Coke-bottles

By VICTOR AMADALA

Three years ago global soft drink company Coca-Cola made it possible for its customers to buy beverages in bottles bearing their names.

Since then, the company has taken personalised marketing to a new level, adding more options, with messages about life occasions such as birthdays and weddings to dating, even as more brands embrace this emotional marketing to tighten relationship with consumers.

With personalised marketing brands invoke the names of their clients by either inscribing them on products or personalising correspondence like emails to make them feel valued and give them a sense of recognition. This in turn earns the brand customer loyalty.

While most brands tend to execute this marketing tactic digitally, some, like Coca-Cola, are becoming more creative in delivering tangibly personalised products to their customers.

According to a 2013 marketing trends study by US firm Hanley-Wood Business Media, 78 per cent of consumers are more interested in building a relationship with brands that create unique and personalised content.

This perhaps explains Coca-Cola’s sudden growth in the UK four months after the launch of the “Share a coke” campaign in 2013, and the company’s increase in sales value by 4.93 per cent year on year to £765 million.

Sales of all colas in the UK grew 2.75 per cent, all carbonates 3.11 per cent and the total soft drinks market’s sales increased 2.36 per cent in the period, according to IRI Worldwide data.

PAY MORE

The company’s score on Brand Index’s average of perception measures – including impression, quality, value, reputation, satisfaction and recommendation – also rose by 2.8 units, from 9.6 in April when the campaign was launched to 12.4 in October the same year.

Early that year, Cadbury UK had also executed a classic personalised marketing strategy that made customers pay more for Dairy Milk chocolate bars.

The company launched an online gifting service dubbed “Joyville Made” ahead of Valentines Day, which allowed customers to design and personalise chocolate wrappers with any word, message and even a photo of the receiver.

Mark Paterson, brand manager for the campaign, said the experience was meant to give customers a chance to get involved in the chocolate creation process while offering them a new way to make a one-of-a-kind Cadbury Dairy Milk smile.

Although the campaign doubled the product’s price, the number of customers tripled that February, Cadburys said.

In November last year, Marmite, a UK food company, likewise offered consumers the chance to personalise a Marmite jar with a name by buying the jar on the brand’s Facebook page.

The company was forced to suspend the offer after three days due to overwhelming requests, illustrating the immense power of personalised marketing.

BUYING DECISION

A recent study by Responsys, a marketing cloud software and services company, found that personalised marketing is likely to sway 66 per cent of consumers to make a buying decision.

The study revealed that 61 per cent of US consumers feel more positive about a brand when marketing messages are personalised. By contrast, according to the study, 44 per cent of consumers in the country turn a blind eye to mass marketing campaigns.

Likewise, digital personalised marketing, like emails, is working for service companies and e-businesses.

A 2013 Email Marketing Study by US firm Experian ranked travel companies as the dominant users of this technique at 65 per cent, while consumer goods companies rarely use personalised digital marketing.

But Eproms, a leading brands solution company in the US, describes personalised marketing using tangible products as a diffenciating factor that brings excellent results both for consumer goods and service companies.

However, it can yield negatives, according to a study by Poznan University of Economics, which highlighted potential risks from personalised marketing.

The Poland-based institution reported that personalisation is expensive, invades peoples’ privacy and can sometimes offend some customers.