Smarter Marketing with Armchair Analysis

Many industries today are changing at such a rapid pace, experts are struggling to keep up.  Advertising is one such industry.  Television is no longer the premier medium to get your message to market.  Companies need to engage and address the needs and interests of the consumer or risk becoming irrelevant.

Today, marketing is less about the one-to-many, and more about the one-to-one – it’s not about talking to- but with– the consumer.  Companies that thrive today have successfully moved to more pervasive, personalised marketing campaigns by tapping into the growth of smart phones and social media

And yet, as I sit in my state-of-the-art A380 headed for Dubai, one of the most innovative cities in the world, I am watching the same advertisement for Shangri-La Hotels that I’ve seen on every flight this year, before every movie I’ve watched, being shown to every passenger on every flight for this carrier.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this ad.  A lone man, lost in the snow, so cold he is near death.  He collapses, and you watch in complete awe as a pack of wolves cuddle up to him to keep him warm – a touching moment between man and beast.  Capped off with the heart-warming phrase “To embrace a stranger as one’s own.  It’s in our nature.”  A brilliant piece of advertising – just a shame Shangri-La hotels are not on my company’s approved hotel list and this ad is completely wasted on me.

Here’s my dilemma.

Working in the field of analytics, I know the amount of information frequent flyer programs capture about my travels and my preferences.  They know when and where I fly, they know when and where I stay.  They know my seat preference, my demographic, my employer, my husband, my children.  They are connected to me on social media – therefore they know I’m a coffee-snob, sports-mad, career-mum, multi-tasking Melbournian.

So why is it, when I sit in my allocated seat, on my pre-booked flight, using my pre-registered frequent flyer profile, I’m presented with the same advertising as the middle-aged man and teenager sitting either side of me?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put a little more “personal” in the personal video screen?

If my screen could talk, I want it to say: “Welcome back, Kat!  Today I have four new episodes of your favourite TV shows.  Did you know, the sequel to the movie you watched on your last flight has just been released?  I’ve also put together a list of new-release movies that I think you’ll love based on movies I know you’ve enjoyed in the past.  Have you thought about buying these two cute toys we have in the duty free catalogue for your kids?  Oh, and don’t forget your favourite song playlist.  Enjoy your flight!

We have the information.  We just need to leverage a little insight.

Using business analytics, we can group together customers that have similar buying patterns and preferences.  Using these behaviour-based profiles, we can then make recommendations based on what we think they would like.  More than that, because we know the individual, we can target specific advertising and offers based on their profile, past behaviours, and insight we’ve been able to capture from social media.

Market-basket analysis is so last decade.  Consider this, “armchair analysis”.

Why stop at the airplane?  The same technology could be leveraged to stream personalised advertising to home TVs based on information we know about the household recipients.

I know many people fear the idea of companies knowing so much about them.  But let’s face it, they already do.  We may as well get a little benefit from it.

There is one thing I need more of – time.  I, for one, welcome the time saved by seeing advertisements for products that are relevant to me.  And I thank the company in advance that makes it happen!