Sunday, January 27, 2008

KYC III – are companies with split personalities the future of marketing?

I believe that the next wave of personalised marketing is coming, where the main ingredient, put simply is KYC [Know Your Client] and the consistency of the packaging really doesn’t matter as long as you package each message in the right way for the individual it is being targeted at.

Think of advertising sms’s – what an infringement of personal space! I dislike them immensely, not necessarily for the fact that they’re useless [most are, but some aren’t], but because I know that about 100,000 other people probably received the same sms at the same time, and that the sender doesn’t care whether I got the message or not, they just care whether 100,001 people got the message or not – and they play the odds from there. Imagine a company sending you an sms in your own spoken language, addressed to you and in a tone and pitch that communicates to you, just like your best friend would.

Seth Godin said this in his blog recently – “The more people you reach the more likely it is you’re reaching the wrong people”, and this in itself is very true. Without detracting from this statement, I would add that the more people you communicate with, the more difficult [and important] it becomes to communicate with them personally.

I believe that companies need different ways to speak to different types of customers. And for some companies, this might mean having three or four different marketing campaigns running at the same time. They would need to be carefully targeted, being sure not to overlap them and dilute the impact [as well as confuse the customers]. Let me put it this way - you can speak to a white teenager, an asian 20-something, a black middle-class manager and a retired foreign professional at the same time about the same thing [assuming they would all utilise your product/service/solution]. But you can’t speak to them the same way.

You might say that this will become too complex and expensive, and I would agree with you if we approach it in a traditional way. That’s why we need to look at this problem in new, different ways… it will happen, of that I’m sure. And the prize will go to those who solve the problem soonest, because they will be able to communicate far more effectively to a much larger audience than you or I can imagine.

You’ll also increasingly find companies that totally revolutionise their entire beings, having several different names, logos and ways of communicating just to show their customers that they do understand them and they do care. Sounds a bit crazy, but some car manufacturers have already done this to a certain degree [think Toyota – Lexus], as have some retailers [Pick n Pay – Boardmans] and product manufacturers .

The old saying goes “It doesn’t matter what you say, but how you say it”. I disagree with the first bit. There is great value to be obtained from finding the right way to say the right thing to the right person, and all three of these are key, not just how you say it.

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