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Many factors go into providing a great brand experience. Among them is feeling valued not just as a customer but as a person. It feels good to have a relationship with a business: the barber who knows the way you like your hair; the barista who remembers your drink order.
In the past, the world was full of these personal connections, but they slowly began to disappear after the invention of mass media allowed companies to reach large audiences more efficiently. Messages started to become crafted for the masses, and marketers built brands to forge connections with personality types rather than with people themselves.
For a time we lost much of that personal connection with the businesses we buy things from. But we never stopped craving it. Today’s technology has enabled a level of personalization that, until now, has not been possible. Just as TV changed things all those years ago, technology – specifically, the evolution of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile devices – is shifting us back to a more personal way of marketing, and Facebook is at the forefront of this transformation.
The personalization era
While TV has always delivered a shared, communal experience, the smartphone gives people a completely personalized screen they carry with them and check constantly. Therefore it should come as no surprise that consumers are starting to demand a more personal relationship with businesses.
The onset of mass media might have made brands possible, but to survive, these brands must now be personal. People expect the companies they choose to treat them as individuals, to respond when they have feedback and to be accountable.
This era of personalization represents one of the biggest marketing shifts in generations. Facebook, which is built around people and the things they care about, is uniquely positioned to lead this shift. Each day 802 million people visit Facebook, and in a privacy-safe environment, businesses can connect with the people who matter to them in a way that’s uniquely personal.
A better way to advertise
The key to making marketing personal again is by combining real identity, massive scale and the best targeting available.
Whether they’re launching a new product or increasing the share of an existing one, companies can use Facebook to reach people consistently with a meaningful, relevant message – a stark contrast from other mass media that limit brands to interacting with people on an infrequent or inconsistent basis. This empowers marketers to amplify their brand’s story and make it more impactful over time.
For example, Sport Chek was able to target 18-to-34-year-olds, a demographic it knew was no longer engaging with the traditional paper flier, through a social flier campaign on Facebook.
Results have been so strong that Sport Chek recently got rid of the brand’s paper fliers for a two-week test and replaced them completely with digital spend – the majority of which was on Facebook. During that time, national in-store sales grew 12 per cent year-over-year and in-store sales of items promoted on Facebook grew 23 per cent.
Tapping into the power of personal enables businesses to move beyond blunt demographics and toward perfectly timed and tailored messages so they can speak directly to the people they’re trying to reach. We know that millions of Canadians have their News Feed in the palms of their hands when they’re buying products and shopping in stores – opening up a vast new territory of potential for seeing what friends or family are purchasing or what they recommend. Getting more personal also gives businesses more flexibility on how and when to approach customers. This not only makes for more efficient, more effective marketing, but it adds real value to people’s lives, which is good for everyone.
Personalized advertising works
This shift to personalization is more than just an opinion – it’s something we can see in how marketing dollars are spent. Canadian marketers allocated $267-million to paid social network advertising last year, according to recent estimates from New York-based market research firm eMarketer. That’s a gain of more than 35 per cent over 2012, and their outlay on social advertising is set to surpass 10 per cent of total digital media spending by the end of 2015.
Facebook will continue to leverage our understanding of people to make marketing even more personal, and do it at massive scale. After all, this is not only what marketers are demanding. It’s what people have always wanted: a more personal relationship with the businesses they buy from.