Looking for a top marketing tip to boost product sales? Look no further: you should rename said product to anything that starts with a “J”.
Why? Because “J” is the most common first-name initial in the alphabet, and a psychological quirk called implicit egotism means that consumers prefer products (and professions, and living locations) which correspond with their own name. Statistically, Peter the plumber prefers Pepsi in Pittsburgh, while Carla consumes Coca-Cola while counselling in Cheltenham.
That fact alone should convince executives of the huge potential of personalised marketing, yet 32 per cent of firms still don’t bother with it. This is a mistake. If you want a successful digital marketing strategy, it’s time to get personal.
1) It Significantly Boosts Engagement
Personalised marketing can take many forms, but perhaps the most quintessential is the use of your customer’s name. Salespeople have known for years that addressing someone by name catches their attention and builds rapport, and this is true even for something as impersonal as a mass email – those which address the customer by name receive 29 per cent more opens and a 41 per cent higher click-through rate. If this marketing trick sounds cliché it’s because successful internet giants such as Amazon and Netflix use it constantly. 70 per cent of rank-and-file companies, however, do not – inexcusable when software makes adding a customer’s name so effortless.
But why stop there? The runaway success of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign stands as evidence of the aggregated power of name personalisation. Coca-Cola may be a household name, but it was battling against declining sales before its introduction of personalised drink bottles sent it’s numbers soaring.
But Coca-Cola’s success doesn’t mean the name game has been won – the very same trick has worked for Marmite and Nutella. The fact is that people really love their own name. Science has backed up the famous aphorism by Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People, that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. Few things tie our identity up as compactly as our name, which is why the use of it is so powerful. So use it!
2) It Increases Customer Loyalty
Any businessperson worth their salt knows that cultivating customer loyalty is essential to success. Loyal customers buy 90 per cent more frequently, spend 60 per cent more per transaction and are five times as likely to stick with your brand. And how do you build customer loyalty? By building a relationship with that customer, and making them feel special. In the digital realm, there is no or very little face-to-face interaction, but by utilising personalisation you can make a customer feel unique and valued.
Try wishing your customers a Happy Birthday. Evidence from Experian predicts that, compared to a standard mass-market campaign, such personalised messages result in a 300 per cent higher click-rate and a 250 per cent higher revenue rate. Such marketing tricks foster loyalty because 78 per cent of customers equate brands who create personalised content for them with brands who value their business and want to build a relationship with them.
3) The Unique Commands a Premium
We all regard ourselves as unique, and we subsequently want to buy products that are unique and personal to us. Luckily for brands, we’re willing to pay to be different. Smart companies should be eyeing up the 1 in 5 customers who would pay a 20 per cent premium for product personalisation. Examples to learn from are Heinz, who managed to personalise tomato soup with a clever campaign that encouraged customers to send special, pricier, cans to sick friends and family. Cadbury’s did something similar for Valentines Day – allowing customers to put individual messages and photos on the wrapper of their standard chocolate bar. The price doubled… and customers tripled.
The lesson here is that if you’re looking for a high-ROI marketing strategy, you need look no further than personalisation.
4) It’s Only Creepy If There’s Nothing In It For Customers
In any conversation about the benefits of personalised marketing, the counter argument is always that many customers find an excessive knowledge of their lives creepy and invasive. Actually, customers tend to like personalisation (1 in 4 would give up chocolate for a month in exchange for an interest-tailored experience) as long as they believe it’s intended to specifically benefit them.
Backlashes occur when companies are seen to be using customer data for nefarious or dishonest purposes – like Facebook’s mood experiment or OKCupid’s deliberate wrong-matching of dates. In contrast, 42 per cent of customers would happily provide data to companies in exchange for some benefit.
5) Being Impersonal Loses You Customers
Personalisation has become endemic enough that people expect it, especially in the digital sphere. Because of this, the brand damage that can be done by not personalising your content is significant. If a non-tailored campaign means you offer customers unsuitable products or services, many will be turned-off your company as a whole.
When surveyed, 67 per cent of people said they would immediately leave a webpage which asked them to donate to a hated political party. Perhaps more surprisingly, 57 per cent said they would do the same if they were married and shown adverts for a dating website, and 50 per cent would quit on a site that recommended to them the wrong gender’s underwear.
This isn’t just a problem for Ann Summers or Match.com – the implication is that customers will become offended if companies do not know such personal information as their gender, their marital status and their political leanings. Personalisation is as crucial for tailoring what you don’t market to your customers as what you do.
Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs London listings for roles, or if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.