Have you ever been searching the web and noticed that the advertisements seem to be aimed directly at you, or even run into an advertisement for an accessory to an online purchase you just made? Online advertising software is making this all possible. But, online advertisers aren’t the only ones with data to influence customer habits.
Science in marketing
Companies like Target and other retailers have been trying to find new ways of influencing customers’ buying habits. In past this has been done mainly through top level segmented marketing practices, directed to demographic information like: age, gender, demographics, and etc… Until recent updates in technology marketing has rarely been to individual customers. But, as sciences like psychology and statistics are merging together more and more in marketing, direct marketing becomes a more utilized and effective tool –and the tricky thing is that it is extremely hard to notice.
The objective for marketers is increasingly try and influence customers’ habits without them knowing. This is for psychological reasons. Often when marketing campaigns are noticeable they are less effective, particularly if they are created for a broad target. So the need to make marketing more personalized, and less abrasive is emerging at a greater pace. The internet marketers have an easy out in this objective. They can use easily collected search and purchase data on servers to cater to shoppers’ personality, but it gets tricky to do this in a physical setting.
Pointing customers in the right direction
It is pretty hard to change someone’s shopping habits, particularly brand loyalty. It costs almost 7 times more to attract new customers then it does to keep current customers. So investing in attracting new customers better have effective results. So how do you get customers to notice new products or to change brands? Here is where science is helping.
Large retailers have been collecting data on their customers for many years for various uses. Of course advertisement is one of them. But, now that sciences -like statistics and psychology are being worked heavily into marketing strategy, many retailers are really putting their customer data to use. A New York Times Article has recently pointed out how Target has been using statistics and data on their customers to help guide customers’ purchasing decisions.
Public data and marketing
The article points out that as often as possible Target assigns its customers a Guest ID number. This means that shoppers purchase information is stored in their system along with demographic information. That ID stays with the customer and information is added to it whenever they shop at the store, make a return, or fill out a survey. All this information is then fed into a system that helps marketers find ways to personalize marketing to individuals.
Having a baby can mean more marketing
A perfect example of how this is done is pointed out in the NY Times article that was mentioned earlier. Target uses public birth records to identify couples with newborns. The marketers at Target know that this is a highly influential time for a couple. Directed marketing can have more influence during this time of change. So what seems to happen is a couple about to have a baby will have purchases like bottles, diapers, etc associated to their Guest ID number. This signals marketers to lock this information in and send out directed advertisements to the couple. Coupons for baby formula, baby diapers, and baby clothes are obviously a huge part of the marketing. But as the marketers get your mind on shopping for your coming baby they will slip in something about let’s say Target’s new DVD arrivals. Giving the customers pertinent information followed by a quick advertisement to help influence a purchase without making it seem abrasive. It becomes just like those directed ads you see on your Google searches at that point.
Personalized marketing may seem a little upfront. Particularly when businesses are collecting your data, but it might not be so bad. It can help shoppers find products that might be helpful. It can be helpful in pointing out products that are unknown to a customer. Just like online music aggregators use your likes and dislikes to show you new music, this data directed marketing technique can help customers find products to make their lives easier, help their health, or just point out new fun items. It is all in how the data is used that matters.