Brands and businesses should spend less time looking in the mirror and admiring their reflection, and more time personalising their product for the customer, says the director of strategic solutions for Acquia, Melanie Poitras.
Chatting with B&T, Poitras said the careful personalisation of a brand, product, or service is a “huge differentiator” when it comes to being successful.
“If you’re not personalising customer experience they’re going to go somewhere else,” she said. “They’re actually willing to give you information but only if you’re going to make the experience better for them.
The problem with personalisation, however, is that no one is particularly skilled at it yet.
“The tools are there, which is great, but there aren’t a lot of craftsmen,” Poitras said. “No one’s doing it really well right now.”
“We’re still not at a super personalised space yet. Just putting a name on a letter doesn’t make it personalised.”
“It needs to be a lot less about brands sending love letters to themselves,” she added, stressing that if brands are ever going to get closer to their customer, they need to lose the vanity.
“Companies love to write love letters about themselves and they forget what the customer needs and wants. It should be all about the customer and brands need to keep that in mind.”
Poitras told B&T to think about the Amazon’s of the world, and the way they have monopolised the way we purchase consumer goods, but also how the digital landscape has shifted the consumer/brand relationship.
“Brands are losing touch with customers when people buy stuff off Amazon,” Poitras said. “It moves so quickly now that brands have to be really thoughtful.
“We can’t go back to the days of five year or two-year plans – things change in like a minute now.
“It’s no longer good enough to say we have a business and we have a digital business – all of your business is digital. And there’s no more marketing and digital marketing – it’s just marketing. It’s just another channel for us.”
For Poitras, content is becoming more and more important in terms of reaching out to consumers.
“For a while people were just slapping content out there to have something to post and not thinking about how it might impact customer experience or help a potential customer or existing customer,” she said.
“Content is going to be the centrepiece and I think folks that spend time and money to develop good, thoughtful, creative content are going to be really rewarded.
But the most important thing is to know the difference between throwing nonsensical crap at your customer and actually crafting something they’ll resonate with.
“Think about back in the day when you would go to the local store,” Poitras said.
“The owner knew you and knew your parents and would just offer up things like, ‘We have these fresh apples and I know your mum likes apples’, and asking, ‘How’s your father doing?’.
“It’s about adding value, and brands have to bring that to the digital space. We’ve moved so far away we’ve forgotten how to communicate.
“It’s just having a conversation – it’s watching body language, listening to tone – we need to be doing that when interacting with customers.”
“The buzzword of the last year is digital transformation. It’s actually more of an evolution. You start with a hypothesis, you test the theory and you make adjustments. You’re just moving and growing.”