The shopper genome project

No doubt you’ve heard of The Human Genome Project–the effort to decode our species by identifying and mapping all of our genes. Ultimately it’s an effort to better understand what makes us tick, from both a functional and physical standpoint.

As a business or brand leader you have a similar challenge when it comes to decoding your current and potential consumers’ attitudes, needs and behaviors.

In a world of vast and growing choices, the pressure is only increasing to develop deep, actionable insight into your customer base.

In a world where most segments are growing slowly, your only chance for out-sized growth is to gain market share. And that requires understanding which levers to pull that are compelling enough to win new clients or grow share of wallet with existing ones.

In a world where most competitors are either engaged in a race to the bottom or stuck in tired old mass marketing techniques, you have the chance to win big by embracing a “treat different customers differently” strategy. But you need to understand how to meaningfully segment your customer base and exactly which value propositions to deliver to which segments. And you need to get into action.

In a world where smart devices are growing like crazy and (finally!) offer the promise of the right offer to the right customer at the right time, you had better be able to follow consumers as they channel hop and to deliver permission-based, highly relevant and personalized communications.

More than a decade ago Don Peppers and Martha Rodgers opined that the only true lasting competitive advantage is to know more about your customers than the competition–and to be willing to act on that insight.

That’s never been more true than right now.

 

Me-tail

If you have any element of customer-centricity in your growth strategy, then you probably already subscribe to the idea of treating different customer differently.

And you might even accept that in a sluggish economic environment, growth must often come from gaining share of wallet. And that means you must steal business from the other guy.

Enter “Me-tail.”

Me-tail is about treating really different customers really differently. It’s retail on an intensely personalized basis. It’s Peppers & Rogers notion of the one-to-one future finally becoming a reality.

Me-tail is about truly shifting your mind-set, your product offering, your marketing and your customer experience from an audience of many, to an audience of one.

Me-tail starts with the customer and focuses on building a deep understanding of what is truly relevant, differentiated and compelling to that one individual–and then acting on it.

Me-tail can be adding customized products to your assortment or deep personalization of your marketing materials. It can be training your sales people to move away from a one-size fits all mentality.

Me-tailing acknowledges the overwhelming choices (and channels and media and influencers) consumers are confronted with every day and puts the retailer firmly in the role of editor, agent, concierge.

When you do Me-tail right, the consumer says to themselves: “You know me, you get me, you value me, you make my life better in way that no other brand does.”

Sure there are still plenty of businesses that are about assortment dominance and the absolute lowest price. And plenty of consumers who only want that.

And sure, it’s frequently logistically or financially impossible to literally deliver your offering effectively and efficiently to a segment of one.

But if you can’t out-Walmart Walmart or out-Amazon Amazon, chances are you will be better off moving towards the side of Me-tail.

So pick a lane. Think Me-tailer, not just Retailer. Because it’s death in the middle.

Bricks and mobile: The 1 to 1 future is now.

Winning at retail is about consistently executing a remarkable, differentiated and relevant customer experience. And more and more, relevant means personalized.

The “holy grail” for 1 to 1 marketing has been the notion of the right offer to the right customer at the right time. The 1 to 1 future envisioned by Peppers and Rogers in 1993 is now in sight, and mobile commerce is a key to unlocking its potential.

If you don’t understand how mobile commerce will transform your marketing and your customer’s shopping experience, it’s time to get busy–and get focused.

Before very long, “bricks and mortar” will give way to “bricks and mobile.”

Consumers in your store (or nearby) with competitive pricing information, product specifications and shopper reviews.

The ability to know when your best customer (or prospect) is in your store.

The capability to deliver targeted promotions or “wow’ experiences at the relevant moment of truth.

Consumers who put their business up for bid and choose the best offer.

The criticality of a well-integrated, nearly frictionless, multi-channel offering.

Yes, a lot of current applications aren’t all that great.

Yes, many offerings suffer from a lack of unique customer identification.

Yes, the technical infra-structure at many malls and stores hinders connectivity.

Yes, mobile applications drain battery power all too quickly.

But the applications and devices will improve. Retailers and landlords are pouring tens of millions of dollars to support mobile and near-field communication technology as we speak.

The future IS happening. Now.

So what are you doing about it?