“Consumers are hugely empowered. There is no room for mediocre” said Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing Officer, at the last European Forbes CMO Summit. “We now have the opportunity to understand people on a one-to-one basis – to get down to that individual engagement.”
Marketer's challenge for 2018 and beyond will be to hyper-personalize customer relationships. Which means, creating relevant interactions to capture customers' attention, evoke an emotional connection and secure their loyalty.
The days of one-size-fits-all targeting and seeing ads for things we’ve already purchased are finally coming to an end, as the power of personalization today gives brands a real opportunity to deliver one-to-one experiences at scale. This requires a data-driven approach and, with the massive amounts of data that brands have access to today, the question is: What's more important? What really matters?
Though we are in the Age of the Customer, most of the knowledge in the science of persuasive communication is primarily focused on the "sender", rather than the "receiver". The profile of the "good seller" has been studied a lot, and so the traits and qualities of successful salespeople. For example, they are achievement-oriented, curious, and conscientious. They have a high self-efficacy, are less gregariousness and show a lack of self-consciousness.
We know much less about the characteristics of the recipient, although the real meaning of a message is what the recipient makes of it. How individuals respond to different types of communications, in fact, is strongly linked to their personality.
Think about how much easier it is for salespeople to be effective with a customer that they know personally, compared with a new customer they have never seen before. Well, this kind of knowledge, previously limited to the offline world, today extends also to the digital world.
Let's see some examples.
Extroversion and Introversion
Extrovert people are outgoing, sociable, optimistic, and talkative, while introverts tend to be reserved, quiet, and independent thinkers.
While extroverts respond more positively to online ads that contain persuasive appeals, so that the communication is more free and easy, with introverts you have to prove credibility, for example using objective indicators of excellence. When dealing with an introvert user, you also have to avoid hype and exaggerated information: just get to the point and use high-content samples.
Open-mindedness and Closed-mindedness
Users of the first type are more open to new information, which they evaluate based on what they see or hear. Simply put, they make up their minds based on what you show them. closed-minded users, on the other hand, tend to be more skeptical and less receptive to new information, that they judge as related to what they already know.
With open-minded users, you should highlight the innovativeness, novelty, and customization features of your product. With closed-minded users, it's better to focus on proven effectiveness, and your message must include demonstrations or getting them to take part in product trials.
Need for Cognition and Need for Affect
Need for cognition reflects the extent to which a person is inclined towards effortful cognitive activities, such as information search processes. Need for affect indicates one's motivation to approach or avoid emotion-inducing situations.
It has been demonstrated that people with a high need for affect and a low need for cognition are more attracted by affective-based messages, such the sensory experience of trying a sample of a pleasant-tasting drink. Conversely, a cognitive-based message such as reading a list of strong and positive attributes about the drink is more powerful among individuals who are high in need for cognition and low in need for affect.
Today, with the explosion of customer data that Brands can access from all digital and physical touchpoints, moving from complexity to action requires giving a new meaning to existing data and choosing those that provide the most useful insights.
To win this challenge, Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning enables marketers to understand their customers better by overcoming obvious factors such as demographics and purchase history and getting psychographic elements from web usage patterns and social profiles. This allows to tailor persuasive appeals and provide targeted recommendations based on users' interests, attitudes, lifestyle, and personality.
How good sellers do when they are familiar with a customer, now Brands have the opportunity to offer hyper-personalized customer engagements and experiences than ever before.
What are the key psychographics to understand your customers better? How would you use them to enhance your personalization strategy?