“Personalisation is the highest form of segmentation”

We can’t personalise everything in a country of 1.2 bn people. Talk to people who are directly relevant to your biz, says Piyush Pandey of O&M

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 28, 2012 7:29 PM
“Personalisation is the highest form of segmentation”

In the creative domain, the earliest sign of personalisation was the Asian Paints commercial for West Bengal, which was around the grandeur of Durga Puja. The brand then went with a Pongal theme for Tamil Nadu, Onam for Kerala, Diwali for North India and so on, way back in the late 80s and early 90s, shared Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director of South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather, while talking about the theme for IMPACT’s eighth anniversary issue ‘The age of personalisation’.

“They did some stunning advertising,” said Pandey.

“Now, we can’t personalise everything in a country of 1.2 billion people. It makes good marketing sense if you are able to talk to people who are directly relevant to your business, cater to their needs, anticipate their future needs, service them properly so that you are not talking with 80 per cent of your money to those who may not be relevant to your business. That is segmentation, and personalisation is the highest form of segmentation,” he further said.

Sell a product if the person using it feels special: Prasoon Joshi
Art tries to kill and dilute itself when it tries to make sense to everyone, to its lowest common denominator. So it should make sense to its intended audience. “If your communication makes people feel special, then you have done justice to it. You should sell a product if the person using it feels special. And brands have realised that. Look at American Express when it says that ‘American Express is not for everyone’. It is not exclusive strategy; it is in fact inclusive since everybody wants to feel special. So eventually exclusive becomes inclusive,” said Prasoon Joshi, Executive Chairman and CEO, India and President, South Asia of McCann Worldgroup.

Tech has a big role to play
Technology will play a big part in the process of personalisation as it is increasingly about apps and QR codes, new devices and new screens. To be effective, addressable advertising will require a robust subscriber database, the personalisation algorithm, ad splicing technology and the required bandwidth to support all that.

“The NFC or Near Field Communication technology is the latest development in the telecom ecosystem. Though its penetration would be niche, retailers are abuzz with the possibilities it opens up in the area of personalised promotions as well as loyalty programmes,” said Sandip Biswas, Director, Tech, Media & Telecom; Strategy & Ops, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, India.

The internet’s capability to sort, select and serve relevant answers is not short of a miracle of technology created by people who have figured out how zillions of gigabytes of data can be sifted and served to the user. With this comes tremendous new opportunities for marketers – not only can relevant and contextual ads be served up to people who are searching for specific answers, but messages can be personalised, keeping in mind individual preferences.

Vendors such as Whatsonindia, an electronic programme guide for television, have personalised offerings, tailoring it to individual choices, preferences and behaviour, so that what a consumer sees on the site is a reflection of what he or she prefers.

The future
Marketers are trying to be more intuitive, more contextual and more personal. Customers too want brands to recognise them and give them that exclusivity and personal touch that has the hallmark of a great salesman – never forgetting, always connected, forever relevant.

The future is about being able to reach everyone in a personalised way. In 2020-25, when you have an app on your phone, it will be able to tell you things it believes you want to know. It will know what you have looked for in the past and throw up those stories for you. Brands delivering the right message and experience to the right user at the right time and on the right device – that is the kind of personalisation we can look forward to.

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