How Data Is Making Mass Marketing Personal

Sian Taylor our consultant managing the role
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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Six months ago, many businesses had big plans for the new year, and the new decade. Little did we know the year had big plans of its own. So, how can businesses put their best foot forward now? Web Analytics. Understanding your Web Analytics helps you understand your customers. And, as everything stays online for the foreseeable future, you’ll be better placed to understand what demographics and desires drove the customer to your site, how you and your business can improve, and you can ultimately grow your business. So, how can Web Analytics help you? Understand Where Your Customers Come From Enhance Their Experience. Consider how your visitors come to your site – phone, tablet, laptop – and how you can optimise your site to best suit these devices. When you understand their demographic – age, gender, interest, location – you can use this information to enhance their experience through your customer-driven business decisions.  Know What Your Best Content Is and How it Draws Visitors to Your Site Visitors, views, page actions, and more all tell your business how your site is performing and what people like see and read. For example, if you have a ‘best day’ or ‘most read’ tag, find out what it was people identified with, and do more of it. Keep things fresh. Curate Your Content with SEO in Mind When you know your visitors, you can use search engine optimisation (SEO) to gain better visibility, rank higher on search engines, create content focused on what customers want to know based on their demographics and interests. Track and Analyse Your Metrics Align Analytics with Your Business Strategy  By aligning your data, analytics, and business strategies, you’ll have a clear view of your mission, your business objectives and goals, and data-driven solutions to inform your business strategies. Trust Your Team to Make Informed Decisions from the Frontlines Standardise Processes and Tools Explain Clearly to Eliminate Roadblocks to Change  As businesses return to a new normal and begin to rebuild, leaders will want to reassess business models. Though ways of doing business are new for everyone, many consumers say they’ll continue to use digital channels into the future. Make AI and Web Analytics Resources a Priority Look For and Hire Talent from Unexpected Places This has been a time to reassess change in not only business practices, but careers. Distance and remote learning have provided opportunities for those interested in pursuing new paths to upskill themselves for future jobs. Or if you see a professional in your business with potential, this is also an ideal time to reskill those workers ready for a change. Offer training, classes, and more to help drive interest. Build Your Data Strategy More Aggressively Identify risk through an audit of your existing models at the operational, risk, and financial areas and keep a close eye using model-validation. Having this information can help your business to better inform your decisions and reassess your business practices from just a few years ago. Don’t get caught up in one form or another of Data. Be sure to include both external and internal Data in your audit. Having this information can help you decide which Data should be cleansed, what information should inform improvements, and how standardisation can help ensure your Web Analytics metrics keep your business running for the future. From stakeholders to business leaders to employees on the frontlines, everyone is learning at a rapid rate. Ensuring everyone is on the same page with an eye to processes and standardisation can help to position your business for scalability.  Much has changed from January to June, but if you’re ready for the new normal, we may have a role for you. If you’re interested in Big Data & Analytics or other Data professional opportunities, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.  

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We recently spoke to Catherine Allan, an Associate Director of CRM at Babylon health, a Digital healthcare service with a mission to put accessible and affordable health service into the hands of everyone.  After starting her career in journalism, Allan moved into Marketing, a seemingly natural transition given her copywriting experience. Given the transformation in technology and the use of Data within Marketing, she has seen the significant impact that it has had within the space.  Reflecting on what attracted her into CRM Marketing in the first place, she explains, “It’s that ability to really get to know the audience, what they look like. You have a very defined group of people that you can look at exactly how they are responding – you can get to know their likes, dislikes and respond to them in ways that you can engage them more. You can keep them working with or using your product or organisation”.  Initially working for Ten Lifestyle Group, her clients varied from travel businesses to large financial brands. Like many at the time, they had their traditional methods but, as would soon become a trend within the industry, they started to change things up. Allan expands, “We started experimenting with CRM with the members of our concierge to see if we could. How much better would those people respond to tailored communication over those who received a newsletter of generic stuff?”. Enter the use of Data to tailor CRM offerings. Their first application was to their travel clients, “If we knew someone had a skiing holiday versus a holiday in September one year, we would follow up the following year. Isn’t it time to pick a holiday?”. It seems natural now, but it signified that shift from the mass-communication to segmented customer profiles.  As Marketing teams became more Data-driven, however, customers had to get used to that change of communication. Allan remembers the shift well, “When I first started in CRM, it wasn’t personalised at all but I started to see that people got more used to you knowing their Data and using it. It became less freaky to show that you knew something about them. At the beginning, we were having to be careful about how much we evidenced that we knew, you couldn’t really say I know you’ve had a Ski Holiday. But over the course of the years people have started to expect that, almost like it would be weird if marketeers didn’t know that. The culture towards that use of Data and personalisation has changed”.   However, she explains, there is a limit, “With what people are expecting from your CRM, there is a scaling to how you present stuff. You don’t want to be creepy, you don’t want to overstep it by knowing too much”.  Now, moving into the health-tech space at Babylon, her work revolves around the products that they have on the market. Everything from applications that allow you to log your mood and sync your wearable tech, through to a health check function where you’re given a digital twin of your body. The use of Data within these products is, of course, on another level. The products produce Data-driven recommendations that are very specific to each users. She explains, “obviously in the Marketing team we don’t have access to people’s health records or any health information which they input into the app. So it’s about finding the right cadence to actually engage people with the product, as well as personalising using the Data we can see, such as demographics. Men and women have different health concerns and they differ for younger and older age groups.” Moving into the health space has opened up a different way of engaging with customers. Allan and her team were able to use their Data and produce newsletters that actually engaged their audience on a wider basis. She expands, “We found great success in sending regular newsletters just about health in general, people love to know how they compare to other people and they also want to know to be empowered to manage their own health”.  Naturally, a company like Babylon feel the pressures of a global pandemic in what their customers expect from them to say and do. This is exactly what Allan’s team are now focused on. “When the pandemic came to the UK, as a healthcare company the first thought for the Marketing team was how can we support our members? What can we offer which is unique to Babylon which will add value. The answer we came to was offering information, guides and videos verified by doctors to counteract all those false stories out there about COVID-19”.  Despite the technology to innovate, with things like interactive emails and unique content, there was still a need to strip things back. As Allan explains, “people are anxious, they are worried, they just want the right information, you’ve already got their attention”.  Her team was responsible for launching this new product to members and developing lifestyle communications, whilst also keeping the members engaged and updated. Naturally, the communication during the pandemic shifted, “We upped our newsletter frequency from twice a month to twice a week for the first three weeks of lockdown, then down to once a week, a cadence which we are still maintaining with no drop off in interest” What were the results of these changes? “Our open rates went up, our click through rates went up and our unsubscribes reduced, although they were very low to start with) We reduced sends to once a week when we felt that there was less to say, which I think was better than continuing to send more and becoming boring. Our results over the last 6 weeks have been off the charts averaging a 34% open rate across the whole base of subscribers vs the 24% we were averaging before.”  It’s clear that regardless of industry, from lifestyle to healthcare, the world of CRM has progressed. The information that we gather on customers is evolving, as is the way that we can speak to those customers too. One thing is clear however, from Allan’s experience, especially in the current circumstances, nothing takes away from a clear message.  If you’re looking for your next CRM role or to build out your team, Harnham may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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