Opinion

Micro-targeting, or segmentation on steroids

26 June, 2018 Share socially

Embracing the mantra “be yourself, everyone else is taken”, brands are increasingly demonstrating that not only should you be yourself, you should expect products and services tailored just to you, too.

Personalisation isn’t new news - Coca-Cola have been doing it since 2012 with their ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. But ‘micro-targeting’ isn’t about surface touches designed to enhance a feeling of customisation (after all, Aimee and Alejandro were drinking the same liquid inside the bottle), it’s about finding more meaningful ways to increase relevance by answering needs, wants and desires shared by ever smaller groups of consumers. Or, as Unilever CEO Keith Weed puts it, rising to the challenge of creating a “billion one-to-one relationships”. 

Striking the balance between optimizing efficiencies (with its implied standardisation) and maximising consumer relevance (with its implied individualisation) is growing in importance to many brands.

The good news is that, once the seemingly impossible circle has been squared, it’s an approach that delivers against a multitude of both hard and soft measures. Broadly speaking, it’s a very effective way of battling the big challenge all FMCG brands are facing – commoditisation - with its attendant lack of engagement, loyalty and differentiation. It looked for a while like ‘masstige’ offers would help slay that particular dragon, but micro-targeting allows brands to move away from a simply more premium offer into a more relevant offer as an effective way to break the price ceiling. 

So, how to square that circle?

1: You talking to me?

Harness smart print and packaging technologies to create more targeted connections with consumers.  Although often more ‘skin-deep’, as demonstrated by Coke, this approach is an effective way of injecting fresh energy into your consumer interactions and conversations.

2: Made for me

Adapt your core offer to the needs of each micro-segment. L’Oreal, with its broad range of haircare solutions ranging from the more expected (lift and volume) to the more niche (shine for silver hair), delivers a portfolio that feels ‘made for me’. It’s a strong combination of effective product adjustments and maximised brand experience touchpoints to deliver smart segmentation.

3: Curated by me 

Allow consumers to choose from a pre-defined menu of options to create a bespoke experience. Whether it’s sports brands with customised sneakers, home delivery kits with over 30 different meal options, or low-cost airlines with modular pricing, the creation of an offer curated by the consumer is powerful.

4: For me, and me alone

Use the power of algorithms (and production logistics) to truly tailor your offer.  The brand ‘Tails’ produces dog food that takes into account critical pooch factors like breed, age, weight, and health.  Based on the answers to 9 basic questions, Fido, Bailey or Ginger get their ‘very own’ unique blend of kibbles delivered straight to their kennel. 

Each of these approaches – designed and delivered in the right way - offers the potential to unlock significant additional value.  Defining the right strategy for your brand depends on logistical considerations, business objectives and overall level of investment.  But given consumers’ unabated desire to feel like an individual (just like everyone else), finding the best, most high impact ways to make it happen is key.