The Generosity Marketing Manifesto

The Generosity Marketing Manifesto
In an economy increasingly focused on sharing and emotions, custom promotions represent a unique opportunity for brands to delight and reconnect with their consumers.
Michael Amar, co-founder & CEO, Ifeelgoods From tech conferences to incubator demo days, 2013 is becoming the year of the sharing economy. In San Francisco, Berlin or Paris, up and coming start-ups build businesses on subletting, ride-sharing, peer to peer lending and fresh cooked meals delivered to your door. New entrants strive for happiness by design and place emotions at the core of the user experience. As a result of a struggling economy and a renewed interest in meaningful experiences, society is redefining how it does business. However, one segment seems to still shy away from this deep-rooted revolution: the advertising industry. For fifteen years, advertising has tirelessly worked to efficiently deliver its messages. Advertising is becoming increasingly personalized. Progress in technology and marketing are the primary drivers of this change. But customer satisfaction is still lagging. According to Adobe’s study on The State of Online Advertising, 43% of consumers agree with the statement: “most marketing is a bunch of B.S. Consumers have developed an “anti-ad reflex”. All the efforts put into improving mobile marketing, developing native advertising or using programmatic buying seem, at best, useless, at worst, counterproductive. Oddly enough, today’s growing appetite of consumers craving emotionally-oriented experiences and sharing gives brands a unique opportunity to redesign the relationships with their customers. Now, marketers have the opportunity to improve their customer relationship by bringing back magic and enchantment.  And finally achieve the goal of personalized advertising. How? By giving their customers something that they actually want. Today, advertisers and agencies can target and optimize their ads by demographic data, distribution channels, location, timing, context, content, consumer behavior, type of banner, etc. But this customization is an “advertiser-centric” view of the ecosystem. As the economy shifts its focus to happiness, marketers must design customized communications around the customer’s needs and emotions. This focus is around what the consumer could love, want and desire. This means that now, more than ever, brands have to be more generous with their communication. And show this generosity by starting with the simplest gesture: the gift. Take all the time and effort marketers spend on how to contextualize their marketing messaging to drive quality incremental traffic to their sites. When we think about the concept of peer to peer gift giving, the giver focuses on what type of gift to give the recipient to maximize happiness.  Shockingly, marketers take a very myopic view and adopt a marketer-centric approach instead of thinking customer-centric. What if a targeted promotion could be more effective by being received as a gift? Similar to peer to peer gift giving, think of your customers tastes or interests. Look for a casually dropped hint that could speak volumes about what could make him or her happy. In short, rely on information that your consumer has already given you. Now imagine what a consumer might think of a brand that gives out iTunes Codes after he or she bought something from an iPhone. Imagine how the perception of a Kindle user might change if a subscription to a newsletter is augmented with a chapter of his favorite ebook. Won’t the feeling of intrusion give way to an expression of gratitude when a gamer is rewarded with a 1-month subscription to Xbox Live? Each of these messages is targeted at a specific segment of users, in a specific context. The promotion is therefore highly relevant. But the generosity that underlies each of these messages also puts the consumer in a better position to receive this offer. It is not randomly thrown at him, with the hope that the message would stick. A well-designed, personalized promotion will be perceived as a genuine gift – a gift that acknowledges the consumer on the one hand, and expresses the gratitude of the brand on the other. Imagine how your relationship with your customer can change if he or she receives a gift rather than a custom discount of 10% or 20%? It’s a complete shift in paradigm. Gartner calls this transfer of power from the advertiser to the consumer the “me marketing”. And technology helps solve the issues of distribution and activation. In today’s digital era, the field of possibilities is incredibly vast. Digital goods, distributed using a secure code at the end of the customer journey, can range from digital gift cards, to premium content, specific online gaming currencies, etc. With a face value ranging from 10 cents to 200 dollars, advertisers can now optimize any type of promotion by tailoring the face value of the prize to the action taken. Today, many leading brands have already integrated their contextual advertising and promotional offers. They are helping shape a new ecosystem. The ecosystem of generous marketing, which unites consumers, distributors, traders and technologists, enables brands to be more virtuous than ever before.