All posts in “Personalization”


When Marketing Personalization Fails

Imagine a company that addressed single women about their pending nuptials or congratulated women on their first child even though they never have been pregnant. These are just a few of the marketing snafus in over recent months by big companies (Pinterest and Shutterfly, respectively).

All the hype in marketing these days is about personalization. The idea is making every interaction highly relevant and tailored to a specific individual, based on his or her online, social or app behavior, shopping history, preferences, tastes, family and lifestyle details.

The proliferation of mobile devices has accelerated the desire by companies to personalize marketing efforts, but with embarrassing gaffs happening — and consumers all too eager to share their experiences on social networks — marketers need to protect themselves. Here’s four ways to do so:

1. Cross-reference all data.
Integrate and cross-reference data from all available first-party data sources (email, customer-relationship management tools, apps and transactions) and second-party sources (social media). When dealing with subjects about which emotions run high (such as pregnancy or other life-changing events), companies should have a double-confirmation system.

Was there a status change on Facebook? Did the customer purchase related items? Did this customer change her status within a profile on the company’s site? Only when there is second nod of validation, should companies use certain criteria to target a customer for the purchase of a product.

In the Pinterest case, the social site sent out emails to users who had pinned any wedding-related content but these people weren’t necessarily engaged. Some women start dreaming about a wedding day as little girls. Teens might use sites like Pinterest to save inspiration ideas for a future wedding even without a suitor yet on the horizon. Just because a person shows interest in the topic of weddings does not mean she is tying the knot.

2. Always act in context.
To increase the chances of delivering a relevant message or experience, companies need to not only leverage the data that makes a message personal but also be sure to trigger it when it’s contextual or appropriate to a person’s immediate circumstance and intent.

The context surrounding a consumer is what’s trending around her and what’s viral among her peers. Using a variety of big-data tools, such as semantic and virality analysis, a company can better understand what a given person might want at a certain moment. Virality simply refers to how viral something is online, on social or other channels. This can be anything from parachute pants to Miley Cyrus.

Acting in context, a hotel would send to a 25-year-old guest in town with friends a message about an Oktoberfest beer event that’s trending on Instagram and issue an alert for a symphony concert in a park to a couple in town to celebrate an anniversary.

3. Learn from the past.
Create user segments based on customer behavior, interests, needs, demographics and psychographics. By segmenting and then analyzing the behavior of long-standing customers, a company can predict the actions led to certain profile attributes, such as recent marriage or being a new mother.

An over-the-counter allergy-medicine company could anticipate what additional allergies a person may experience based on long-standing customers’ shopping and in-app behavior and user-generated profiles. Thus, the company could predict that a person with a strong allergy to ragweed might be wrestling with a specific allergy rampant in a town she’s visiting and provide an offer or tip.

4. Monitor sentiment in real time.
By tracking real-time feedback and chatter about a company online and applying a sentiment analysis, employees will be able to see almost immediately if a mistake has been made, enabling them to stop further damage from being done and to apologize to those affected.

If a company makes a mistake, the worst thing it can do is ignore it. During Hurricane Sandy, for instance, companies like Gap and Urban Outfitters promoted free-shipping offers to those in affected areas. These tactics quickly blew up on Twitter with harsh criticism about insensitivity. Apologies followed.

These recent high-profile personalization flops should not deter marketers from personalizing their efforts. Tailoring experiences is not a nice-to-have item. It’s a must-have in today’s customer-centric society.

Luckily, technology systems are becoming more advanced to put safeguards in place so marketers can personalize with confidence.

keeping the creepening out

Keeping the creepiness out of mobile marketing

A mobile marketing expert offers five tips to retailers on how to approach new marketing styles.

A sweater you looked at while shopping online shows up sandwiched between your friends’ status updates, alongside your searches and in your e-mail inbox. While there was hesitation from consumers surrounding online ads for years because of the Big Brother essence of personalization and retargeting, consumers now are more comfortable with the concept, or at least used to it.

But mobile makes things different. Our smartphones are with us as we travel about our daily lives, literally with us every second, everywhere we go, nestled protectively in our pockets or sitting on our desks or nightstands. They have become an extension of ourselves and, not surprisingly, this can conjure an entirely new level of creepiness (in other words, I don’t want anyone tracking my every move) when brands attempt to engage in our lives. Mobile provides contextual data that can help marketers understand in which circumstances consumers are acting; where they are, the weather around brand name cialis canada them, their emotional state, how fast they are traveling and more. Even their heart rate.

It’s a bit of the chicken and the egg. To market successfully on mobile, experiences, offers and

messages must be highly personalized, but consumers are suspicious of a company knowing where they are or what they are is cialis generic safe doing. The creepiness, however, can be overcome. Here are five ways marketers can personalize the mobile consumer experience without scaring shoppers:

  • Understand and act in context. Contextual marketing personalizes every message and experience by fusing the soft signal data from sensors that reveal a person’s physical situation (location, weather and traffic, etc.) and how fast or slow they are moving (in a car at 60 m.p.h., walking down a street leisurely, lounging at home, etc.), and hard customer profile data like past purchases and demographic information. Retailers can’t simply send a message every time a consumer shows up close to a store. Do they pass by on their way to work? Then they should not get a message inviting them to try on their items in a wish list when they pass during rush hour. On the other hand, when they are on a leisurely stroll on a Saturday afternoon, they are going to be much more receptive and likely to act.
  • Anticipate intent.Customer intent is the biggest factor in successful marketing and focuses simply on what your customer is trying to do. When you understand your users’ intent at a given moment, you can help them accomplish whatever they are trying to do. For instance, normally a married father should not get discounts on nearby products when he passes through the women’s department unless, that is, it is close to a holiday. In pay for viagra with paypal that case, he might well appreciate gift ideas for his wife, as that is what he is currently trying to accomplish. To start, predict needs based on personal and societal events and identify behavioral patterns (i.e., Courtney only purchases sale items when next season’s line is in).
  • Celebrate everyone’s differences.
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    Retailers need to integrate all data streams they have—CRM, social, transactional, etc.—to have a deeper understanding of individual consumers. Not only will this ensure a consistent experience for customers across channels, but it will also extract more value from your customer data. Creating a single customer view allows retailers to treat everyone as individuals, not a single mass. Your customer Sarah who follows celebrity fashion blogs would like to know if an A-lister was just spotted wearing this dress. On the other hand, Hannah, who has inquired into your fair trade policies, would rather know about a dress’ origins. Sarah and Hannah are motivated by different things and should be engaged differently.

  • Offer something of value. You have to give something to get something. While this is true, retailers don’t have to—and shouldn’t—rely simply on offers and discounts. Brands can “pay” consumers by removing friction from the process, like streamlining contactless payments, allowing shoppers to pre-select items to appear in their dressing rooms, or giving them the power to complete price or inventory checks through an app. As a result, consumers will see value in engaging with your app, and you will glean valuable insights to cialis online pharmacy inform future interactions.
  • Be transparent. While all is fair in love and war, the same doesn’t hold true for mobile commerce. Retailers must create relationships with their customers based on trust. Be
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    forthright with how you’ll use their data, which should first and foremost be online canadian pharmacy to enhance their shopping experience. From the initial contact and throughout your relationship, let them know you’ll only give them relevant marketing messages and inform them of upgrades, changes in policy, privacy settings, etc.

Mobile offers a truly unprecedented opportunity to treat every customer in a special, individualized way. But retailers need to thoroughly think through their strategy and approach because consumers’ hesitation to feeling that their behavior is tracked will not go away; they will instead invite only a few brands they trust into their lives. To find true success, anticipate their needs, leverage context to provide the right experience at the right time, help them accomplish something easily and remove friction from the process.


Connect With Customers by Leveraging Smartphone Sensors

We not only live in a world of billions of smartphones, but we now also live in a world of sensors, soon to number in the trillions. As smartphones start to really live up their name, new models are being outfitted with an increasing number of sophisticated sensors that can pick up cues from a user’s immediate environment. Samsung’s Galaxy S4, for instance, has nine sensors that provide a glimpse into someone’s physical world. Apart from embedded smartphone sensors, there are external sensors — from iBeacons to connected devices within the internet of things category. People are moving through their daily lives with a great variety of sensors on and around them — in their homes and cars and the stores they walk into. Marketers need to tap into the treasure trove of sensor data to inform their dialogue with customers and create highly relevant, personal and intimate interactions. At no other time in history have companies been able to learn so much about their consumers, the actions they take and circumstances they open, tweet, click, “like,” redeem, book or buy. Here are five ways companies can leverage smart sensors to create great customer experiences: 1. The traffic-jam experience. Many companies have started using location sensors for geotargeting, but as this tactic is used more frequently, marketers will need to push the creativity envelope further than simply accessing consumers’ whereabouts. A smartphone’s GPS sensor provides a window into what is happening around a person. Marketers can tap into third-party data streams like nearby traffic conditions, transit disruptions and other real-time situational factors to personalize and contextualize interactions. What’s more powerful? “Enjoy $1 off coffee today” or

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heavy delays due to an accident. Enjoy $1 off a coffee. It’s going to be a long ride.” 2. The highness experience. In office buildings, malls, airports and other multistory structures, altimeter sensors measuring elevation can let companies know not only that a person is on a block or near a building but also the floor they took the elevator to. As more companies try to drive foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores through mobile devices, leveraging altitude as a trigger for campaigns will provide more accurate and intriguing messaging. (Look up. We’re right above you. Visit us and earn double loyalty points.”) 3. The emotionally distressed experience. If someone is having a bad day, his or her spouse may steer clear or try to bring cheer via a gift or a compliment. From Intel to Samsung, the biggest technology companies are developing tools that can infer emotions by assessing how hastily a person types and mistakes made as well as by using cameras to read the mood on a face. Marketers could develop interactions with customers to play on certain attitudes and try to turn moods around. If people received a free gift from a company when they were having a rough week, their brand loyalty might be boosted. Companies will also be able to anticipate consumers’ emotional state (like dreading the dentist or stressing over a board meeting) based on their attitude historically to certain weather or to types of calendar appointments. Analyzing the results of emotion-based campaigns will be critical on an individual level, though, since everyone responds differently to stress or angst. Some people might be annoyed by a company’s intervention effort, though, while others would welcome it. 4. The speed experience. Movement, speed and orientation data available through accelerometer and gyroscope sensors can provide interesting insights for triggering campaigns. A company wouldn’t want to distract consumers with a push alert as they drove a highway at 60 mph. This would promote bad driving and people are likely to ignore the message. Mobile interactions should occur when people can give proper attention, like when they window-shop or stop for lunch. Use of orientation data can also help keep marketing budgets in check. instead of targeting all individuals nearby, marketers can use sensors to send offers to people walking away from a store who’ve not come in and thereby increase the return on investment. 5. The hot and wet experience. Heat, humidity and pressure sensors provide precise

readings of environmental conditions related to a person’s exact location. Active-lifestyle marketers can tap into temperature and hygrometer sensors to suggest real-time modifications to someone’s workout based on past performance in specific situations. (“You may want to slow down. We are at 83 percent humidity.”) Retailers, consumer-packaged goods companies, travel and food and beverage firms can self-police how often they reach out to customers by using historical performance data; thus the companies can push messages only when they are hyperrelevant and likely to drive action. If a coffeehouse obtains better results from iced-coffee promotions when it’s hotter than 85 degrees, it should not target people in conditions below this threshold. Data from sensors is not enough, of course. The interactions that will have the biggest impact and drive the best results will be those that are highly personal, not just highly contextual. This evolving “system of engagement layer” of smart interaction lives on top of all existing tech systems from companies and is the future of customer relationships.


Let’s Get Personal: The Next Step In The Evolution Of Mobile Target Marketing

Smartphones are inherently more personal than the more ancestral advertising channels. TV, radio, print, billboard and even PC have catered to mass communication, with advertisers hoping their brand messages will stick. Today’s always-on consumers have much different expectations with their mobile devices. C_TFIN52_66 Consumers want to interact with brands on a highly personalized level, receiving offers and

ads tailored and delivered to them when and where it is appropriate, and nothing else. To succeed on mobile, marketers need to get smarter about their mobile marketing strategies to be customer-centric and influence them at precise moments of decision making. Today, mobile targeting is based on peak points of mobile engagement, but to meet customer’s expectations and demands, mobile marketers will have to go beyond generalized peak point of engagement to contextually relevant ads. As mobile

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marketing evolves, advertisers need to:

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Understand secondary location data Technology needs to drive true relevance by being situationally-aware of a user’s surroundings, beyond just nearby places, events, etc. Marketers need to bring in secondary location-based real-time data that exists, such as weather, traffic conditions and economic factors, to provide a true hyper-local and 360-degree user experience and provide for instant actionability. Expand context beyond location Location has been the primary filter that advertisers are using today for contextually relevant mobile advertising. The opportunity to deliver a highly personalized experience goes much further than where a customer is. What are they feeling? What do their friends

and family like and respond to? By mining a customer’s social sphere and online communications to learn about them, mobile advertising will be much more hypertargeted and therefore effective. Provide value Deliver something of value to consumers. Mobile cannot be used as a soapbox to push marketing-centric messaging. Mobile is user-centric, and you need to deliver something that is interesting to consumers or gives them something, be it a deal, reward, information or entertainment. Tap the brakes Today’s tools make mobile advertising a playland for interactive marketers, with shiny new objects generating excitement everyday. It’s easy to want to connect with customers often because it’s fun and new. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you always should. Marketers need to carefully track the

frequency of their communication with their customers to ensure they are not intruding and interrupting on their lives too often. Build your mobile strategy on a foundation of trust with your customer, delivering targeted messages when customers want them. If you interrupt too much, they will be quick to abandon. Make Data Actionable Interactive marketers need to track data in real time and adjust their programs to ensure maximum success. Stale data that works for other advertising channels, which comes days or even weeks after a campaign, is not appropriate for mobile. Mobile marketers need to be nimble and if one mobile program is not performing with one audience segment, they need to quickly change it to ensure a high ROI. Mobile should not be treated in a silo, but should be part of an omni-channel marketing strategy. Consumers will interact with brands via apps, mobile and traditional Web, social media, and through various connected devices. We are on the verge of a major transformation in the advertising industry, one that will make the disruption of “traditional” digital advertising look trivial in comparison. The opportunity to make meaningful, personal connections between customers and brands is huge and, therefore, so is the opportunity to make real impacts on their business. MB6-700


The Future Of Content Is Context

“In the future,” Andy Warhol famously said, “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Well, that future has already come and gone. We now live in the next future — the one where everyone pays attention for 15 seconds. Fortunately, today’s ultra-connected consumers are equipped with the perfect technology for on-the-go people who have short attention spans: mobile devices. Mobile devices that pack unbelievably strong sensors. Touchscreens, cameras, microphones, GPS, compass, gyroscope — and wireless Internet. Combine all that with speed, sleek handsets and always-on, running-in-the-background capabilities and what do you get? For starters, you get a new computing model. You

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media-cultural-social-economic atmosphere. t’s changing how we live. How we work. How we socialize. How we communicate. How we shop, learn, have fun, and even how we think and feel and perceive. The era of the four-hour, widescreen epic is over. The day (or nanosecond) of the “flash fact” presented on a handheld screen is here — whether it’s a tweet or an app or a digitally delivered news headline. Question: how can a “flash fact” possibly be

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worthwhile? And by consuming an endless series of flash facts on our mobile devices every day, are we just gorging ourselves on empty content, high-calorie candy — when we really should be consuming more long-form, deep-content vegetables? Actually, no. Flash facts can be just as nutritious as long-form media. Why? Because long-form media creates its own context. Today’s mobile media figures out what’s going on in your life and makes you the context. Let me explain. Do you know the difference between trivia and an important fact? You guess it: context. Suppose you’re in the middle of Times Square. Somebody remarks that you can make an improvised compass from a needle by magnetizing it. Who cares? It’s meaningless trivia. But if you’re lost in the woods and all you’ve got is a needle, suddenly that same fact becomes a lifesaver. It is

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extremely valuable information — “significa.” Popular mobile devices present bite-sized chunks of information. But great mobile platforms present those bites at just the right time, and just the right place, in just the right way to be useful to you, with your specific tastes, habits, preferences, friends, history and location. Rain expected later today in the Midwest? Who cares? But rain expected at 1:45 pm on the corner of 33rd and Madison, which is exactly where you’re going to be in 15 minutes? That’s useful information. The future of mobile media content is fun, friendly platforms, apps and programs that deliver situationally-aware, hyper-personalized, bite-sized facts (preferably watermelon work like viagra told in pictures) to individual consumers at precisely the right moment. Content is king. But context is queen.