By Matt Pigott - July 22nd, 2016

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Plus…how Disney is knocking personalization out the park!

When, in an insomniac frenzy, the fictitious sports agent Jerry McGuire wrote his memo calling for a new business model with, quote, ‘fewer clients,’ he was promptly fired, leaving his highly paid position with nothing but a goldfish and a misguidedly loyal secretary to show for his years of graft. In the crazy omnichannel environment brands find themselves in today, were a CMO to suggest to the board fewer touchpoints would they, in similar fashion, be led to the nearest street exit; or would they have a valid point?

Is less more? Recent awards suggest…yes!

Well here’s an interesting thing: in the North American Effie Index (NAEI), P&G came out on top as most effective marketer. Behind the pharma giant were Unilever and Mars followed by, in a straight draw, Walmart, CVS Health and Truth Initiative. The five most effective marketers worldwide were Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever, P&G, and Nestle. What’s eye-catching is that this year the obsession with social media metrics has, among the winners, significantly dampened. Possibly hinting that this aspect of online marketing is beginning to mature, what the judges were more concerned with was not how good, in terms of artistic approach, a particular campaign was, but what companies managed to do with arguably frivolous data, such as Facebook likes, to deliver true customer-centricity, better business outcomes, and outstanding personalization.

Quality, not quantity, is what brands should focus on

One of the most surprising things to emerge is that the number of touchpoints used by winners has, since 2013, gone down. If these big brands with their deep pockets have been onto something, the word is now very much out. Like the Discovery Channel example in a recent Incite piece, it’s become less about how much brands are engaging on social media platforms and more about the quality and relevance of interactions. Understanding platforms to maximise the effectiveness of personalization and delivering timely, engaging and relevant data, of the right length and in the correct formats according to platform demands has, for major companies, been pushed far higher up the agenda. And, like the kid in the sweet shop, many marketers have come to realize that too much of a good thing, in the end, can become counterproductive.

Effective communication with customers and transparent personalization is not necessarily about diversity of platforms and jump-off points for conversation, but about the quality and singularity of conversation. In short, what the NAEI collective have demonstrated is that it’s better to have a select handful of go-to point for information and interaction, than a dozen go-to points, all of which fall short of customer expectations. Put another way. That said, brands that can provide both are to be applauded.

How Disney is knocking omnichannel and personalization out the park

Responsive, slick, dynamic. These are all words to describe Disney’s digital and real life experience for consumers. There’s little that can’t be done through the company’s mobile app, from booking a trip to planning where to eat and booking the venue. The app further streamlines the visitor experience providing ride locations, and even delivers up-to-date estimated wait times for its attractions. Life-sized Disney characters – Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Mary Poppins – magically know the names and birthdays of children based on digitally harvested information that subsequently gets used in transparent and highly innovative ways. Increasingly, quality data drives the real time Disney experience for visitors, adding a sprinkle of seemingly telepathic magic to their visits and memories.

With guests credit cards linked to unique ID numbers, a purchase isn’t just a purchase but an opportunity for Disney rides to make relevant automated purchasing suggestions. Forearmed with digitally held knowledge, repetitive recommendations are avoided. Got a Minnie set of ears, then how about a set of Goofy teeth? That sort of thing. As most good brands know, too much repetition swiftly sounds the death knell of transparent personalization, and destroys the illusion of real magic happening.

Said Chairman of Walt Disney, Tom Staggs: “We’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest.”

Digital making magic possible

Delivering meaningful and relevant content to people when and where they want, bringing the virtual and real worlds together in an enchanted moment, are fast becoming the pegs on the dominant framework marketers choose to hang their campaigns upon. From here on in, the mantra for reaching out to and connecting with customers will be customization, personalization, localization, in that order – something that Disney is getting right.

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