Personalized Marketing For Enhancing User Experience

Personalized Marketing For Enhancing User Experience

Have you ever created something?

When you spend your time, energy or other resources creating anything, you naturally gain a sense of ownership towards it.

And what you own must be good right?

That’s the psychology of Personalized Marketing behind Customer Co-Creation and User Generated Content which brands have been implementing lately.

 

GoPro is an excellent example of Personalized Marketing through User Generated Content.

It’s an American company which develops and sells high definition video cameras. These cameras are compact, durable, relatively cheap and are often used in extreme sports like mountain biking, wind surfing and skydiving.

The brand generates and promotes content by holding contests in which customers submit photos or videos of adventures taken by their GoPro cameras.

Imagine if your customers were to become die hard fans of your brand. GoPro’s customers are so engaged and loyal to the brand that you’re bound to be envious of their work.

It’s only because they understand the psychology behind Personalized Marketing.

Key takeaway from this case is to let your customers contribute in the creation of content along the way.

These contributions are creative in nature and the user adds something new to what’s been done before.

Innovation happens everywhere, but there is simply more elsewhere than here.

It’s one of my favorite quotes from the book “Innovation Happens Elsewhere” by Ron Goldman and Richard Gabriel.

If you think about it then it’s not limited to innovation but implies to almost anything – problems, happiness, sleeping, thinking. There’s simply more activity happening elsewhere than here.

Similarly there are more resources for innovation outside the firm than inside the firm. If you relate this to Customer Co-Creation, this is really the core idea. The simple fact that customers can actually help in enhancing product development activities.

Local Motors is my favorite example in this form of Personalized Marketing strategy.

 

Personalized Marketing

Let me begin by providing a bit of an overview to Local Motors which is comparatively a new vehicle manufacturer.

It’s an American startup, founded in 2007 by Jay Rogers. Local Motors is currently selling a variety of motorized vehicles, most notably its car “The Rally Fighter.”

It is an unusual looking car which has both normal and off-road driving capabilities. The Rally Fighter costs around $100,000 which is quite expensive.

But the most noteworthy fact about this car is that it was created using the principles of Customer Co-Creation.

The buyers play an active role in actually building their own Rally Fighter.

Another exceptional thing about the car is that it was designed and manufactured in less than two years which is much faster than the typical automobile industry standard.

This shows us that traditional innovation practices are less than ideal, as they restrict the flow of ideas from those outside the firm.

So in my view if you can co-create a car you can co-create just about anything.

Marketers who are still in love with mass media, it’s time to move on!

Purchasing advertising space and expecting a profitable return is an artifact of ancient marketing.

The fact is – mass marketing is out the window, while personalized ways to communicate with customers are in through the doors.

It’s not business as usual – it’s high time to get personal!

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Red Bull: The Poster Child of Content Marketing

Red Bull: The Poster Child of Content Marketing

80 mg of caffeine, 100 mg of taurine, 600 mg of glucuronolactone – ah well that’s the content in a Red Bull drink.

First drink was sold in 1987 Austria. After 30 years, 169 countries and more than 60 billion cans, the company is world’s most recognizable and profitable energy drink – with a premium price tag and a not-so-good taste.

Recently every marketing blog and conference seems to mention Red Bull as an example of brilliant marketing strategy – encouraging clients to follow in their footsteps.

Wondering why? Because Red Bull Gives You Wings.

 

But It’s not in the content of their drink. It’s all about their Content Marketing.

Red Bull sends a 40-year-old male in stratosphere – tells him to jump out of a helium balloon from a height of 120,000 ft – free falling at the speed of sound.

As you probably know what they say about going that extra mile. Well Red Bull went 23 extra miles in the vertical direction all for the sake of creating content!

Content provided by Red Bull is thrilling, engaging – tells an incredible story and leaves you wanting for more.

They’re a storytelling brand and own the realm of passion.

Whether it’s about music, gaming or action sports – these areas have cultures, stories and stars. Red Bull is paying a huge amount of respect to these audiences.

The brand is not treating customers like demographics but like the passionate people they are.

Mainstream media wasn’t good enough for filming and photographing these areas, so they took the ownership of it. With Red Bull Media House and Red Bulletin magazine they professionalize in their media operations.

 

If you consider the origin of Red Bulletin, the uncompromising effort of Red Bull in generating quality content is evident.

The brand was sponsoring Formula One racing back in year 2005. They wanted to deliver the results of the event immediately after the race through their printed guides.

They curated information about the drivers and facts about the races, then pre-printed the magazine in bulk ahead of time. They also brought a printing press to the track and as soon as the race was over, they quickly printed the result and distributed it along with the magazines as the attendees were leaving the race.

Red Bull is a publishing empire now which also happens to sell energy drink.

If we can learn something from them – the only way to do content marketing is to be a story.

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Impact of Digital on Marketing and How the Geeks Took Over

Impact of Digital on Marketing and How the Geeks Took Over

Going back twenty years from now we can divide the age of internet into four digital epochs.

Since the purchase of the first banner ad by AT&T on hotwire.com, up until now: the age of unicorns.

Unicorn is a term which describes tech startups with the evaluation of $1 billion.

Neither Google nor Amazon was ever worth $1 billion as a private company but we’re at a point where we have herds of unicorns – startups having the magical $1 billion valuation before going public.

It’s the digital epoch of prosperity.

After tracing the Internet age, it’s interesting to look at marketing over this period of 20 years, especially the year 2005 after the bubble and the burst but before Facebook had taken roots.

Proctor & Gamble came out with a three step marketing model and called it The First Moment of Truth.

This model proposed that the consumer needs some sort of stimulus.

It can either be an ad or something that triggers a need to have a certain product.

Maybe they run out of product, maybe they hear about another through their social network – but the stimulus happens.

Next step involves the first moment of truth where consumers find themselves in the market with a number of different options and they must choose.

According to P&G this is the real battleground where brands have to fight for attention and get themselves noticed over the others.

And the second moment of truth happens after a consumer makes a purchase decision and gets home with the product. Does the product live up to its expectations? This experience is vital, both for the consumer as well as the brand.

This model of marketing was coined in 2005 but the world is not quite the same as it was back then.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

This is right around the time that P&G has released its theory.

It describes the consumer behavior at the installation of Pope Benedict in Rome in St Peter’s Square.

Then eight short years later, the same place in 2013 at the installation of Pope Francis, you can notice the dramatic change in consumer behavior.

All due to the mobile technology which exploded during this time.

Our devices became so much more powerful every single year and got smaller and smaller.

They became a vital part of our lives – forever changing our shopping experience.

It became possible for consumers to gain access to any kind of product information or nearly any person they wanted to connect with.

This is the reason why Google introduced the idea of ZMOT in 2011, The Zero Moment of Truth.

Zero Moment of Truth is the time between stimulus and the first moment of truth when consumers are collecting information about the brands, doing evaluations, checking their social network to see how they feel about certain products.

They are also leaving behind a trail of online data while collecting these inputs.

 

 

The studies conducted by Google in 2011 determined the new buyer’s journey:

  • 50 percent of shoppers used a search engine to research a product or brand.
  • 38 percent comparison shopped online (reviews, prices and so on).
  • 36 percent checked out the brand/manufacturer’s website.
  • 31 percent read online endorsements, reviews or recommendations.

Follow up study of 2014 suggested that approximately one-third of all CPG(Consumer Packaged Goods) searches now originate from smartphones.

When consumers are moving around to different websites and social media channels, it’s an important time to understand them so they can still be moved in their decision.

Consumers are producing and exposing a vast amount of data about themselves.

Not exactly a neat picture though, it’s messy all the way through from receiving a stimulus till the point of purchase.

Eventually more marketers in the meeting rooms started asking the question – what is the data telling us?

This is the moment where the true impact of digital can be observed and digital marketing really kicks in.

 

Facebook’s success as one of the biggest companies in the world is built entirely around the extraction of consumer data.

We gladly offered our information and invested our precious time on it.

Now if I say Facebook knows more about us than our friends and family, it wouldn’t be wrong.

No other platform probably has as much consumer data as Facebook.

They use it to full effect by targeting specific ads at millions of users everyday while offering Facebook Analytics to track consumer behavior on the social network.

Google is yet another giant.

It’s dominating the internet with tools like Google Adwords, Google Analytics and many more – providing marketers the ability to track behavior online and subsequently targeting consumers throughout their journey.

But operating these tools in an efficient manner requires an analyst(geek) who can collect information from this data and draw some sort of conclusions.

The dominant strategic forces within marketing started sharing the power of decision making with geeks.

Characteristics of a geek:

  • A geek is someone who is obsessed with data and excel sheets.
  • Someone who regularly seeks and tries to understand patterns in everything related to consumer behavior, business events and marketing programs.
  • He knows buls*** when he sees one and calls it for what it is.

This is how the geeks took over a field which was traditionally driven by big creative personalities.

Content Marketing: You Learn From The Best

Content Marketing: You Learn From The Best

Content has been ever-present but marketing has been about interruption in recent times. They interrupt you while you’re watching a TV or reading a magazine – and the bane of a good mood, those irrelevant company calls.

At first these desperate attempts were good at gaining attention, but what did the brands do with it once they were successful? It just hung there like the advertisements.

Earlier we had few channels and limited source of information. Now it’s an age where science and art are fused in a single honey: content and internet.

There are billions of people online and numerous sources of information. In a crazy and loud market like this quality is the only thing that can differentiate you.

The veil of illusion has been lifted off and people know when they’re being marketed to. Nobody cares about your product – people are trying to solve their own problems.

This direct situation opens up a new dimension for marketing. You don’t need to get through your customers, they’re already open to you.

But the moment you talk about your brand they’ll shut you out. Like a decent human being, your product has to be about more than just itself.

Trust is earned by sharing stories and our job is to uphold that trust. Your story should hold a promise of something valuable, and you need to deliver on that value.

John Deere's The Furrow

Along with the content – content marketing has also been there forever. The first ads really were the content offering value and solution. At some point we got sidetracked and started to talk about ourselves instead of connecting with customers.

If not the oldest, one of the best examples of content marketing is John Deere’s magazine The Furrow.

John Deere is an American manufacturer of agricultural equipment. Its magazine, The Furrow provides information to farmers on how to turn more profit.

Articles in The Furrow are neutral to the point where you may wonder whether this is really John Deere’s magazine. It recognized the need for customers to have an unbiased source of information. Anything that farmers can use to improve their operations makes it into The Furrow.

If you look at the entire history of the magazine, you’ll not find the words “John Deere” mentioned more than around 20 times and that’s going back about 120 years.

Procter & Gamble are yet another example of brilliant content marketing strategy. Imagine a soap company trying to sell more soap, how’re they going to do it?

They asked questions like ‘who are we targeting?’ Women! ‘What are their problems?’ They’re trying to build a household, their life is hectic and lacks entertainment.

So when they’re taking a break why not give them something they can relate to, narratives and characters that are meaningful to these individuals. It will be so immersive, they’re going to come back tomorrow.

This is how the “soap operas” came into existence. Procter & Gamble hired production houses to hire actors and writers, and then never interfered or put any directives. They let artists do their best to create something authentic.

They didn’t try and sell their story – they simply chose to tell their story.

Business Unusual

And finally we’re returning to our roots. Marriot is an example of this change.

They’re openly saying that they’re a media company and their goal is to be the leading informational provider in the travel industry.

Marriot launched a global creative and content marketing studio solely for this purpose. Their focus is on developing content: digital projects, TV projects, film projects and even animation.

It becomes ugly when you put your logo on the screen and pause it for like 10 seconds. When you let creators do what they do best, things will start to look and sound real instead of being real-time.

Marriot is setting up an example, this shows when you can’t rely on media you’ve to become the media.

You naturally see it in the environment when it’s more like a culture than a program. Programs are boring and they die off after a certain time period. Whereas cultures thrive.

If you consider the case of all these successful content marketers, we can connect the dots on certain important points.

Being specific and relevant: find a niche or create a niche or find a niche within a niche but most importantly target your audience.

Deciding a content style: textual, visual or audio.

Sharing the content with consistency: weekly or daily.

And no matter what you sell, don’t be just B2B or B2C when you can always be P2P: connecting person to person and people to people. 

Which Talent Do We Value In Others?

Which Talent Do We Value In Others?

“Which talent among human beings is deemed as the most revered, best regarded, considered of the most worth?”

 

Yes, which talent do we actually value in others? I once asked my friends the same question. Some of them said artistic ability, others agreed upon great intellect – creativity, genius. And the comic geeks gave their consensus upon super-human abilities.

These answers would’ve been on point, if only my question was – which is the most valuable talent someone can have? And as for the answer to this question, I haven’t the faintest clue.

Even though my question is tricky – the answer is really simple. Here let me explain.

If an artist creates a piece of art which is beautiful, or an innovator invents a work of powerful latest techniques – they will be appraised to launch a movement in arts or science respectively.

Yet, if another, working independently with the same level of skills were to achieve the similar accomplishments the very next week; would they gain the similar acclaim?

Well, their achievements would be labeled as derivatives.

The same goes for intellect. Delay in the publication of a theory – and who will be remembered for its greatness? Without any doubt, the one who published it earlier!

So the correct answer isn’t creativityintellect or genius. The correct answer is novelty. That is what we value in others.

It doesn’t matter what you create, but what you create before anyone else. Timing is indeed everything.