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Life lessons on marketing personalisation…and pride

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
September 21 2016,
updated
Since leaving school I've never had occasion to use algebra. While it doesn't occupy too much brain-space, it’s still a waste of grey matter that could probably be better utilised. But everyone has a favourite subject, and teacher, from their student days. Mine, a certain and terrifying Mr Butterworth, a marketer of the old school, taught me two things which at the time didn't strike me as particularly important, but which have come to have a bearing on my everyday working life.

Flowery? Forget it!

Loving language, and appreciating the power of words, is something that's ingrained in most marketers. Crafting copy that sings, and messaging that's powerful, is what we all strive to achieve. But that has its downside. It can make us flowery and verbose. Keen to impress with our content it's easy to over-cook the text. Punchy, particularly when it comes to online, scores more points with today’s time-poor, scan-preferring audience.

“Cut it” was Mr B’s mantra. He read our articles and press releases (blogs and tweets would have been sci-fi to him) and wielded a red pen ruthlessly. Less was always more in his eyes and using 10 words when 5 would suffice meant the extras had to go. “Would you pay to use that word?” he'd ask. Meaning, what value does it add?

So now, when relevance is what customers demand, cutting the c**p has never been more important. Personalising our marketing and talking to the “audience of one” means hiving off the fluffy, marketing speak and getting straight to the nub of what they want/need.

 

Proud? You betcha!

Assignments and homework were an occupational hazard and, if you let them, could threaten to impact on a student’s social life. Making a deadline, or at least coming close, was the challenge to be risen to and sometimes (OK, often) the quality suffered.

When it did old Butterworth took no prisoners. He wouldn't expend energy critiquing or even attributing a mark, instead he would simply ask (in bold and of course red), “are you proud of this piece of work?”  That hurt. Far more than a D-grade. It was, as he was rightly pointing out, my own time I was wasting!

Over the last 12 months we’ve seen some sophisticated customer campaigns go out the door. Like the Kellogg's mass personalisation project – 1m+ spoons, personalised in multiple languages and delivered to 30 countries – and personalised books for My Given Name, Peppa Pig and Petlandia amongst others. Complex jobs that actually make my heart swell with pride. Work that I know our team here at Prime execute with precision, our customers are happy with and that, critically, their customers value.

They say that pride comes before a fall. Taking pride though is our work’s own reward. For us Personalisation + Pride = Success. Perhaps that algebra was some use  after all…

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