As regular readers of this blog know I am not a fan of individualized marketing. I think it is highly overrated vs just creating a good product and messaging it effectively.
So when I was approached by Teradata to be interviewed for a chapter in their new eBook on “Individualized Marketing” I told them I would be happy to help, but they might not like what they heard. They hesitated when I told them I believed most individualized marketing “solutions” were just BS. But to their credit they probed a little more and together we dug into what I believed actually was valuable in the world of individualization.
Here is how the interview turned out:
Edward Nevraumont, chief marketing officer for A Place for Mom, says that Individualized Marketing is important to a business like his, which helps elders find living situations based on their needs and preferences. “The advisor-family relationship is the core of our business,” says Nevraumont. Establishing and cultivating that relationship, and providing good service to customers, only happens through an in-depth understanding of each person.
Nevraumont describes three factors that make Individualized Marketing possible in his business:
- Use opt-in, customer volunteered information. This information is usually initially gathered on the website by offering choices and using filters, but the real detailed personal information comes through one-on-one engagement with an adviser.
“We have customers talk to advisors, and we ask them what exactly they want in a living situation.” The advisor collects lots of personal information, such as whether they prefer a small, intimate community, or a big community with lots of activities. Do they play bingo, or do they like gardening, or do they like great views, or do they like swimming. Do they have acuity needs, what are their budget requirements, and a great deal more. Based on all this information, the advisor makes recommendations for places to visit, and then captures feedback from those visits. “It’s letting customers decide what they want rather than trying to guess based on incomplete information,” says Nevraumont.
- Market to the different need states. Nevraumont says, “You need to identify the needs states of your customers and then tie your marketing messages to as many of those different need states as possible.” In the case of A Place for Mom, that’s a matter of understanding needs expressed by customers, and being able to satisfy them by saying yes, we can help with independent living, we can help with senior living, we can help if you are looking for a place for your mom, or yourself, we can help with home care, we can help if you want to do gardening, we can help all of those need states. Identifying the need states comes largely through analyzing customer-volunteered information.
- Make your message relevant to what people are looking for at that moment in time. “If they signal their interest in something, you must respond directly to that individual interest,” says Nevraumont. For example, if someone searches on Google for cheap umbrellas, your ad should show them cheap umbrellas. If you show them luxury umbrellas, or a generalized list of accessories, you will be less likely to convert.
You can download the entire eBook for free on the Teradata website here. Note you will need to give them your email address and they may choose to re-market to you (individualized I assume). They tell me the book will be made available outside the paywall in about 30-days.
For more on why I think individualized marketing is BS, you might want to sign-up to read my book before it is published. By signing up you will be sent the first chapter right away, and then get regular updates as more chapters are written.