April 19, 2017

Let's get personal - does your brand truly need 1:1 marketing?

The recent ADMA Data Day saw one phrase repeated above all else; 1:1 marketing. Some questioned its necessity, whilst others trumpeted its inevitability; a Minority Report-esque future where each piece of advertising you interact with is specifically tailored to you.
The argument for 1:1 personalisation of all communications centres around creating increasingly relevant communications for your audience - in general the more relevant your offering and messaging, the more likely a user is to engage with it. Hence (in general) the more you personalise, the more incremental revenue you generate.
Let's ignore, for a moment, the fact that personalisation can in fact turn some users off through the 'creep factor' (reference 1), and focus instead on the incremental investment required to generate additional personalisation as you move towards 1:1 communication. The closer you get to 1:1 the more each additional 'element' of personalisation costs. Some general examples of how increased personalisation can increase your incremental costs:

  • Media purchasing - increasingly niche audiences demand a higher CPM
  • Data sourcing, matching and hygiene - the more data you require to use, the more it will cost
  • Creative production - more personalisation requires a greater number of creative variations, which will cost more, even if dynamically generated

So the question at hand; does your brand need 1:1 marketing? It all ties back to your brand's ability to fulfill the promise of a 1:1 experience with your customer by delivering the range and choice necessary. Coles Supermarkets, through a combination of its Flybuys loyalty program, transactional data and third party data, has the opportunity to create single user views allowing it to create 1:1 communication, but then the supermarket chain also has the ability to deliver on this promise of range and choice, and hence have a lot to gain from 1:1 marketing.
FMCG brands are prime examples of brands that do not necessarily have the range and choice to demand 1:1 marketing. Justin De Graaf, Coca Cola's global Director of Data Strategy and Precision Marketing, spoke about Coca Cola's emphasis on the 'brilliant basics', rather than 1:1 marketing. Coca Cola do not (yet) see the need for 1:1 marketing as they don't have the range and choice necessary to deliver on this promise.
Do you think Trump won the election from 1:1 personalised marketing? In truth, they barely got to that point (as they really only had 5 months to properly operate the campaign), nor did they see the need for 1:1 marketing as such. Matthew Oczkowski, Data Team Leader of Trump's election campaign and Head of Product at Cambridge Analytica, spoke of how Cambridge Analytica saw the success they needed through purely focusing on getting basic demographic and psychographic segmentation correct using the valuable data sources at their disposal, rather than 1:1 personalisation.
So when thinking about 1:1 marketing you should ask yourself; if your offering cannot be individually personalised, is it necessary that your marketing is?