In the era of personalisation, a one-size-fits-all way to communications no longer works. Audiences are diverse as are their motivations to making purchasing decisions. From students to pensioners, the challenge for brand marketers is to create strategies that will enable them to communicate with consumers in different life stages. This, in turn, will help them ensure a positive customer experience for everyone.
We recently unveiled the results of our consumer research into the housebuilding sector. The statistics revealed inconsistencies in brand communications with consumers in different life stages: 48% of pensioners and 43% of empty nesters reported receiving no communications through any channels, while 17% of students said they do not receive enough.
The sector places greater priority to efficiency over effectiveness, with narrow targeting the norm for housebuilding brands. New parents were the only group to report exposure to outdoor advertising, while students are targeted on social media more than all other groups combined.
Aside from life stage targeting inconsistencies, the research also revealed limitations in the breadth of channels used by the sector, with social media usage at a mere 14%. Housebuilding brands mainly use social as a tool to raise brand awareness and increase advocacy, failing to integrate them into the customer service experience, which would help enhance a seamless customer journey between online and offline.
When targeting different groups of consumers, it is important to remember that they will inevitably be seeking different information. First-time-buyers will be interested in information on finance, whereas empty nesters and pensioners will be after quality-of-life guarantees. In order to engage with consumers across different life stages, brands need to adapt their comms to address diverse customer needs.
This is imperative if a brand is to grow. By zeroing in on a specific group of consumers, brands impact their ability to increase the number of people who buy into them. The way forward is to target all potential consumers within a category.
So, how can brands do that?
Thanks to the abundance of data available today, brands can analyse consumer behaviours to discover common motivations, goals and preferences, all of which can help in forming personas. Personas can offer valuable insights to effect behaviour change by identifying triggers, offering a deeper understanding of customer needs. From analysing links people click on emails to conversations on social media and browser activity, data can provide the necessary information to assist brands in changing customer perceptions and increase their market penetration.
This is of course dependent on the quality of content. Our research into the housebuilding sector revealed customer dissatisfaction with messaging, with insincere ‘last chance’ statements and cheesy exaggeration frequent occurrences. Brands in any sector succeed in communications by providing content that is relevant to the group targeted and can evoke an emotional connection.
But getting the messaging right is only part of the course. The channel through which the message is delivered is just as important. Occupying customers’ preferred touchpoints is where you should be. Programmatic advertising enables brands to reach targeted audiences with different messages at scale. By identifying audience splits and triggers, brands can develop messages targeted to each split – this will allow brands to customise the central campaign with different creative aspects for each split, optimising performance without the need to run multiple campaigns.
Ultimately, it comes down to helping customers. Finding a distinctive voice is key. But ensuring relevance of messaging and deploying the right message through the right channel at the right time is how brands not only remain relevant but keep growing.
Just take a look at Redrow’s ‘make better memories’ brand-led campaign. It resonated with consumers thanks to its built-in emotional undertone. By asking consumers what ‘home’ means to them, Redrow was able to form meaningful connections to different groups of consumers. The central campaign was then programmatically deployed on digital channels with adapted creative to engage different consumer groups. The result? Website traffic grew by 80%, with branded search traffic also seeing a significant increase.
In a landscape populated with brands all vying for consumers attention, getting comms right has never been more important. Creating content relevant to its intended target audience is how brands make themselves known to consumers. The key to a successful strategy is dialling up relevance, matching the frequency of communications with the correct channels, deploying the message at the correct time. Brands that deliver on this principle can grow exponentially.
Ben Quigley is group chief executive officer at e>erything d.fferent.