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It's not how much you spend, but how much you care

We live in a world where our interests are tracked by our online searches, our social media is open to the public eye and someone can get to know you by simply typing your name in a search bar. Algorithms have been put in place to get to know your habits, likes and dislikes which is quite remarkable.
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According to research, the first signs of advertising are said to originate in Ancient Egypt. Throughout the years that followed, marketing developed even further:
  • The first print ad was published between 1476 and 1477.
  • The first newspaper ad was published in the US in the very early 1700s.
  • The billboard was introduced in the 1800s.

The late 1900s brought the Golden Age of Advertising. With radio and television, adverts were able to speak to people directly. For companies to build their brands, characters or famous faces were used to sell products. Selling being the aim, until online marketing appeared.

Online marketing brought a new dimension to advertising. Instead of focusing on generic sales, the consumer becomes the core focus of the advert, with adverts speaking to how the product would benefit the consumer. This brought about its own set of challenges where there was a lack of trust from the consumer.

As a result of this, advertising further evolved into Facebook ads. This allowed consumers to speak to other consumers before trusting a brand. Leading us to where we are today with targeted, personalised adverts.

The advancement of marketing has progressed throughout the years, becoming more personalised and more targeted than ever before.

But what is missing?


The personal touch point in marketing is one of the key ingredients in a B2B or B2C relationship that the technology of today can help deliver. Technology and personal, genuine touch may seem like they exist on the opposite sides of the spectrum, like a granny at a Comic Con convention, but it can provide the information needed to delight customers.

An example of this is when KLM Royal Dutch Airline decided to put a little joy into the lives of waiting passengers with the help of social media. KLM looked for passengers who checked into their flights on Foursquare and tweeted about waiting to board. They proceeded to do more research on the person to find out more about them, and then surprised them at their gates with a personalised gift.

Social media assisted with gaining information about the person who they were surprising, however, the personal aspect of meeting the passenger and handing them a gift was the welcomed addition. Not only did it put a smile on the passenger’s face, but the campaign gained over a million impressions on Twitter.

Is this creepy?


Perhaps. There may have been the initial shock and curiosity of how the airline managed to get a gift entirely suited to them. However, judging from the numbers and impressions the campaign received, this does not seem to be the case.

Every time we shop, we share details about our shopping patterns with retailers without us realising. Retailers analyse our information to find out what we like and need. This will assist in creating targeted specials for us when we visit their store.

According to InMoment 2018's CX trends report, a whopping 75% of consumers said they find personalised ads and branding at least somewhat creepy.

Is it worth it?


Despite some companies obtaining our personal data, personalisation is vital in marketing. It is the best way to increase customer engagement and customer experience.

Adding a human touch to the customer experience creates an emotional connection. This can make the customer feel valued and important (which they are). Customer care goes further than just providing a service.

When sending a personalised gift to a customer, just remember, it is not about the value of the gift, it is about the thought and kindness behind the gift that is given.

About the author

Belinda Unterslak, events and marketing coordinator at Synthesis

Let's do Biz