2014-20-November-Game-of-Life.jpg
For many marketers, current personalization efforts are like spinning the wheel in the Game of Life: you never know what you’re going to get. Today’s customers are willing to provide us with detailed information beyond the color of their car or how many pegs are in the back seat, and it’s up to marketers to use this data to craft the right message. Improving personalization to deliver useful, relevant content is the best way for both the marketer and customer to feel like they’ve landed on a pay day.

Picking Their Profession Card

Customers see through superficial personalization and dislike it when marketing tries to stick them in a category that just doesn’t fit. Today’s personalization leaves 70 percent of people “jaded” and 63 percent “numb” according to an Economist Intelligence Unit study.

In Life, players get to choose their journey and select their career path. It’s your responsibility as a marketer to let them make those choices. The rest of your interactions are based on allowing people to choose and your reactions to their choices.

The good news is that today’s marketing technology can help you tailor your approach based on that specific profile of your customer. As in Life, where everyone shows which job title they’ve received, your customers are willing to provide you with some basic information so they can reap the benefits.

Our goals as marketers are to understand what this data means and to only ask for what’s appropriate. You can never force someone’s hand to overturn their Life tiles until the game ends (and your sale is made), so it’s all about moving with them during the journey. You want to know what they need now and what is down the road, because hey, everyone (in the game) gets married and we know that changes things.

Traveling With Customers

In the Game of Life, your profession is the most important piece as you move because it makes all of those pay days great or terrible. It’s easy to see what any profession will bring, but the marketer needs to be a strategic player and understand that profiles can change and needs can change on certain spins.

Tailoring a pitch to the current customer with an understanding of where they may go is understanding what I call the “known customer.” It requires an understanding of what the customer has provided. The more information you can receive about a customer, the more successful you can be with a tailored approach.

A recent DMA study found that 77 percent of US marketers say shifting work to a real time understanding is a high priority and 68 percent want to tie increased personalization directly to improved responses rates and ROI.

Achieving this means getting more data, and that means traveling the tiles with your customer. You need to be aware of any changes to their jobs, the number of children they have (and how families grow), and how far down the board they’ve gone. Acquiring this information requires a fair tradeoff between content provided and information collected.

Helping Them Retire Rich

At the end of the Game of Life, everyone wants to retire in Millionaire Estates and, for our interactions, marketers want to help them get there fully loaded. We can do this by meeting their needs as they travel through the buyer’s journey. To meet their needs we need to understand who the player is and how they’re playing, with three steps giving us great one-to-one personalization:

  • Understand Your Customer -- Ask for information. Watch as your customer travels the board and ask them relevant questions about where they are. Being a companion and consistently engaging will help you understand their needs. No one buys homeowner’s insurance until they have a home.
  • Design the Customer Journey Across Channels -- To help your customers move through your funnel, you need to define the journey and have touch points on both side of every fork in the road. They’ll reward you with their business if you create a consistent, relevant and relaxing customer journey.
  • Act in Real Time -- Before the spinner spins, you can know almost all of the possibilities that the player can take. When the spinner tops, it’s time for preparation to turn into action. Good delivery means knowing where the customer is on their journey and delivering the right content at the right time to that specific audience.

Thankfully, marketers have a lot of tools at their fingertips that can give insight into where our customers are headed. No real world experience is as straightforward as the path of Life, but cross-channel campaign management tools can help us make the customer journey seem much closer to that game board.

Your customers are ready to spin -- be sure you're ready through planning and a series of executables for every place they land.

Title image by Jesse757 (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license