With nearly 4.5 Billion active internet users consuming content at a rate never known to humanity, brands & platforms are all fighting for the same thing, a prime spot on the expensive 5.5 inch real-estate space carried around by consumers in their pockets. The growing volume of advertisers, with increased spends on the multitude avenues that are now available to reach their consumers, are all vying for the same goal. The goal to achieve the holy grail of marketing which is reaching the right audience, at the right time, on the right platform with the right message. With the increase in advertising clutter with multiple pop-ups, push-based messaging and tonnes of banner ads that follow you around the internet, consumers are increasingly finding the need to de-clutter their feeds and inboxes. The growing pressure on marketers now is to remain relevant to their audience amidst a highly cluttered environment. Thus begins the age of customer experience!
Today’s audiences expect more from brands than ever before — from tailor-made content to customised solutions for customer service. If, as a marketeer, you’re not already carefully segmenting your audience, then now is the time to rethink your user personas. With growing volumes of user data being available to the Googles & Facebooks of the world coupled by cheap compute enabling the ease of crunching those user profiles to better segment real audience buckets; one would think that reaching your audience at a low cost is a relatively simplified process as compared to the traditional methods of carpet bombing on television and other old media vehicles. Wishful thinking I’d say.
In recent years, online advertising has hit something of a wall. Clients are now fed up of advertising houses trying to shove down vanilla modes of engaging with audiences under the guise of increased effectiveness which merely appears as a re-packaging those same digital impact properties like masthead buys on premium networks. The dated spray-and-pray tactics on digital, coupled by the rise of ad blockers, VPNs and now, the “right to be forgotten” – all thanks to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that has brought consumer privacy to the forefront of discussions even at large forums like Cannes, hasn’t really made life any simpler.
So what must advertisers really do to stay relevant?
Well…make it personal!
The goal of personalization remains to truly engage with consumers or prospects by communicating with each as an individual.
Agreed – it is indeed a fine line; but whatever the fears articulated around privacy, it is an undeniable fact that consumers are open to personalised marketing. A study conducted by Adobe found that 78 per cent of the surveyed audience claims to “Like It”; which gels well with a McKinsey finding that personalization can deliver anywhere between 5x and 8x the ROI and boost sales by 15 per cent.
So who’s really doing this?
Beneath the fluff of glossy presentations made by agencies and publishers to showcase any topical “Buzz Word” in an effort to view clients to partner with them, very few can actually claim to have successfully deployed sophisticated systems that actually use complex algorithms on owned data sources to deliver the right messaging at an effective ROI.
While data is indeed the new oil in the digital world, how relevant your data sets are, and how “activatable” they can be is a struggle that many face. Very few players out there can actually claim to having delivered high touch consumer experiences and “Personalisation at Scale” still remains the Promise Land.
So be relevant!
All is not lost. In fact we are in much better times now than ever before. Fine-tuning your messaging is as old as commerce itself. We simply now have the capabilities of delivering this at a mass scale. There is however, a need for a smarter and softer approach to avoid the risk of being forgotten. Ad-blockers are just one aspect of how consumers hold all the cards now. But they surely will still tolerate advertisers in their personal feeds, as long as they see something of themselves looking back.