What is the most effective way for a brand to reach its consumer? And what defines how they build not just effectiveness but rather do so with authenticity in the consumer’s life? This is the number one question in the marketers’ mind set. And there was a time this was done in a simpler and wider form through just print and television with a wide range understanding of demographics based on place (rural, urban- SEC A, B, C) or through a wide understanding of the economic, gender and age of the wider consumer who would consumer what we can call traditional media in today’s world.
But we don’t live in a world of segments but rather we live in a time of cohorts or tribes of consumers. Using data from digital/social platforms we can now pin point not just the wider demographics but rather through the kind of content the consumer actually likes to consume and what they either purchase or look to purchase online. We can razor sharp focus on the customer that is in all forms “The consumer” for the brand. This can be further broken down into sub cohorts which can enable us to hyper target content to them basis their life stage in the product purchase cycle.
Look at any personal care brand, while its target set might seem wide its sub cohorts (or types of consumers segregated by purchase behaviour) will be wide ranging and differentiated. One sub set will be the first time buyer who need to understand at its base level how this brand/product is right for them, another set will be those who are loyal to a certain kind of product and are looking for a variation of the same, the third kind are the experimenters who want to continually try newer products and look for the newest deals out there. In short “The newbie, the loyalist & the experimenter!”
While all three might end up purchasing the same product in some instances, how you target/ sell to them is widely differentiated because of the kind of consumer they are. It’s like ensuring every single person has a customised consumer experience that is built on their consumer behaviour to ensure they have the path of least friction in getting what they’re looking for. This is a great way to provide not just great consumer value and purchase experiences but also this method also helps avoid stereotypes because the consumer of today rejects unwanted stereotypes but demands authenticity.
On the other hand, is one size fits all dead? Not at all, a creative that is built on brands values is a strong weapon in building wide ranging consumer sentiment and recall. As long as it’s a creative that appeals to everyone across demographics building on all the sentiments and emotions we have all associated with the brand or the brand wants us to associate it with it can be a massively affective weapon in building brand value with consumers.
So where does that leave the one size fits all vs customised creative argument? Who ever said you need to choose one?
The trick in today’s time of platform/media abundance is to use the right medium in the right method. Build wide ranging one size fits all creatives for larger brand recall/brand building but also focus on building a multitude of smaller yet hyper targeted creatives that build on product attributes (based on the relevant consumer cohorts). This blend of customised content working in parallel to the larger communication builds consumer delight and loyalty as well as continuation in life cycle by evolving with the consumer.
The trick is to find the right mix.
Many DTC ( direct to consumer/E-commerce) brands have chosen to do away with the larger one size fits all piece and stick to just the battalion of mini customised pieces through razor focussed precision marketing, especially in their start-up phase. This has enabled them to sell straight to the consumers and build sampling as well as strategize mainly on their e-commerce sales focus. However as brands grow there is and always will be the need to do wider communication pieces because while the value that a product gives a consumer drives initial consumer behaviour, it’s the wider pieces that focus on the brands values that help build long term consumer loyalty. It’s this barnacle of value and values that help drive the communication/marketing mix for a brand today. And consistently learning from consumer data that the digital economy allows us to dig deep into means we cannot just build a consistent narrative but also shift its mix as well as direction basis what we learn from our consumers themselves.
Your consumer data for your brand decides your mix, and that helps build your marketing authenticity and relevance.