For decades, marketers have been using the traditional four Ps in their marketing mix – product, price, promotion, and place. But to succeed in today’s highly crowded and competitive market, they need to focus on one more P – personalisation. Personalisation is customisation of messages, offers, products, services and experiences for individuals based on their needs or behaviour. If executed right, personalisation can improve customers’ lives and increase their loyalty for a brand. Personalisation can reduce customer acquisition cost, increase revenues, improve return on investment and has many other benefits.
Let me share with you an example that showcases how personalisation can make an impact at the bottom of the pyramid. Women in every country, state, region, area have different menstrual cycle and sanitary pad requirements. Moreover, India has over 1,000 vernacular languages, spoken in various parts of rural India. This means there are multiple microsegments of women in different areas who need to be served differently. When multinationals were focussing on market segments that could afford expensive sanitary pads, and packaging and marketing their products mainly in English, Arunachalam Muruganantham (Pad Man) focussed on the women at the bottom of the pyramid, who don’t understand English and can’t afford sanitary pads of global brands.
To serve different market segments differently, his company Jayaashree Industries provides machines to women in various areas. Using these machines, women make affordable sanitary pads and sell them to other women while imparting training on the importance of hygiene and usage of sanitary pads. Women in various regions have created their own brands and today, Jayaashree Industries has a portfolio of around 1,000 brands which are created, packaged and marketed in vernacular languages by women in their respective areas. To highlight personalisation aspect within different segments, as this is a women to women model, a woman can go to any other woman and can have one on one conversation around basic questions related to menstruation and hygiene.
To extend personalisation at scale, many brands have been adopting high end technology. Using technology, a brand can capture information about a customer’s needs and intentions through multiple sources such as social media posts, online and offline transactions, internet browsing, telephonic conversation, etc. Using technology, a brand can automate decision-making engine and track customers’ reactions at scale. Using technology, brands can respond to multiple customers simultaneously with relevant and timely messages. In sum, technology is acting as a catalyst in unfolding the power of personalisation.
Let’s have a look at a few of the examples that showcases how brands have been leveraging technology to implement personalisation.
Though Starbucks personalises its customer’s order by writing his or her name on the cup, leveraging technology, the brand has taken personalisation many steps ahead. It has added personalisation elements to its app. App can remember a customer’s favourite order, suggest complimentary food items with that order, send personalised offers and discounts that go far beyond a special birthday discount and suggest the picking location. Furthermore, Starbucks sends interactive games to its loyalty program members through its mobile app. These games are personalised using data gathered from a customer’s past digital interactions. This example showcases that through personalisation, brands can enhance customer experience that could lead to improved brand loyalty and retention.
GOQii, a smart tech-enabled healthcare platform offers personalised lifestyle coaching from experts to its users. It connects users’ activity tracker to a professional health and fitness coach of their choice via the GOQii app. Based on the data, an expert (fitness coach) knows what a user is supposed to do next. Coach tells users what they need to do, and motivates them. This practice enhances the value of GOQii brand and makes it more relevant in the life of its customers. This example showcases that if a brand can predict the upcoming needs of individual customers and send them reminders about right things at the right time then it can become more relevant in their life.
FirstCry runs FirstCry box program to reach out to young parents at maternity hospitals. Based on the factors like cities, delivery charges at various hospitals, etc., FirstCry is able to segment hospitals and eventually parents. The gift boxes are gifted when parents are celebrating happiest moment of their life along with their new born baby. When parents get these gift boxes, they feel good, get connected with the baby products’ brands present in the box and willingly fill feedback forms with their information such as their contact details and baby’s birth date. This personalised information helps in analysing their buying patterns. FirstCry also remains in touch with these parents by weekly mailers with up to date information on products that they are likely to need in the immediate future. This 100% targeted program has a lower customer acquisition cost and higher conversion rate as compared to other marketing models. This example showcases that during a customer’s journey with a brand, there are several touch points at which a brand can reconnect with customer and remind him or her about things that customer could purchase from the brand.
E-commerce players like Amazon keep track of every click customers make on the portal or app, predict what they are most likely to buy and offer relevant product recommendations. Interestingly, Amazon’s homepage is a personalised list of recommended items based on a user’s search and purchase history. This example showcases that one of the most common benefits of personalisation is to predict items that customers may like to purchase and then cross sell and upsell them.
Another example, by leveraging big data analytics to trace the learning fingerprint of every student, BYJU’s app creates personalised learning journeys for individual students based on their proficiency levels and capabilities which helps them learn at their own pace and style. This example shows that personalisation can take learning to a whole new level.
If we look closely how popular brands are engaging with their customers, we will find numerous examples showcasing personalisation. When customers see that a brand has taken efforts to know them and has personalised offerings based on their preferences, they get better connected with the respective brand. To win in today’s highly crowded and competitive market, it has become important for brands to know who their customers are, what kind of experiences they are looking for and accordingly offer them personalisation to create emotional, approachable and warm relationship with them.