x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Manar Al Hinai: A gentle push is best in marketing

Don't harrass your customers. Instead create a tailored marketing approach that interests rather than antagonises them.

We all receive emails or text messages that state: “Save 50 per cent. Last chance. Hurry, hurry, hurry.”

Like me, you have probably received dozens of emails and text messages that have absolutely no relevance to you whatsoever. I often moan to my friends about being bombarded with messages from UAE nightclubs when I have no idea how they received my details.

“Your digits along with others must have been sold,” my friends tell me. I insist that if these companies had even a basic understanding of marketing, they would at least research their customers to ensure they are eligible recipients for such promotions.

Then again, what about marketing approaches that are too personal. I find them to be equally freaky. Let me shed light on an example. I recently received a phone call from an insurance company in the UAE on my personal number. The agent started off by asking me how my workday in company X was going? I asked the caller how the insurer knew these details, and the agent tried to dodge the question. They then stated that they knew I do not currently invest my money in insurance, and therefore would like to offer me a tailored product. That crossed the line. Again, I asked where they received my number from and they said that a friend had passed it on. I did not buy this answer – my friends would never do such a thing as they too find such calls irritable.

Consumers like it when an approach feels personal, but too much personalisation could actually harm your business.

Here a few examples to be avoided when you next market your product:

How personal your marketing approach gets depends on your relationship with your customer. If you know your customer well, then sharing some offers with them via WhatsApp or creating a tailored email is fine. Do not interfere in your customer’s personal space such as speaking to them on specific messenger mobile applications if they are not loyal customers or you have not asked permission to communicate with them via this platform in advance.

When it comes to email marketing, make sure you market your products based on your customer’s location. Do not send a one-day promotion offer for your branch in Abu Dhabi to your customers in Beijing. That would be considered spam, and certainly does not look smart from your end. They could block your email address. Tailor-make your email promotions based on your customers’ location.

Overdoing anything is bad. If you own an online retail store and you send your customer an email every few weeks and they are not responding or communicating with your brand, then you may want to decrease the frequency and give them some space. While it is understandable to want to remind them of your brand, bombarding them with emails that may not be relevant could lead them to unsubscribe from your mailing list and you losing them forever.

Do not send personalised emails about certain products just because your customers bought them once or twice. For example, if your customer bought a men’s tie from your website, she could have done so for a friend’s birthday. Do not use that purchase to justify sending her monthly emails on the latest in men’s ties. Wait until you notice that there is a pattern in her purchase behaviour, and use that to suggest future relevant products.

Ultimately, everyone prefers a personalised marketing approach. It gives customers a sense of uniqueness. But there is a fine line between a fine-tuned marketing approach and stalking – something that could freak your customers out. Instead of chasing customers away, take extra time and create a tailored, marketing approach that has thought put into it.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Twitter: @manar_alhinai.


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