The New 4 A’s of Marketing: Personalization


Share on LinkedIn

Mass Marketing is So Over

Moving on to the third new A of marketing, namely, Appropriate. Last week we covered Accountability, including marketing measurement and attribution.

After a couple of posts, you might get the feeling that I’m a Harvard Business Review junkie. I am. So multiple marketing offers for Martha Stewart Living magazine – do you think that would go over well?

OK, back to Appropriate. In a previous post, I referenced an HBR article entitled ”Ultimate Marketing Machine”. This article invoked Share of Experience as the new Share of Wallet. This is very fitting, especially in a world where Chief Customer Experience Officers are proliferating.

But what does this mean? How do you get Share of Experience? Being appropriate to your customer, segment, stage of purchase and channel are all critical pieces to solve the personalization puzzle. And unfortunately, these are moving pieces, which makes it a very complicated puzzle.

Pizza and Personalization

Is the ‘next best offer’ sufficient for personalizing an experience? Probably not. As marketers, we may think of getting to the next revenue-generating conversion, but we need to acknowledge that customers view their interactions with a company as a complete brand experience. This extends beyond purchase and next best offer.

But let’s not boil the ocean. Marketers, you need to take the first step: start by personalizing an OFFER (and we have a personalization engine that does that!). Once you have personalized messages and offers running smoothly, move towards personalization of the EXPERIENCE. This includes a determination of what is appropriate for this individual customer. Some days it MAY be an offer and some days it might not be, it might be a new service or as (eye glasses maker who just sent a bar voucher to someone having a bad day) just did it might be an act of kindness. It might be a new way to wear something a customer already purchased. Think Zappos and Tony Tsieh’s pizza story.

Everyday, my inbox is full of “personalized offers” but some are very clear that the marketers behind a brand don’t really know me. Today (really today) I received an offer from Hilton to check-in online and pick out my room when I get to Seattle tomorrow (awesome! I like quiet rooms far from the elevator) and an offer from a salad company that I LOVE to go to an event they are hosting in a state far away from me (now I feel sad that I cannot go).

Now, I’ll be ‘Captain Obvious’: Technology is technology. Without technology, doing personalized offers at any scale is hard (or impossible). Yet, good technology does not guarantee that you will be Appropriate. A clear understanding of your customer and her (or his) needs is essential to success.

Be Appropriate. Be a Hero.

Ajith Nayar
As a marketer, I've keenly watched the retail and consumer trends for a couple decades. But never has it been more exciting than now. Because everything we used to know about shopping is changing, and fast. As consumers, it's great to be at the center of this technology-led evolution, because it's unfolding in our everyday lives. I'm happy to share my views on related trends and issues. You'll see me writing on the digitally empowered consumer, shopper behavior and marketing, consumerization of retail, internet of things, analytics technologies, cloud computing and digital marketing.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here