Graham McGregor 's Opinion

A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: The power of personalisation

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

With many products and services you can increase sales and attract large numbers of new clients by using personalisation.

Personalisation just means you modify what you are selling so that it has more value to a particular type of customer.

Here are some examples to get you thinking:

Many years ago I wrote my first newsletter on sales and marketing. It was called "McGregor's Message" and was two pages long.

On the first page there were 2-3 simple sales and marketing ideas that people could read and use. On the back page there was a recommended book to read, a motivational quotation and a humorous business cartoon.

A good friend looked at this newsletter and said 'Graham you should customise this newsletter for different industries'.

I thought that was an interesting idea so I wrote five sample newsletters with the same basic ideas in each one.

However I modified a couple of the examples and action exercises so they were now relevant to five different industries.

One was real estate, another was professional services, one was retail selling and so on.

One of the marketing ideas was on how to get referrals. So I would explain the four steps to getting referrals which were the same for any industry or business. Then in the example for someone in real estate I would give them the exact words they could use when asking for referrals. I had slightly different words for someone offering professional services and the other industries I wrote the sample newsletters for.

I discovered that by personalising the information like this it made it much more valuable than just a general newsletter on sales and marketing. And I had a good number of sales as a result.

Years later I was writing short booklets on personal and business success. I would give these away to clients and potential clients as a way to add value and stay in touch with them.

This led to a lot of repeat and referral business.

I then personalised these same booklets by putting the names and details of some of my clients printed on the cover and inside cover of each booklet. I then showed them how they could use these same booklets (now with their name on) to stay in touch and add value to a large number of people. Many of my clients started enjoying more repeat and referral sales when they used these personalised booklets.

Now this personalised approach can be used in a huge number of products and services.

Let's say you sold bicycles.

A large number of people today who get into cycling for the first time are men and women aged in their forties and fifties. So you might offer a series of short workshops on how to get started and enjoy cycling for baby boomers who are interested in cycling. You could show them what is involved, what they need to do to enjoy cycling, and some common mistakes to avoid etc. What you have now done is offer a personalised service for a particular group of people. The bikes you sell haven't changed. However this new service would be very valuable for many potential clients.

In the supermarket recently I've noticed you can now buy a bottle of Coke with your own name on it. (And people I know are buying these.)

A marketing newsletter I subscribe to has my name "Graham" printed in each hard copy edition of the newsletter that is mailed to me. This make me feel special whenever I read it.

When you personalise what your offer you make it more valuable to certain groups of people. And it's an interesting way to make a normal product or service memorable and special.

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different" - Coco Chanel

Action Exercise:

How can you personalise what you sell? What could you include with your offer to personalise it in some way that certain customers would value?


Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email him at the link above.

Graham McGregor

A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

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