This past week I was reminded of the importance for brands to not only understand their target audience(s), but find ways to get personal with individuals. This was spurred by an email I received from Groupon with the subject line “New: Personalize Your Groupon Deals”.
Having suffered Groupon fatigue from the influx of irrelevant offers, I was quite excited to see their effort to personalize the experience. Unfortunately, when I went to the site to take the survey, they only asked for my gender, birth date and zip code. They missed an incredible opportunity to learn more about my interests and preferences and thereby create a strong, long-term relationship based on truly customized deals (not my zip code).
In today’s world, understanding your target demographic is not enough. People expect to have a personal relationship with brands, so companies must take an extra step to understand psychographics- any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. Netflix and Amazon do a stellar job of this through employing technology that learns about their subscriber’s preferences and then offering up relevant recommendations. There is something very powerful about feeling a company really knows you, and accomplishing this is nearly impossible if the engagement strategy is based off of broad sweeps of demographic profiles.
There’s an interesting parallel between brand engagement and media engagement. Good PR professionals know they must carefully research their target influentials. It’s essential to know what they’ve written about and what topics they care about before approaching them. I’ve seen many instances over the years of PR professionals get slammed for spamming reporters and bloggers with cookie cutter pitches, resulting in irritation, no coverage and deteriorated credibility. In many instances, the guilty “blanket pitcher” who didn’t take the time to get to know their target gets redirected to the junk folder (or worse, called out publicly in an article or blog post).
The lesson for brands: find ways to get to know your customers on a more intimate level or you too are likely to be overlooked.
What brands do you think do a good job of understanding their customers?