Call me loyal
Supermarket chain Countdown is one company that has led the way in using data to offer personalised offers through its loyalty programme Onecard.
Early this year Countdown worked with data-driven marketing company Affinity ID to leverage the data they amassed from their 1.8 million Onecard holders over the years.
According to Affinity ID, the new programme serves those 1.8 million customers a unique selection of products each week, based on what they’ve bought before, from over 5,000 possible specials on offer on any given week.
“We used Countdown’s Onecard purchase data to understand the products customers are looking for, determine the selection of products they see in their unique email and personalised webpage and drive cross-sale opportunities.”
According to Affinity ID, the supermarket chain saw a 19 percent increase in weekly spend for customers on the programme, and a five percent increase in email open rates compared to the previous email programme.
Countdown now sends weekly, personalised emails to customers on the Countdown database, which include offers to products they might be interested in, processed in real-time. And more clients are moving in that direction.
“We’re seeing more budgets shift, effectively from more broadcast type media in terms of the mix marketers are playing with, towards more direct communications and ways to drive data to get better outcomes,” says Affinity ID chief executive officer Nigel Tutt.
FCB performance manager Anna Matthews agrees the split between big brand awareness campaigns and the known audience activity is going to swing.
“So for your big brand [campaign] you’ll probably be looking at 30 percent and your known audience around 70 percent.”
But there will still be a place for the big splash, or ‘spray and pray’ techniques, she says.
She thinks as time goes on targeted advertising will be more and more automated, as we move in to the programmatic era whereby advertisers can set up rules for targeting online and leave a programme to run through decision-engines rather than people.
“In the future that performance layer will be always on, there will always be some message and marketing going to different segments, and whatever the success metric is will be defining whether that segment continues to be talked to with that message,” she explains.
“In the future that performance layer will be always on, there will always be some message and marketing going to different segments, and whatever the success metric is will be defining whether that segment continues to be talked to with that message.” Anna Matthews, FCB.
The Privacy Commission has been running some workshops recently about privacy and the future of technology, and a spokesperson says the general feeling in these workshops was that “the average Kiwi isn’t aware” of the amount of data marketers are collecting to target ads.
“We’re providing New Zealanders more knowledge about how their personal information is used is a very good thing, the spokesman says. Notification is the key privacy consideration when it comes to the use of data for marketing in New Zealand.
“If you’re using people’s data for personalised ads, you’ve got to make sure they know about it. Having an easy mechanism for people to find out why they were served a particular ad and where the data came from is a good start,” he says.
In 2015 Facebook will launch a service in New Zealand called Ad Preferences, which allows people to have more control over the ads they see on Facebook. Google also offers customisation and allows users to opt-out of internet-based ads.
“Ad preferences explains why you are seeing a specific ad … You can click on any Facebook ad to see why you’re seeing it, including the kinds of targeting criteria an advertiser used to reach you. You can view your ad interests, add and remove preferences so you see better, more relevant ads on Facebook,” Crossley says.
The New Zealand Marketing Association has also set up a Data Warranty Register, which certifies companies as data-trustworthy for the public. But marketers still have to keep in mind what is going to fly with a potential customer.
The value exchange
“There are lines you need to develop there in terms of what is decent and not too Big Brother-like,” Affinity ID’s Nigel Tutt says. “If you can use increased personalisation to enhance the consumer’s life then great, they’ll love it, but if you come across as creepy or you don’t target that well then I guess that’s the other side to it.”
Good taste and good ideas can go a long way to helping the friendly exchange along, although Tutt admits finding the balance between good behaviour and providing clients an ultra-personalised service is “undoubtedly” tricky.
“It’s very much a case-by-case kind of thing. Good creative really helps that as well, creative that’s really, really tailored to relevancy-based personalised communications.”
FCB’s Anna Matthews agrees that the balance comes back to the “data value exchange”.
“If people know they have given you their name and are participating within the programme then in our experience they do very much enjoy seeing personalised communications and seeing their name and everything that comes with that.”
But where people don’t remember giving you their details, that’s when the marketing message is going to come across as creepy.
“You’ve got to ask, ‘Why am I putting this content in front of this person – why should they spend five minutes of their life watching it or responding to it, what am I giving them back?’ And I think that’s something that brands are challenged with at the moment,” Matthews says.
On the one hand, customers love seeing things that relate to them. On the other, they aren’t entirely comfortable yet with people using their data when they don’t explicitly remember giving it out.
When asked whether he thinks consumers are demanding personalisation now, Goodale hesitates before giving a response.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to stand up in Parliament and demand it, but I think there is a very high level of acceptance around it, and also we know from our own testing when we do it, it works better.”
And the reality is, if marketers aren’t getting personal— tastefully—they’re going to be left behind.
“Because we’re going to see a push on personalisation. If people don’t adopt it they will be differentiated by the fact they’re not doing it. In a way, whether people like it or not is … irrelevant. It’s where it’s going to go – it’s just the pace that is the question.”