Follow my tweets
Make it Personal: redefining the relationship with your customers
The trend towards alter or anti-consumerism, global distrust regarding brands reveals that companies have lost their way to customers over the past few years. Only high added-value innovation, from Prius to IPod, gets true market rewards.
Except for these “winners” on the leading edge of innovation, each point of market share, each percentage of profitability gets more difficult to gain or to retain. It is time for marketing strategy to widen its vision of society, considering its expectations and aspirations in order to redefine elsewhere or differently the meeting point between offer and demand. And then, reach the highest and most sustainable profit, the shared profit: financial for the company, moral for the customer. In order to reach the goal of shared profit, a 5th P must emerge from the Mix:
Welcome to my site!
The 5th P of marketing is not a brand new idea. The concept appeared
years ago in the US. With "P" for customers' participation. The "Make it Personal" strategy gets a participation lever as well. But, in my opinion, it is not enough to be a winner.
Participation should only be one of the levers that will help the customer to makes his spiritual, behavioral and commercial relationship with the brand a personal matter.
I would like to introduce, here, my "Make It Personal" concept and highlight the most interesting benchmark so far: the 2008 Obama Campaign. Though most of this work was done in 2009, I consider the concept is still relevant. What do you think?
See you !
P for "Make it Personal". It will be additional and transversal to the 4 core pillars of marketing strategy (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, the 4Ps). The 5th P must bond the 4 Ps together and be the link between them and the customer. What does "make it Personal" really mean? It means that the customer makes his spiritual, be-havioral and commercial relationship with the brand, a personal matter. In other words: with a strong personal involvement. If the entire company is devoted to settle it, the traditional one-way re-
-lationship (from brand to customer) should evolve towards a reciprocity relationship (from brand to customer and from customer to brand).
Glass Buttons in "Make It Personal Scheme" © Roman Dekan #1868865 Fotolia
How to settle this relationship and "Make it Personal"?
I see 3 key levers:
Appropriation [spiritual relationship]:
The customer exists as an individual, gives its opinion and shares his point of view with the brand through “real time” exchanges. The brand is in line with the customer's values. The customer and the brand are part of the same group of thinking. These values must appear in the brand strategic vision, objectives, identity, tagline, and then, on all touch points with customers (advertising, products, press coverage, etc.). This is not about showing some smug and naïve optimism… let’s be credible! A company must be profitable for its shareholders and to protect its future investments. It is a prerequisite which turns into a downside to the eyes of Society if the unique company’s motive appears to be profitability on its own. What is left for society in this plan if the company works only to achieve the ultimate goal of profitability? The company must introduce a strong spiritual connection between the brand and the customer to regain Society’s trust.
Participation [behavioral relationship]:
This is probably the most complicated lever to implement: the customer must be involved in the product development. He must feel he is “part of the team” that builds the product. How to do it, then? By asking his opinion about the future product and taking it into account. Not with routine studies or Clinic tests, but in the context of a real-time interactive relationship. Tell him why, what and how and let him give ideas or answer your questions. It is a way to offer him to participate
in the development of the product. Then, buying a product that you helped create, in which you put all your ideas, all your heart, becomes obvious! How to denigrate such a product, even if, at launch, it is not perfect? Beside sales maximization, two other advantages are generated in favor of the brand: first, customers may propose some very interesting and usable ideas, with an immediate impact on the mix, second: the brand will benefit from a wide range of information about its customers.Information directly (address, community, preferences ...) or
indirectly (analysis of choices, answers to questions, the issue "behind" the idea…) provided by themselves. Some strong incentives like “the-more-you-participate-the-more-you-get-rewarded” should be settled in order to motivate people enough and ensure their participation.
Adoption [commercial relationship]
A customer is even more likely to adopt “his” product because he helped creating it. It’s purchasing time. The right product must be sold at the right time, at the price and in the right place. Provided that the first two levers are perfectly executed and the customer gave voluntarily and spontaneously multiple direct or indirect information on his values, behavior, lifestyle, expectations...the brand can make an appropriate segmentation, a sharp targeting and therefore
offer the desired product at a price the customer is willing to pay, in a place he is ready to go, led by a message that rings his bell. Along with traditional marketing tools, the brand has an additional edge in its game to facilitate adoption: turn this participant-customer into its ambas-sador, through a system of incentives and sponsorship, such as “word-of-mouth” purchase.
All the touch points between the brand and the customer must be used to settle the 5th P. However, there is a mandatory tool, to Make it Personal: the web 2.0.
Accompanied by the appropriate resources (human, financial and IT) to animate the interactive relationship and secure a useful and consistent data mining.
Hands of cooperation: © Andres Rodriguez #3274912 - Fotolia, Social Networking: © iQoncept #10724650 - Fotolia
© Bruce Pillard
The comments, ideas ot concepts explained on this website are personal matters and do not commit in any way my formers or actual Companies.