Loyalty trends and best practices

The Currency of People-Based Marketing

by Michael Hemsey
April 21, 2017
The Currency of People-Based Marketing

Think of what comprises people-based marketing for an enterprise brand. Is it:

  • Defining why, and how, a brand needs to evolve the sophistication of their people-based marketing solutions?
  • Knowing how to create a sophisticated value-chain of cross functional teams and platforms throughout an enterprise?
  • Defining the investment required of a brand to implement, and evolve, their people-based marketing platforms?
  • Seamlessly integrating people-based marketing technology assets within a brand's existing technology solution stack, including partners and alliances?
  • Managing continuous improvement throughout all components of the people-based marketing value chain?
  • Identifying the investment required of a brand to deliver people based media and content, over time?
  • Predicting, then reporting, the levels by which a brand demonstrates financial success - accruing from their people-based marketing platforms?
  • Integrating the channels, and frequency, by which the consumers of a brand receive media and content?
  • Knowing to what degree media and content should be personalized, from a consumer's perspective?
  • Creating media and content which drive increased and sustained consumer engagement?
  • Managing to a budgeted cost-of-ownership to run those platforms, both in-house and outsourced?  
  • Knowing why and when a brand needs to increase or decrease their investments in these platforms over time?

I think the answer is, all of the above.

Think of your most sophisticated client case study, or marketing campaign you helped orchestrate for your brand.

Then think of your best experience, as a consumer, from your initial awareness of a brand, to the purchase experience, to the ongoing efforts a brand makes to keep your attention and business.  

In your view, which brands best leverage Addressable AdvertisingPersonalized Experiences, and CRM/Loyalty to seamlessly orchestrate a customer experience that makes you want to talk about it, share it with others, come back for more?  From the initial advertising through acquisition through purchase through retention cycles?

If you were part of the team implementing people-based marketing campaigns: 

  • How many customer segments and unique messages did you create? 
  • How unique was your media and content - delivered, and opened, and engaged? 
  • How was that media and content operationalized throughout the enterprise, and through which channels? 
  • Did you identify 3 cohort segments to communicate with?  16?  65? 
  • To what degree is your content 1:1? 
  • And were you able to track incremental financial impact, directly correlated to the degree of personalization you were able to implement in your campaign?

These questions we ask of ourselves, and our client partners, gets me to thinking:

The sophistication of the algorithms which allow us to define for brands the segments making up segment-marketing  campaigns, coupled with the sophistication of the associated media and content created for that segment (i.e. to what level is a message personalized, beyond name and address?), is what allows us to illustrate a broad story about people-based marketing - and the level of sophistication brands aspire to achieve.

All brands need strong and relevant segment-marketing as a foundation from which to build more sophisticated 1:1 campaigns — with media and content that is hyper-personal, created from willingly-shared data the brand collects over time, and therefore the messages coming back are hyper-relevant to the consumer.

It’s an enterprise initiative which delivers a spectrum of returns from the investments in the components of a people-based marketing value chain: Addressable AdvertisingPersonalized Experiences, and CRM/Loyalty.

Here is the universal use-case: 

What media and content is more hyper-relevant to us than how much "currency" we have with a brand (however that currency is tracked, or minted), and how that brand allows us to utilize that currency? 

It comes down to what data the brand is tracking on us, how that brand leverages those data attributes to create offers and incentives, how the brand operationalizes that data over time, and how the brand integrates that data within the channels that we interact. 

In a great example from New Balance, they create Personalized Experiences which leverage data from their CRM/Loyalty value chain and allows them to communicate directly, and in real-time: 

Take the example of one of their female consumers -- she is an avid runner, is open to sharing her data and receiving offers, she is from California, and happened to be traveling in New York during the time of their campaign.  They used their people-based marketing platform to communicate with their loyal members, in real-time. They sent her a text, and made her aware that there is a local marathon she could participate in, and then invited her to pick up her complimentary marathon lanyard, as a gesture of their appreciation, because she is a loyal advocate to their brand.

That is about as hyper-specific as brands get, these days.  

From your perspective, which brands deliver the most hyper-relevant and engaging media and content, and do their consumers react as intended?

Increased sophistication means that a unique message is ready for consumers through all channels they interact with (via call center, a POS system, the brand’s website, their mobile app, and also includes direct mail).

Every brand has a loyalty program - whether they manage it proactively or not, whether they mint currency, or not.  (The absence of one, is a program in itself.)  Loyalty needs to be as tightly coupled within the people-based marketing value chain as the advertising and personalized experience components.

A brand’s loyalty platform generates currency from, and for, consumers - through their sustained transactions and engagements with the brand. That currency (both monetary and non-monetary) creates an important bridge which allows a brand to evolve the sophistication of their segment-based marketing campaigns inclusive with their 1:1 marketing opportunities. CRM/Loyalty data provides for rich media and personalized content, and is integral to the people-based marketing value chain.

In turn, this allows enterprise brands to deliver sophisticated financial results back to their business.

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Michael F. Hemsey 

As President at 500friends, a Merkle company, I have the privilege to lead the product strategy, market expansion, loyalty technology, and client delivery teams. Together, we work with the world’s top consumer brands — helping them cultivate long, profitable relationships with their customers.


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