Today's marketers are under-utilizing the large amounts of personal data their customers are sharing publicly every day, according to Adobe's senior manager of social-media products, Chad Warren. By looking at their customers' activity not just on social networks but all over the web, brands can potentially engage with them in ways that are much more meaningful.
When brands successfully connect with customers around the things they love, advertising ceases to be a commercial endeavor and instead becomes simply useful information, Warren said during a presentation at Mashable Connect in Orlando, Fla. While many brands use personalization techniques to reach their customers, Warren says it's often one-dimensional, isolated to a single activity, medium (such as television) or social network.
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"There's not enough focus and emphasis on gathering and understanding all these signals that our customers are sharing with us, either explicitly or implicitly," Warren said, "And pulling those things together to build a greater understanding of who our customers are and what it is what they want, and then acting upon those things."
Warren envisions tying together "signals" customers are sending out from many different places -- from Facebook profiles to Amazon wish lists to Pinterest boards -- to get a full picture of a customer's "digital self." The final step is to act upon the information, possibly overhauling everything from the creative to the target demographic.
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As an example, Warren cited Acer. The company's marketing effort around the Aspire S3 Ultrabook utilized that type of data after customers signed up for an online sweepstakes. Acer used the data to pinpoint different kinds of customers beyond its initial target demographic -- for example, women who buy high-end clothing.
By engaging with customers in those places, with creative material tailored to match, the company managed to more than double engagement with its customers, and experienced a ten-fold increase in Facebook fans.
The key to reaching customers in this way is action, Warren said. After realizing the importance of data, a company should not make it an afterthought. It needs to be built into the marketing process from the beginning.
How do you think companies can better implement personalized marketing? And as a customer, how do you feel about marketers using your publicly available "signals?" Share your thoughts in the comments.
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