilst some audiences found the move controversial, Nike’s core audience of under-35s saw this as a principled stand, repositioning one of the world’s biggest companies as a challenger brand. The move paid off and Nike saw their share price rise to an all-time high as a result of the campaign. 

Data also has its place in reshaping an actual product. Take Hinge, a dating app that started life with few differentiators from its competitors. In 2017, they relaunched with a revolutionised app informed entirely from insights from their existing userbase. 

Their data told them that users were “over the game” of swiping and wanted an app that allowed them to make more meaningful connections. Armed with this information, Hinge re-established themselves as an app led by unique, personal insights through a UX and brand overhaul, and are now a major player in the world of online dating.   

Getting Engaged


Data-driven advertising is also an excellent way to engage your audience. For example. Snickers brought their ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign to life in Australia with their ‘Hungerithm’ algorithm. 

The algorithm scanned 14,000 social posts across three sites every day throughout a five-week period, searching for users in a bad mood. If they found a post complaining about a traffic jam or the weather, they’d send a personalised promo code for a discounted Snickers to the ‘Hangry’ user.

Across the campaign over 6,600 coupons were redeemed, and both sales and online engagement dramatically increased. Additionally, by using data that people had publicly posted, rather than their own stored information, Snickers managed to swerve any controversy. 

If you are looking to create personalised ads based upon cookies and profile data, you can engage your audience without appearing too invasive. Animal rescue non-profit, the Amanda Foundation, used data to target groups without appearing too specific. 

Fans of staying in and reading books were shown programmatic banner ads suggesting they adopt a cat, whilst athletic types were presented with active puppies. By loosely targeting demographics they created personal adverts that didn’t feel overly intrusive. 

If you can creatively interpret data to inform targeting strategies, we may have a role for. From Marketing Analyst opportunities to Campaign & CRM jobs, we work with some of the best agencies around.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more. 

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