Contributed by Jimmy Storrier, Managing Director of JBA


In part 1 of this article, Jimmy Storrier shared a few personal experiences, explaining when and where in his view personalised marketing is slipping into the creepy zone. In this second and last part he shares 5 things you need to keep in mind when you want to make marketing an effective personal and not a creepy experience.


(1) Marketing is becoming more powerful; but how to avoid it becoming more creepy?
I’m taking an educated guess that beacon and mobile proximity technology is going to take off in Asia in the next couple of years due to its potential to create incredible customer experiences, but just like re-marketing before it, there is also scope to create some incredibly creepy customer experiences with this new powerful technology in the name of personalisation as well. So with that in mind, how can you better leverage new technology and continue to personalise your marketing without being creepy?


(2) Make your marketing personal, where that’s expected, but not intimate
Just because you discovered something about someone, even if through statistical modelling and data science brilliance, it doesn’t mean that person wants you to communicate your new found knowledge to them. If you discover something about someone that they wouldn’t generally share with you, it’s probably inappropriate to bring that up with them. That doesn’t mean you can’t suggest they then share with you what you already know though, but be tactful.

The holy grail of personalisation is getting to the point where you know if an individual wants a highly personalised experience or not and exactly how personalised they want their interactions with you to be by communicating their preferences to you explicitly or implicitly.


(3) If it has to be intimate, make it useful
I can’t think of many things more intimate than the current state of someone’s health and their fitness level. Fitbit, a wearable fitness device company, knows more about my health and my adherence to a healthy lifestyle than my doctor does. How does Fitbit deal with this responsibility? By building an incredibly useful and completely free dashboard where I can set health goals, track progress and visualise my health and fitness data. Fitbit sells wearable devices. It doesn’t need to provide me with a data visualisation tool, but it does, because it wants to build trust and familiarity with me knowing that it holds intimate information of mine on its servers.


(4) Personalised marketing should create a better, more valuable experience
I use a certain bank, which I won’t name, that guides me through a seemingly never ending set of prompts on a CCR system before I’m able to speak with a representative. It does this to “connect me to right area”, or so I’m told, by a robot. On multiple occasions I’ve ended up at a CCR dead end, stuck with the consequences of a poor set of numerically entered choices with no option but to hang up and start again. The whole process reminds me of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel but when I’m banking the last thing I want is to be surprised.

Even worse, if I do get through to a representative after keying in my access number, password, credit card number and date of birth, in an effort to personalise my experience, I’m asked for all that information again by the human representative I end up speaking to. I had a drink one afternoon with the Technology Director of said bank and asked why I would be so inconvenienced as to have to provide the same information twice on one call. The answer was that the CCR system wasn’t fully integrated with the call centre: the CCR software’s job was just to route you to the a representative that was relevant to your needs but not pass on the information you’d entered; information the person you end up speaking to would ultimately need anyway.

Yes, step 1 in personalisation in this case is getting me to the right person, but step 2 is passing along any relevant information you may already have to create a better experience.


(5) Make your interactions between people when its relevant
This is a hard one for many businesses to swallow, but we live in a world where interactions between people are valued more than ever. Our relentless drive to reduce costs and automate has taken people away from where they are needed most: on the front line of what Bryan Kramer calls “Human to Human” interactions.

Don’t think customers aren’t noticing your cost saving automations. They are and they’re tuning out. An email that’s signed off: “Your Friendly Insurance Company” is much less valuable than one that has been written and sent by “John Doe, Your Insurance Manager”, and it doesn’t take a complex technology setup to scale that interaction so John Doe himself doesn’t need to attend to every email response that comes in.

In my days as a client side Marketing Director, one of the first things I did in a new role was to insist that any email interaction from the business was able to be responded to. The days of “no-reply” sends are over. If you expect someone to read your email, you’d better expect they should be able to reply to it and that the reply will go to a real person.

The line between creepy and valuable marketing is a thin one, but by thinking through an end to end customer experience and applying some empathy for the real, live human beings on the end of your marketing efforts, you can avoid being a marketing creep and deliver long term value to your customers, which will show up in your bottom line.

Jimmy Storrier is the Managing Director of JBA, a strategic marketing and data science agency based in Australia and Singapore.

The author is a 3rd party contributor to AdAsia and this article represents his views.


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