What does it say to you when one of the biggest global brands in the world focuses is its marketing efforts on individuals?
That’s what Coca-Cola’s newest push is all about – now making first and last names available on their beverages. Their famous “Share a Coke” campaign now gets even more personal, sending a message to brands about the importance of the personalized approach in an era where nameless, faceless user data has become the norm.
You may be surprised to know the program originated in Australia back in 2011, and is now featured in more than 100 countries around the globe. And it’s become a trend because in the age of “big data,” people want to feel like…people – not boxcar numbers on Excel spreadsheets. As companies continue to stress the power of metrics, scale, and algorithms, Coke has correctly reasoned there’s power in personalization and customization.
And to take this focus on the individual one amazing step further, Coke has produced more than 1,000 customized jingles (and they’re not all the same) around first names and even family names.
Then there’s the local piece, exemplified by Budweiser’s personalized marketing campaign that showcases states of the union – 11 commemorative cans and bottles featuring the locales of their U.S. breweries.
It’s another sure sign that consumers want their personalized tastes, communities, and identities reflected in the products they purchase and use. When your name – or your state – is on the bottle of your favorite beverage, a global brand like Bud can more effectively compete against locally based community business – like craft breweries.
This increased level of personal acknowledgment extends to every business and every brand. Michelle Novak, a former colleague and now a self-described “data storyteller” shares a story about being contacted by a rep from the St. Louis Cardinals who introduced himself as “your personal Cardinals” contact – after she purchased a single pair of tickets to a game.
Why would an organization the size of a Major League Baseball team focus on a single individual ticket buyer when there’s all those wealthy season ticket holder to go after?
Michelle quotes a recent MediaPost commentary by Jim Hopper that points to research from Deloitte suggesting that while season ticket holders “spend five times as much money as non-season ticket holders on non-ticket purchases from sports organizations and authorized partners,” there’s value in catering to that single-game ticket holder.
Know every fan like the season-ticket fan.
That’s because anyone – not just the big-spending season-ticket holder – can be a pathway to new marketing avenues, inisights, and better customer service.
Michelle notes that since this encounter, she has told this story countless times, she’s published it in LinkedIn, and she’s convinced other MLB teams could similarly benefit by recognizing individual fans. (And I’m sharing it here.)
And so we turn to radio, a quintessentially local media business going up against global brands, and even within the industry, syndicated talent and big networks.
How can local stations provide that personalized, localized, and customized contact and acknowledgment with fans?
As Coke and Budweiser have shown with their branding, and as the Cardinals have illustrated with their single-fan outreach, it can be as simple as answering the station phone (front desk and air studio), placing daily “birthday calls” by using the email database as a source, and making every listener – and every client – feel personal and special.
Or in the case of a new morning show, making it a point to connect with individual fans – even a major market like Chicago. Sherman & Tingle – WDRV’s new a.m. drive team – have embarked on a “Hundred Thousand Handshake Tour,” reaching out to individual listeners throughout Chicagoland in an effort to drill their marketing down to single fans. This isn’t a new promotion, and in fact, it’s an evergreen concept that any station or show could adopt to celebrate the power of individual listeners in local markets.
These programs don’t just happen. They are concerted, strategic, laser-focused marketing efforts designed to inject personalization and customization in an era of “big data.”
As radio companies expand, consolidate, and become more top-down, there’s never been a more opportune time to take lessons from big-time players like Coke, Bud, and the Cards to celebrate single fans – one by one.
It’s the real thing.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.