Great GrandParents

Your great-grandparents hold the key to good business

The vast majority of online brands seem faceless. Business owners know this and so through social media many, including Fasthosts, try to create a personality around the brand. Give it a more human touch.

And in the last year or two things have gone a step further. “Big data” is the buzz word that’s taking the marketing world by storm. If you’ve not heard of “big data” before then an example of it is Facebook. The social network site collects huge amount of information about you, your likes, dislikes, friends, family, gender, age, jobs and much, much more. This is scaring a lot of users. Who wants a faceless corporation knowing so much about our personal lives?

I’d argue that “big data” is an updated version of the high street stores from the early 20th century. You grandparents would walk into the butchers in the 1920’s and the butcher would know their name, their family and friends, where they lived, their neighbours, preferred cut of beef, day of the week they would shop and more.

The local butcher would have your rib eye steak ready for you in the morning before you’d even arrived, and this was before you could tweet him ahead of time!

Back then it was known as great service. It was great service because the butcher cared about you as an individual customer. They took the time to develop a relationship with you, and the information they gathered was used to improve the service they provided.

The challenge for online businesses is to show they care about you as an individual because they genuinely want to improve the service or products they are selling. The aim in this world of “big data” is not to use it to simply categorise you into a batch of customer types, but to better understand why you use their service. With that information businesses can tailor a unique experience to individual customers. They can show they care.

So how does this work in the real world?

Many business owners and marketers are struggling to adapt to the changing ways in which people consume their messages. It has been said many times before but I’ll reiterate the point “people have more control over what information they see, when they see it, and how they see it than ever before” we’ve all seen a decline in email open rates, print ads, banner ads, PPC and other traditional marketing channels.

This has put a strain on metrics such as CPO (cost per order) and CPA (cost per acquisition). I believe the solution can be found by taking a look at our 1920’s butcher.

If your CPO is £20 then why not use the data you have about your customers to send a specific individual gift to those with a high propensity to purchase again or those with a big social media influence?

What if you sent a £10 Amazon gift voucher to Joe Bloggs. Within it include a personal message from you explaining that you know Joe’s birthday is coming up, and that he could spend the money on the Dark Knight Rises DVD he’s been asking about on Twitter. This approach could keep his brand loyalty for years to come.

He’d no doubt sing your praises on social media sites, recommend you to friends, visit your site more regularly, engage with you on social media more and the likelihood of him purchasing from you again has increased.

Add the personal touch. The butcher didn’t have the “big data” that we have access to today but I’ve a feeling that if he did he’d still want to know each of his customers as individuals and for them to know him.

I think we can sometimes forget that, even though we may be business owners or marketers, we are also customers for hundreds of other brands. We are all bombarded with advertising every day. Most of which you automatically ignore. It’s unremarkable and generic, and yet the business behind the advert probably spent a lot of money to get it in front you.

Would you rather be shouted at with another generic “buy now” print advert or receive an early Christmas present?

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