The E of Engagement
Wooing the consumer with personalised propositions
All you need is love…
Words that certainly ring true in the current consumer landscape, where retailers, CPG companies and technology players are trying their best to win over the heart of the consumer. It’s a battlefield out there, but luckily we’ve uncovered the E³ formula for finding true consumer love:
Let’s start with the first E: Engagement.
It all comes down to a simple truth: If you want consumers to engage with your brand, you must engage with them. Build Engagement by becoming a relevant, emotionally connected partner.
It takes commitment and investments to:
- learn their needs and preferences
- discover how to be relevant for their happiness
- be devoted to making them feel better.
Engagement is about addressing the consumer’s needs and presenting them with relevant and personalised propositions at the right moment.
It’s all about personalisation
Personalisation is the magic ingredient that creates loyalty and helps cement a relationship with the consumer. Personalisation initiatives should appeal to one or more of the consumer’s implicit needs and desires. This will not only stir up feelings of love (and loyalty), but also increase the switching costs for the consumer; switching to another provider would mean losing all the personal benefits they acquired.
However, you have to do it right...
The current personalisation efforts of retailers and CPG companies are mainly driven by efforts to increase transaction value. Think of personalised offers driven by cross-sell ratios. They are based on the interest of the company, not on consumer needs. And what about personalised ads in e-commerce based on past viewing or buying behaviour, they are based on click-through rates, but fail to build Engagement with the consumer.
Retailers and CPG companies that focus only on increasing transaction value are missing the opportunity to increase the customer (lifetime) value. Sure, customer value is driven by (profitable) transactions, but even more by long-term loyalty.
Advantages and opportunities
To create truly personalised propositions, companies need consumer data. And lots of it.
It’s the reason why the technology players have such a big advantage when it comes to creating Engagement. They have an unmatched breadth and depth of personal data coming to them directly from the homes of the consumer – where the technology players’ (social) media channels, cloud solutions and virtual assistance are with the consumer 24/7.
For retailers and CPG companies there is a huge potential in creating Engagement by becoming a relevant, emotionally connected partner for the consumer. Retailers, and especially food retailers, may already have an advantage with the specific depth in transaction data they have available, the omni-channel experience they can offer, and potentially their credibility to be a trusted partner.
For CPG companies it might be a bit more complex due to the lack of direct consumer interaction and thus a lack of access to consumer data. However, CPG companies and their much-beloved brands do have the opportunity to offer deep personal experiences in a specific niche of a consumer’s life.
Both retailers and CPG companies have to keep in mind that consumers are already spoilt by the technology players. Having the highest expectations and being very much used to being personally engaged in the digital space, consumers will expect the same level of personalisation in the physical world.
Inspire and recommend
Personalised propositions could inspire consumers to try new products or services (such as recipes or alternative tastes) that match their potential desires, based on their past behaviour or the behaviour of similar consumers.
AI technology is needed to learn patterns for similar consumers and behaviours in order to suggest ‘most likely’ matches.
Retailers and technology players are best positioned for offering personalised propositions, because they have access to the data-matching transactions or ratings to individual consumers.
Coach and support
Helping consumers reach their personal goals – such as healthier eating habits, losing weight, saving money or decreasing environmental footprint – is a great way to create Engagement.
It takes consumer data and AI technology to map the consumer’s behaviour, recommend actions and potentially benchmark or nudge the consumers (“Others have reached their goal today!”).
Food retailers are well-positioned since they have the breadth and depth of consumption data. Of course, technology players are well-positioned too, having sensor and health data from their consumers’ devices and profiles.
I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours...
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sources: Deloitte Grocery Digital Divide Survey 2018: Brick Meets Click – online grocery growth forecast,
Harvard Business Review October 29 2014, Adobe March 10 2017, Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2018-2019.
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