Personalised Marketing: Growing Use of Sensors and 3D Printing

By September 18, 2013

By 2014, over half of all brands will be personalising their offers to customers on websites, mobile phones and at points of sale. We bring you an overview of the latest innovative approaches.

Around 22% of all brands currently offer a real-time personalised experience to customers who go on to their websites, and in a year’s time that figure should have tripled to reach 59%. These are among the findings of a survey conducted among 600 European marketers by independent marketing platform provider Neolane. Moreover this expected increase in personalisation will rely largely on the very latest technology – the kind of sensors used for Quantified Self and 3D printing initiatives. It is easy to understand why brands are moving in this direction when we see that over 64% of the consumers polled for another report by Monetate, a cloud-based technology provider for online marketers, said it is important that firms are equipped to make them offers directly linked to their wants and needs of the moment, even if that means tracking their activities and movements.

Transforming smartphones into active sensors

Although email is currently the most mature channel in use for one-to-one marketing purposes, the Neolane report stresses that mobile and social are the most promising channels going forward. Texas-based digital marketing and advertising firm T3 (The Think Tank) recently launched a new platform for mobile application and website developers, which it has named Scout. Scout can transform a user’s smartphone into a mobile sensor. By measuring a person’s current location, the direction s/he is moving in, weather conditions and other factors, this type of app provides context to the user’s potential needs and so enables brands to customise their offer, for example suggesting to someone who is in a hot, humid environment that s/he come and have a cold drink.

3D printing personalising point-of-sale shopping experience

In addition to the digital domain, brands are also trying to bring a personalised experience to points of sale and here a number of companies have decided that 3D printing technology might be the way to attract customers into stores. The Converse brand, for example, offers customers who go to their flagship stores the opportunity to design their own sports shoes and take them away with them within the hour. Japanese company Muji invites consumers into its stores to be scanned and then prints out tiny replicas of the customers. Monetate’s advice to firms and brands is that when it comes to personalised marketing they should not be thinking primarily about a specific channel but first and foremost about the customers over the long term.

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