Have you ever felt that tinge of satisfaction when a barista greets you by name and remembers your usual drink? He or she might even remind you of the bagel you ordered last week, toasted and with an extra block of cream cheese, offering to do the same. This conversation is based on all of your previous interactions with the store, with the barista treating you as an individual, and not just a faceless person in a crowd. In other words, there is a relationship, not just transactional moments.
True marketing is what happens every time you visit your favourite local coffee joint. Fully aware that each individual has a unique story, your barista is committed to delivering an experience that resonates with your personal narrative. Consumers today have grown used to such personalized experiences, and a personalized experience is now a requirement when they connect with brands, be it offline or online.
In public locations, such as your friendly neighbourhood café, you only have to take a look around to see users like yourself accessing the web on a constant basis. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, the expansion of free Wi-Fi hotspots and reliable 4G means the average Asia-Pacific user already consumes more than seven hours of screen media per day.
The answer: Don’t just follow the devices, focus on the users.
A Criteo study has shown that personalized ads generate more consumer engagement. Customers who feel like they are being treated as individuals tend to be more satisfied with their brand experience and are more inclined to remain loyal. Today’s marketers need to wake up and smell the coffee. In fact, recreating that customized coffee experience with your mobile audience can be made simple and effective. It means doing the exact same thing, but at scale – every message you send must be user-centric and personalized, based on an understanding of the history an individual has with you.
There are three key capabilities that every user-centric marketing strategy should have. The first is the ability to store and understand all the interactions our customers have with us. The second is the ability to use new programmatic marketing tools to show personalized ads in real-time based on this behaviour. The third is to optimize all of this at an individual customer level to maximize the purchases and lifetime value of your customers.
Finally, what’s most important in today’s cross-device era is the continuation of storytelling across all screens and channels. As consumers do their pre-purchase research on whichever platform is handy, it becomes more difficult for you to identify them as they fluidly move between devices. With 56 percent of users demonstrating highly similar behaviours across their tablets and mobile phones, you can’t provide a consistent experience if you do not know how consumers are interacting across devices and the paths they take from consideration to sale.
This can lead to wasted ad spending, especially when inconsistent or inaccurate data is the culprit. When handled the wrong way, integrated campaigns either fail to target an individual across devices or they overexpose a user because one individual is being viewed as multiple users. Instead of allocating budget based on device type and figuring out performances across devices, marketers must identify the right users and deliver their preferred content to them, regardless of which screen or device they’re looking at.
The world is getting more complex and selecting the right marketing tools today may seem more challenging than it was yesterday. We are moving ever closer to a world where everything is digital and every interaction with your customers can be personalized, based upon all their interactions with you. Other marketers are already investing in data-centric tools and providing personalized user experiences. There is no better time than now for you to seize the opportunities presented by today’s cross-device environment. And as your neighbourhood barista might add – ‘better latte than never.’
Yuko Saito is managing director of Criteo Southeast Asia