Circle Insights

One size fits none: why the future of effective digital marketing must speak to the individual

Anna Letouze

In a world of multiple channels and differing formats, is it really possible to deliver brand-consistent flawless campaigns whilst communicating on an individual level?

Everyone loves pizza, right? Meet the Taylor family. Three generations of pizza-enthusiasts. Louisa is 15, obsessed with manga, baking, and social media. Her mum, Ellen, 44, loves running, and uses apps to manage her busy life, and her running times. Louisa’s granddad Mick, 71, is never happier than when fishing, and likes to catch up with his pals via email or text. As self-confessed pizza fanatics, loyal to their number one brand, they all want to know when the latest pizza has landed, or about a great deal on their go-to favourite. But should their beloved brand communicate this information in the same way, on the same channel? In short, no. Because which channel could possibly reach them all? And even if there was a single, magic channel, what single message would get them all interested?

Making sure matching luggage doesn’t become lost luggage

The beauty of the digital marketing evolution is that products or services with mass appeal can now speak to the masses, individually. Meeting them where they are, and talking their language, so to speak. It’s now eminently possible to make the biggest splash with each interaction by delivering the right message, on the right channel, at the right time.

Whilst it’s crucial to have brand consistency and content to be optimised across channels, we mustn’t forget the nuance that ensures your communication isn’t just a shot in the dark. Receiving generic content that doesn’t fit with your own lived experience or lifestyle is going to be a miss every time. If we start to shift the focus to making an emotional connection, we begin to reframe the expectation that communications can be as unique as the individual receiving them.

To hit the mark requires a level of understanding. You’ve got to know who you’re talking to, you’ve got to appreciate their motivations, and understand the channels you’re working with, to make the message work. Fed by data-led customer insight, a comprehension of your audience enables dynamic content to work at its hardest and humanise the communication. Personalisation can permeate far beyond their name, it can be their latest purchase, their location, even the weather at their location. Analysis of consumer behaviour not only leads to the most appropriate channel, but also aids an understanding of the most effective incentives, that inform the tone and language that will trigger the desired emotion and ultimately create a connection.

Making the connection, one slice at a time

The explosion of digital data makes a connection with customers, in theory, more possible than ever, but is dependent on having the right approach and using tools that are up to the job. Using a data platform such as Tealium to blend data sources, can layer an understanding of each customer. As a result, the creative can be tailored using platforms such as Moveable Ink, to leverage messaging for maximum impact. Harnessing the power of a cross-channel solution such as Braze, will ensure each individual receives a compelling, real-time, personalised experience on each channel.

So, what does an individualised approach look like in practice? Let’s take the example of Louisa’s family and a brand-new meal deal. Reaching Louisa on Snapchat, using localised references to create resonance, and quirky, interactive content that compels her to share, helping get the word out that it’s that time of the week. For Ellen, a rich push notification encouraging her to ditch cooking in favour of a takeaway is positioned as the solution she needs after a busy day. And for Mick, a text to remind him of the tasty pizza he had last week and nudging him to share another with a friend, could be enough to down his fishing rod and place an order.

Of course, the family are most likely to engage with the brand over several channels, necessitating a seamless omnichannel experience. The building of intelligent data profiles through CACI’s consumer segmentation tool, Acorn, can make it easy to recognise your customers, so they can feel seen, making it more about the customer than about the channel.

What can we ‘takeaway’ from the example of the Taylors? As we become ever more saturated in media and our methods of communication diversify, the need for consumers to feel they are the only person in the room becomes ever more pronounced. Moreover, with the right tools and understanding, it is infinitely possible.

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Anna Letouze