How infant twins crushed a fantasy football team

By Ryan MacKnight

February 9, 2017

“Looks like a healthy set of twins!"

I’ll never forget hearing the doctor tell my wife and I that we were expecting not one, but two babies! It was at this moment that I realized my entire world was about to change. While I was beyond excited about this news, my immediate course of action was to begin researching and preparing to be a parent of two, not one. As I grabbed my mobile device, I had a notification that one of my fantasy football players was injured that day in practice. Under normal circumstances, I’d be all over that notification to see if I still had a shot at beating my cousin in my upcoming matchup, but suddenly, I didn’t really care about fantasy football. I was 100% consumed with the realization I’m about to be a dad and I need help!

Not unlike many consumers, I’m an avid online researcher and shopper, so I immediately went to my favorite sites to browse, for the first time, their baby selection. After a few weeks, I had multiple baby items in my wish lists across many different retailers, purchased a twin parenting book and got a great deal on two infant car seats. Because I also work at Monetate, where we focus on how retailers and consumers interact, I was shocked that none of the messaging across channels had recognized this sudden HUGE change in my life. Prior to my wife’s pregnancy, my purchases typically included Blu-Ray movies, a Men’s Philadelphia Eagles Jersey and a talking Anchorman Doll for the mancave. And, even though I had just purchased a book about twin parents and two car seats, I was still receiving emails trying to get me to purchase the new Ghostbusters movie on Blu-Ray… when what I really needed was more baby stuff!

As consumers living in a constantly connected and changing world, we have higher expectations than we did 5 years ago. “Way back” in 2011/2012, segmentation and targeting became all the rage with consumer brands. Collecting and storing customer data, running an offline analysis to define key customer segments and targeting specific creative to these segments across multiple channels became the go-to approach to achieving better results. Targeting segments is useful and can help drive incremental improvement, but in reality, it doesn’t scale. Using CRM, DMP, and any other data your business tracks to define a rules-based, manual personalization strategy is an ok approach, however, it’s extremely costly and it treats individuals as broad groups. Unfortunately, it doesn’t account for change, like in the case of me becoming a dad.

Just like my world changed when I found out I was having twins, so did my preferences, affinities, and interests. Targeting me in a rules-based email campaign based on my historical category affinity causes me to receive the Blu-Ray sale promotion content, when in reality, I’m in the market for a wifi baby monitor. At the same time, it is likely in a rules-based segmentation world that the baby monitor email content is going to the segment of people that have viewed and/or purchased more baby products than me… and likely already have a baby monitor.

True personalization is not targeting or segmentation. True personalization establishes a 1-to-1 relationship between your brand and an individual, across all channels and touchpoints, based on everything you know about them, in every moment. To effectively establish this 1-to-1 relationship, brands need a scalable approach to making real-time decisions using every customer data point for the purposes of maximizing both the ROI of their marketing efforts, and the ROI for the consumers interacting with the brands.

Imagine taking your arsenal of content, along with a predictive, machine learning engine that leverages any customer-level data across any channel to determine which piece of content is best to show to each individual with the ultimate goal of increasing your bottom line. While this may not have been possible in the past, today’s technology is making it a real thing in the present.

This is the world that Monetate brands and their consumers are living in today. With the Monetate Intelligent Personalization Engine, brands are quickly accounting for change, as it occurs in real time, to deliver the most relevant experience to each individual. With this approach, people like me, no longer receive promotional offers for blu-ray movies, but instead receive offers for technology to keep my newborns safe, which I’m more likely to engage with and eventually purchase. With 1-to-1 decisioning, brands can interact uniquely with their customers by offering them exactly what they need when they need it, by showcasing content, offers, product recommendations and/or reviews and ultimately satisfying two needs - helping consumers find exactly what they are looking for and increasing the ROI of each marketing initiative your business rolls outs. It’s a win/win.

In my case, I still receive about 50 marketing emails a day and almost all of them are still targeting the “no, I don’t have any kids yet” Ryan. There’s plenty of opportunity here for brands to establish a true 1-to-1 relationship with each of their customers, at scale. How will you rise to the challenge?

Ryan MacKnight is a Product Manager at Monetate, focused on delivering innovative, data-driven products to the personalization market.  He joined the company in November 2012, and comes from a background of broadcast & digital advertising and marketing.  He lives in Montgomeryville, PA and enjoys spending time with family and friends, while watching his beloved Philadelphia Eagles.

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