How Technology Is Killing Mass Marketing (And What You Can Do About It)
Thanks to recent advances in the digital landscape, it’s now much easier for marketers to connect with large, disparate audiences of the kind that were previously only really accessible through expensive print and broadcast media.
However, the old ideas of ‘batch-and-blast’ marketing associated with these more traditional formats can’t simply be transferred across to digital channels. In fact, the entire idea of ‘mass marketing’ is in its death throes, if leading commentators such as Seth Godin, Econsultancy and Forbes Magazine are to be believed. Audience expectations have grown in line with digital capabilities, and as a result they now expect - and demand - experiences that are relevant, valuable and, importantly, personal.
So, how can you ensure your marketing strategy remains relevant as we shift away from mass marketing, and towards delivering individualised experiences to the masses? In this article I’ll cover some of the key ways in which you can start to personalise your content and services, looking at a range of explicit, implicit and contextual information that captured about your users.
Contextual data – devices
I’m sure you won’t have failed to notice that there’s a greater volume and variety of connected devices on the market than ever before - and it’s a pretty safe bet that this trend is only going to continue.
It’s no longer enough, therefore, to assume that your users are interacting with your brand via the standard desktop, or even a standard mobile device (think of the infamous internet-enabled fridge, for example). Luckily though there are analytics tools out there that will tell you exactly what kinds of devices are being used to access your services, enabling you to craft your experience with consideration for any particular requirements, constraints and behaviours associated with these devices.
This kind of personalisation can be taken even further, too, if you invest in a content delivery platform able to detect what kind of device is being used in each individual case, and automatically deliver an optimised experience - allowing you to send visitors to a dedicated mobile site, for example, or a responsive framework that adapts to meet the needs of a wide range of common breakpoints.
Explicit data - user preferences
Of course, the most reliable way to ensure you possess accurate, relevant information about your users is to actually ask them for it. And while this may sound a bit forward, there are a number of ways to capture the details you need without compromising the experience you deliver. Subscription services and gated content, for example, provide valuable information in exchange for user data, while dedicated login areas for members and similar by their very nature require explicit details, in order to tailor the experience as well as ensure privacy and security.
There’s really no limit to the kind of information you can gather through this approach, but some of the most commonly-asked questions focus on demographic profiling. Knowing a user’s location, for example, will not only enable you to ensure your content reflects local language customs, currencies and regulatory standards, but also allows you to present more relevant services and offers; helping increase both conversion rate and user satisfaction.
Asking a user about their specific preferences is another great way to gather information that can be used to personalise the experience - after all, it’s natural that people are more likely to engage with content they’re already interested in!
Implicit data - user history
Today’s typical user journey isn’t linear. As a result of the numerous connected devices available to individuals, they’re likely to move across and between different channels and platforms to achieve a single goal. Knowing a user’s previous interactions with your brand, then, is incredibly useful in helping you tailor this journey to enable them to complete their goals as effectively and efficiently as possible.
This kind of information can be captured by integrating a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system into your digital platform - joining up all your disparate touchpoints and enabling you to gain an overarching picture of individual user behaviours, journeys and preferences.
Taking this one step further, you could use the information you’ve gathered to match each user to a specific ‘persona’, based on your most common or valuable audience types. This will give you enhanced insight into their likely interests and next steps, enabling you to anticipate the kind of content or services they’ll require and serve this to them in advance. And if you have a sophisticated content delivery platform, this process can even be automated - delivering significant efficiency gains without compromising on impact.
Mass marketing may be dying - but that doesn’t mean your own strategy has to become a victim too. By making sure you deliver experiences that speak to users on an individual level, you can drive increased engagement and satisfaction even as the digital landscape continues to evolve - helping safeguard the long-term success of your business.
Author Profile Lisa Innes is Head of Marketing at Box UK, leading a team of consultants and application developers who specialisein providing solutions for web, mobile and software projects including UX testing and design.