Winning the Consumer Personalization Revolution

By Srishti Gupta 

I was thrilled to attend the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last week. It was amazing to not only be in such a breathtaking location but also surrounded by undoubtedly many of the world’s most creative and impactful marketers, including many of IRI’s clients and partners (special thanks to comScore for co-habiting a cabana with us!)

All of the sessions I attended and conversations I had during the event convinced me more than ever that we are gearing up for a world in which customized content, delivered to consumers in real-time, contextually relevant moments will be the norm in the very near future. One of the major proof points is that how all of us are consuming media is fundamentally changing.

Consider these stats: Of the 7.35 billion people currently on the planet, 50 percent are mobile users, 43 percent are active internet users and 20 percent are on Facebook. That’s right – one-fifth of the world’s population is on a single technology platform. Also, there are now 900 million people on Facebook chat and one billion people on WhatsApp. These chat numbers alone have huge implications for marketers, as Facebook has recently launched “chat bots” (chat robots) that so that consumers and businesses can communicate. Even though chat bots are not popular yet in the U.S. and Europe, consumers in Asia are regularly using them (including via the one-billion-users messaging service WeChat) to schedule appointments, shop, play games and send money.

It’s not just consumers’ media behavior that’s changing – our purchase behavior is too. Smaller-format stores have increased while foot traffic at big-box retailers has decreased. Mobile retail represents 48 percent of global retail sales, and has grown from $3 billion in 2010 to an estimated $31 billion in 2016. Mobile advertising revenue has risen 43 percent in just the last few years and is expected to skyrocket further. Advertising dollars are sure to follow the rise in mobile purchase.  

Marketers have access to more and better data than ever before, and can use all of this data to target the right consumers in the right way in their demand moments. This means no longer having to rely on data from representative samples. Instead, marketers can gain access to near-census data with the most granular information on brick and mortar and e-commerce purchase data, media viewing data and several other data type sources.

Studies show that people want personalized experiences that are relevant and timely. It gives them a sense of control and reduces their perception of information overload. Unfortunately, the problem for many companies in doing this remains: They have extremely rich CRM data but all of that data sits in silos, unable to talk to each other and unable to work together to provide richer and more holistic insights.

If your company is not already organized in a way that you would be able to use a single, seamless platform to drill down from various, otherwise unconnected data sets and then create decisions from the insights you learn, this is something you’ll want to consider. (The alternative is continuing to purchase separate pieces of information for different decisions, and potentially missing out on valuable insights.) 

In this coming world of consumer personalization, we at IRI believe that all media and promotion initiatives will be individualized and addressable. Data will be real time and integrated. And, being able to measure the impact will be the foundation of every single demand programs. This future requires marketers to take five important action steps:

1. Be consumer back versus only company forward – Make decisions around the improved experiences consumers will have with your brand, not just the impact on the company.
2. Create millions of microsegments – Shift targeting focus away from segments with millions or even thousands of people to segments of hundreds or even tens.
3. Use real-time data, platforms, analytics and execution – Set up your data sets, systems and teams to be able to react in real time to new information as it comes in.
4. Measure the impact of every consumer interaction – If you can’t measure your customers’ reactions and experiences, there is no way that you can manage them.
5. Move quickly, speed matters – Just look at how much has changed with digital and mobile during just the past few years.  

As my industry colleague Anne Bologna, chief strategy officer for iCrossing, perfectly stated during our discussion with Gayle Fuguitt of ARF during Cannes Lions, “The future of marketing is to build experiences that feel more like Apple than the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles].”

Which would you rather be?

To learn more, including what IRI is doing to help CPG manufacturers and retailers move closer to consumer personalization in their marketing strategies, click here.

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