Marketing is in an interesting place right now. As a discipline, marketing has come so far, but there is still a long way to go. The term that I think describes this state best is the “uncanny valley.”
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics which holds that when a robot appears lifelike, but not exactly human, it causes a response of unease and discomfort among some observers. Although it may have some human qualities, without the personality, context, and subtleties that make for a real human interaction, the exchange rings false.
Some marketing messages feel the same way, like being retargeted by a banner ad across several websites. Marketing has become so much more personalized in recent years, which is what consumers want and respond to, but most companies are still falling short and consumers can tell. You can target your audience by segment or demographic, but without personalization at an individual scale, these interactions feel hollow instead of human.
True personalization requires tools that give marketers the ability to understand a consumer’s true affinity, what they really like, how they really shop, and how they really want to be marketed to. Tools like Kahuna can help you understand a customer’s story, their real story, to deliver true affinity-based marketing at scale.
What goes into marketing at this level? Here are three specific aspects you need:
Next Level Segmentation
Just counting raw actions your customers take is no longer enough to segment your audience. You need to understands their actual preferences so you can personalize all your messaging based on what actually moves and motivates customers on an individual level. Traditional segmentation may look like the following:
But it’s not enough to just know that your customer bought pants. You need to know that they bought levi’s jeans in boot cut style. Without that information, you may accidentally be targeting a rodeo cowboy when khakis go on sale. While this would be an honest mistake given the information you have, you can see how this message would be irrelevant to your customer and may annoy them enough to turn of notifications or uninstall the app. A better example would be:
You need tools that deliver insight into quantifiable, time-bound behavior patterns which allows marketers to understand what motivates each customer to act.
Understand Nuances in Behavior
As human beings, we’re constantly changing and evolving. This means marketers often have a hard time understanding or adapting to changes in behavior. Personalization can’t be based on a consumer’s entire history all the time. You need to know what matters to them in the right context. Traditional messaging may look like the following:
However, marketers must be able to use both total historical behavior patterns or time-bound snapshots (e.g., last 2 days, last 3 months) to create granular customer segments rooted in customer affinity and preference. While a reader may traditionally read scientific articles, they may have developed a newer interest in politics and be far more interested in reading about the presidential election.
You need tools that go beyond that standard static preferential data and look at behavioral changes over time.
Deliver True Value
Finally, marketers must be able to customize message content based on what customers actually like, not just what they “liked” most recently. Deep customer understanding and enhanced segmentation enables a new caliber of authentic communication between you and your customers.
The right marketing tools enable marketers to tailor every communication based on customers’ true affinity, revealed through their cross-channel behavioral patterns, ensuring every push, in-app or email message is relevant, timely, and personalized.
With tools like Kahuna, you can deliver personalization that crosses over the “uncanny valley” and truly resonates with customers.