‘If the shoe fits’…Customer-focussed content is going to get a lot more focussed
In amongst the good, the bad and the ugly of this year’s Technology for Marketing and Advertising exhibition at Earl’s Court (The ‘ugly’ being in the form of huge queue lengths to get into any of the seminars), I was lucky enough to get into a fantastic talk by Mark Zablan, Managing Director ofExperian, and Simon Wilkinson, Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Dr Martens. The theme of the 40-minute presentation was ‘Big Data’, and how to filter that down to the ‘Right Data’; the stuff that will help you pinpoint and focus exactly how and what you serve up to your consumers, both offline and in digital. With a continuing focus on content marketing in social, it was a pertinent discussion around how to refine and target this content to create ‘sticky’ consumer experiences based on informed data.
One of the main points for consideration came from Simon Wilkinson explaining about the ‘average Dr Martens customer’ and the fact that they don’t really have an average customer, they have profile groups. From the stereotypical ‘This Is England’ skinheads, to 90’s Grungers, to whatever nutters shell out £500+ for these gaudy, diamond-clad numbers, (I doubt it’s this guy…)
Anyway, it got me thinking about all these communities that brands and agencies have helped build on social media over the last couple of years, and the continuing stream of inventive and original forms of content served up to them. Many hours are spent coming up with brand-relevant content ideas to get these communities to engage with your brand. But look at the numbers involved in some of these large brand’s social media presence: Dr Martens have over 250,000 Fans on Facebook. That’s a quarter of a million people who are fans of their brand and have almost certainly at one point or other bought their shoes. That’s a quarter of a million people that want to be kept up to date about Dr Martens, are open to their marketing content, and are highly likely to purchase their shoes in the future.
These sorts of huge fan numbers are what some brands and agencies dream about. Of course, the relevance and value of follower/fan number volume is another debate for another day, but it seems that most of us simply set about trying to build these communities without thinking of the cross sections and demographics contained within them; focusing on that total number, and not the smaller, sub-sections of it.
Yes, we can assume that these 250,000 people like Dr Martens shoes, but how many of them like Dr Martens boots that are encrusted with diamonds? Or Dr Martens covered in floral wallpaper patterns? Probably a much smaller portion of that 250,000. And this is the point Wilkinson was making; there are fans of their brand who have been wearing Dr Martens for 50 years, and have very strong opinions about these glamorous new versions of their beloved boot. So is it wise to serve them all the same content? The 100,000 followers of Ford on Twitter can be defined a great deal more than that one universal, unifying characteristic: ‘they like Ford cars.’ Just as a pre-teen kid might like M&Ms on Facebook, so might a 35 year-old woman, are they receptive to the same type of marketing content?
It’s something for marketers to think about, and I would make the argument that as our industry continues to grow up, we will start to see much more sophisticated and focused content strategies based on much more wide-ranging and granular data about exactly who makes up our online community. Yes it’s a complicated and daunting process, but the beauty of it is, all the data is out there waiting to be collected. You just need to know how and where to look. It won’t be long before brands know everything about you, and just as you get targeted display ads based on previous ecommerce browser history, we could soon be getting very targeted personal social media content based on much wider facets of exactly who we are.