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On just the title alone, I’m sure that any ad agency folks in the reading audience are already polishing their blunt objects and planning an attack on my office as we speak. So may I begin by saying, please read further before you kick the hinges from the doors.

The main point is, as marketers we all need to have a real and frank conversation as to what role mass marketing plays in the grand scheme of things, and what other techniques must be employed to close the continuous loop on all sales and marketing efforts.

As mass marketing and advertising goes, there is and always will be a place for it. After all, it is how we first plant the proverbial seeds of want and desire into the collective consciousness of our new yet-to-be-customer targets. From television and print ads, to billboards and mall signs, to direct mail, all of these have a place in the marketing ecosystem.

In fact, they still work, regardless of what you may have heard about the traditional ad industry as a whole. Studies still prove that over 40% of consumers have made a purchase in the last three months due to a direct mail piece they received, more than 50% of millennials pay attention to print ads, and more than 55% of all consumers trust print marketing more than any other advertising method.

But there is a time, place and reason for these more traditional methods—it’s all about acquisition. In essence, it’s casting the net. The greater question becomes, how does one keep a customer long after they have converted?

This is where the more modern aspects of customer engagement come into play. In the days of old: you know, like up to 2017, the way retailers worked was to advertise over and over to hopefully drive the same folks through the door over and over again. And yes, it worked—at least somewhat. But the measurability, predictability, and business intelligence as we know it today was yet to be discovered.

Now, the times have changed. And yes, as stated, millennials do pay attention to print ads, and so on, but what they expect after the fact (along with every other generation) is something vastly different. Once they convert, they want a stable and ongoing relationship, one that proves the retailer knows them, values them, and continuously proves to them that the relationship is one that is highly personalized, and not just for the masses as it was with traditional marketing.

So, in keeping with the statistical approach, here are just a few statistics that support personalization. To begin, 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences—a far cry from mass marketing techniques. Furthermore, 70%+ of customers express some level of frustration when their shopping experience isn’t personalized. That alone should be an indicator as to what customers now want and expect.

But it gets better or worse depending on where your organization is in the evolutionary stages of personalization. As of this past year, more than 45% of consumers say that they will likely become repeat customers if their shopping experience is personalized, while 60% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decisions.

The most telling is that marketers experience a base increase in sales of at least of 20% when employing personalization techniques as part of their marketing ecosystem.

The conclusion? Mass marketing is okay to drive new traffic, and no one is arguing that capturing initial market share is a must. However, that’s the limitation in a nutshell: it’s just initial market share. If organizations of all types—whether retail stores, restaurants, grocers, and more—want to foster ongoing customer loyalty after the initial draw has been made, then an evolutionary step is greatly required.

Creating an ecosystem that is designed to continually capture individualized data to offer better and more personalized experiences is no longer an option: the numbers speak for themselves. Mass marketing is here to stay. The question is, are your customers?

Andrew Armstrong

Andrew Armstrong

Chief Customer Officer

Andrew Armstrong is the Chief Customer Officer at omNovos – working globally with customers to design world-class customer engagement programs. He’s a prolific writer and speaker on topics including customer loyalty, personalization, and retail marketing technologies. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter - his open approach to all topics usually leads to a fun discussion and a few laughs.