How to build a useful brand with these multichannel personalisation techniques Businesses that are deemed as useful by the consumer are often more successful. As we start to move out of lock-down, non-essential retail stores start re-opening and the imminent decrease of the 2m rule allows consumers to gather in closer groups and we all start creeping back to the office, marketers should ensure their communications reflect the changing needs of the consumer. An emotive TV commercial or funny Instagram post isn’t enough to hold a person’s attention for a prolonged period of time. Consumers want so much more than that. The notion of brand usefulness is not new, but during the pandemic it has been even more important and has been key to consumer engagement. Why is usefulness key to business success? Bob Burg, leading author of the Go-Giver books, describes the secret to success as not the act of working hard but the act of giving more. “The essence of the Go-Giver philosophy is this: the more you give, the more you have.” The book’s 5 principles can be applied to marketing and should be a guiding code for why your brand should aim to be more useful to the consumer. Create Value The greater value you deliver, the more likely customers and clients are to do business with you. They will also be more likely to recommend you to their friends and peers when you constantly and consistently provide value to them. Touch Lives Make a difference to the everyday lives of your audience. How much they engage with you and purchase with you will be determined by how well you provide value through enriching their lives. Build Networks Once you have started on this road of providing value to certain segments, then amplify it even more and focus on building a network of people who know, like and trust you. They will become your walking ambassadors. Be Real Be authentic, be honest and be true to your brand. If you don’t, your audience will see through it in time. The Law of Receptivity The old adage is true even in business, the more you give, the more you will receive. Robert Cialdini also refers to this in his law of Reciprocity which states that when you give first, the recipient feels compelled to give to you in return. The path of least resistance Humans are also hard wired to choose the path of least resistance. A study by UCL found that the amount of effort required to do something influences what we think we see, the study suggests that we are biased towards perceiving anything challenging to be less appealing. Dr Nobuhiro Hagura, who conducted the research, says “the brain tricks us into believing the low-hanging fruit is really the ripest” These insights also solidify the case for ensuring your communications are useful to the consumer. Tactics that help articulate the usefulness of your brand We should be aiming to build connections with our consumers by not just selling our products and services but also by making a difference to their everyday lives, providing value and being useful. Now that we understand this, the next step is to look at ways in which you can achieve this through your multichannel marketing communications, most of which have personalisation at the heart. Use personalisation to drive relevance Consumers want businesses to prove that they understand them more as individuals rather than as a mass. They want you to treat them differently if they are loyal customers and they certainly want you to remember what they like, so you can serve them better. There is no better way to do this at scale than with personalisation technology that allows you to speak to the individual on a one to one basis through email, web and mobile. Personalise products and messages to avoid consumers having to hunt for what might be relevant to them. The Welcome series An email welcome series is how you start a regular digital relationship with your consumer. Here you can do so much to amplify your usefulness. Set the tone for the relationship Find out more about the consumer Speak about your brand – mission, vision and any causes you support Talk about how your business can help the consumer with the challenges you seek to solve Show them how to do business with you. Communicate this clearly and succinctly. Set up replenishment campaigns Whatever your business, but especially if you sell products or services, reminders to purchase again when the previous order may be at the end of its lifecycle is extremely useful. These genuinely make purchasing again easy and save time for the consumer. Back in stock email or text notifications Ensuring stock levels are kept up to date online is essential to retaining relationships with customers. In research we conducted recently this has been identified as important to UK consumers. 63% say they want to be notified when an out of stock product becomes available again. Whether in a global pandemic or not consumers what their lives to be made as easy as possible and they will choose the path of least resistance. Having the ability to be reminded when the product is next in stock may mean your most loyal customers will wait until the product returns instead of purchasing elsewhere. “Purchased before” reminder Consumers are time poor and have multiple things on the go at the same time. Which means often purchases are made in a hurry and items are forgotten. A reminder, often seen used by grocery retailers, to let the consumer know they may have forgotten some items can be extremely useful. It can save also save the consumer from multiple orders and multiple delivery costs. Birthday reminder service How many times have you left buying a birthday present to the last minute? Or even totally forgotten a birthday until Facebook embarrassingly reminds you on the day? Birthday reminder services are so useful that there is a whole industry of mobile apps designed to help consumers remember a loved ones birthday. If relevant to your business then a birthday reminder service is hugely beneficial to the consumer. Subscribe and Save Another useful service is the “subscribe and save”, which in the past was only available from Amazon. This is a time saver for the consumer, it ensures the consumer is never without the product and also gives a discount for the regularity of purchase. Remember to send an email or text notification a few days prior to the next delivery, so consumers can ensure they have the money in their account to cover the automated purchase. “How to..” content Learning about how to make the most of the product or service you have bought can bring the product or service to life. It can increase engagement at a time when the consumer may not be ready to purchase again, whilst improving customer satisfaction and enjoyment of the product. Usage updates Showing the consumer how they have interacted with your business in the last year or quarter or even month can give insights that prove useful and interesting. For example, understanding how much is spent on healthy food vs sugary foods can help the consumer make better life choices. This principle can be applied to any business B2B as well as B2B. Assisting everyday life Whatever the time of year, pandemic or not, we have seen that consumers love to engage with brands that produce content that help their everyday lives. From live online cooking lessons, in store make up classes or live behind the scenes videos, successful brands understand that providing value to consumers means a much deeper engagement level. Those that do it well, weave these into their brand marketing seamlessly through all their marketing channels. Agility is key As we faced the unprecedented nature of the pandemic very few marketers were prepared for such a seismic shift in how consumers were forced to behave. This meant all marketing teams and businesses needed to think on their feet and with pace! Businesses were forced to adapt quickly to the changing needs of their consumer. This, for many businesses, was previously unheard of. What we have learned from the last few months is the importance of marketing agility and the importance of making rapid business decisions to meet new market trends. Those who have been able to do this well have used data insights and Ai marketing automation to deliver this at scale and in real time.