Editor’s Letter: The Real Big Game for Marketers Is Engaging With Consumers Individually

The scale-based advertising of the Super Bowl is increasingly an anomaly

This month’s Digital Transformation Playbook is focused on personalization as an important marketing avenue.
Sources: Getty Images

Enveloping this month’s Digital Transformation Playbook, which is focused on the burgeoning trend of personalization as an important marketing avenue, is Adweek’s annual Super Bowl issue. It’s an interesting pairing and underscores a shift in the brand-marketing ecosystem—from the power of many, to the power of one.

The Super Bowl remains one of a handful of televised media events to still draw a huge audience. Brands this year will spend $5 million per 30 seconds to get their products and messages in front of the 111 million people expected to tune in. The building drama between the reigning champion New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles and their gleeful and full-throated embrace of their underdog status will likely drive that number even higher.

But as the content in these pages that we’ve co-created with Accenture Interactive shows, the common hearth and scale-based advertising arena of Super Bowl Sunday is increasingly a stark anomaly compared to the remaining 364 days of the year when engaging with consumers as individuals is the real big game for marketers to try to win.

The main feature by regular contributor Dan Tynan looks at how retailers are rushing to carve out their own niche of personalized shopping that, in varying degrees (Amazon and Nordstrom have different philosophies here), combines human and data touch points for a more complete shopper experience for the individual wants and needs of their customers.

“Over 70 percent of retailers are trying to personalize the store experience,” Tynan quotes Brendan Witcher, principal analyst for ebusiness and channel strategy at Forrester. “We see nearly three out of four consumers responding to personalized offers, recommendations or services.”

And the focus of Jeriad Zoghby’s opinion piece is the fact that a shift to a more one-to-one conversation with—rather than an interruptive communication at—consumers will be crucial for brands of all types to master and deploy to keep pace with customer journeys turbocharged with increasingly robust computing power and connectivity.

Pointing to the 2018 Accenture Interactive Personalization Pulse report, Zoghby, who is the global personalization lead and regional lead for the Southwest for Accenture Interactive, says 75 percent of consumers say they find it valuable to create and manage a style profile that brands can use to better create experiences and make recommendations. “Customers aren’t looking for brands to define their journeys, but to design experiences that help them create their own journeys,” writes Zoghby.

In support of that notion, also check out Tynan’s list of five ways to win at the personalization game, as well as a great piece by Adweek staffer Lauren Johnson on how companies like Marriott and TripAdvisor are tapping into deep learning from AI to make travel experiences more customizable.

So enjoy the Super Bowl and the community of football and advertising fans glued to the game on TV and social screens. Come Monday, you’re on your own—and marketers know it.

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This story first appeared in the Jan. 29, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.