Management consultant, blog writer, dreamer
Micro Marketing surpassed mass marketing ‘big time’ as the preferred and most effective way for businesses to interact with their customers. Indeed, marketers that use micro-blogging and micro messaging achieve amazing results. In fact, micro-marketing through its content and socialization, has already moved the industry into a new marketing model; micro marketing 1.
The goal of micro marketing is regarded as matching a firm’s small segment of supply with a household’s small segment of demand in a market transaction 2. That’s in stark contrast with the goal of the macro-marketing system, which is to match aggregate supply with aggregate demand.
Here in the new economy, we’ve already moved beyond the era of centralized, top-down, command-and-control mass communications 3. Indeed, we’re now living the era of micro-content and micro-cultures. Consequently, the biggest marketing opportunities lie not in the one big thing but in lots and lots of small things.
But the advent and success of micro-marketing didn’t just happened. Indeed, it was facilitated by web 2.0 and advances in broadband data, the mobile web and, more recently, AI and Big Data.
There’s a big difference in the way mass marketers and micro marketers operate. How they do things differently is contrasted in the table below 3:
|Mass Marketers||Micro Marketers|
|Rely on mass communications||Resonate with masses of communicators|
|Broadcast messages over traditional media networks||Tap into the pass-along power and peer-peer potential of network effect|
|Target customers through interruptions||Deliver mutual value through two-way interactions|
|Plan campaigns through outdated concepts like the sales funnel, peak season and prime time||Make commitment to engage people directly in real time|
|Buy reach||Build meaningful relationships|
|Aim for awareness||Earn attention|
|Hinge on the success of one big thing||Have their success through lots and lots of small things|
The workings of Micro Marketing
Micro Marketing has come to its own right with the advent of web 2.0, especially the way it allows marketers and customers to interact, in real time and to build individual relationships. Also, referring to table above, the seven micro-marketing principles that micro marketers apply to achieve their goals and objectives, is discussed further.
Resonate with masses of communicators
It’s like getting on the same wavelength with your customers. Actually, if you understand each other, effective communications take place and customers get engaged. Indeed, the ability to have deep, lengthy, rich engagements with a relatively small audience is a key differentiator for social marketers, micro marketers, and engaged companies.
Getting people to share and comment on you content.
After all, the internet is the ideal medium to deliver something to an intended recipient after having received it from someone else. So, if you can provide content that stimulates peoples’ minds and senses, your message will quickly be shared by many, with the potential of a network effect.
Deliver mutual value through two-way interactions.
A two-conversation is a dialogue, where brands speak and listen to their audience, responding directly to their wants and needs (Carolyn Edgecomb, Impact). Therefore, with human-scale interactions, providing value and proving your worth generally trump traditional telling and selling.
Make commitment to engage people directly in real time.
“Engaged customers have positive sentiments toward the company and are actively involved with the company’s products or services” says Urska Blagojevic, in My Customer. Indeed, engagement is actually what marketing is all about – increasing communication with potential customers, building trust and forming commitment.
Build meaningful relationships.
Loyal and regular customers are essential in any business success. Therefore, micro-marketers built relationships with few customers online so to attract many. Of course, micro marketers know that establishing maintaining, and sustaining even a few right relationships makes brands more resonant; establishes preference, loyalty, and advocacy; and opens the door to new revenue.
The average consumer switches screens up to 21 times an hour and has an attention span of a measly eight seconds (Joshua Saxon, American Marketing Association). As a result, people pay the most attention to the companies that make the most meaningful connections with them, not as demographic audiences or broadly defined market segments but as individuals. Undoubtedly, people consume content that stimulates their minds and senses.
Have their successes through lots and lots of small things.
If you want to succeed with your online marketing strategy, you need to think and do small. Like doing the right small things to shift from interruptions to interactions, from prime time to engaging consumers in real time. Now marketers have the opportunity to practice micro segmentation with their online customers. After all, micro-segmentation is a more advanced form of segmentation. Here small numbers of customers are grouped into extremely precise segments, based on various factors, including behavioral predictions.
Micro Marketing, by definition, has to do with everything about marketing on a small and personalized way. In fact, micro marketing has become more relevant with the help of Big Data – that is mostly collected by means of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analyzed with algorithms.
The progress of Micro Marketing
Micro Marketing has evolved with the internet.
The marketing tools that micro-marketers used (starting more than a decade ago) were mostly social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. As a result, social media has become an integral part of most brands’ marketing strategy. No wonder, that a lot of consumer data are generated in social platforms. However, in the past, the availability of quality data was lacking and fueled mostly by demographics. Marketers, at that time, also lacked the means and tools to analyze the data properly.
Then Big Data comes along. Big Data knows your customers, and it even knows the customers you haven’t met yet. It knows where they live – what they like – what they don’t like – and more. In fact, Big Data and its analysis are transforming marketing and sales by going beyond the broad and vague goals, into a level of specificity. For example, a company may have 20 percent of the overall market, a micro market analysis may reveal that while it has 60 percent of share in some markets, its share in others may be as little as 10 percent (Naveen Joshi, Allerin).
A new era..
Now, we’re entering an era of robust AI data analytics that opens the doors for marketers to fully understand their audience at a deeper level. “The digital marketing industry is in the midst of a shift towards a truly customer-centric model, all driven by increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver better, more personalized experiences”, concurs Andy Betts in the Search Engine Journal.
To that end AI technology enables marketers to separate their customers into distinct personas and understand exactly what motivates them. With this information in mind, marketers are able to focus on the specific needs of their audience. Thereby creating a long-lasting relationship with the brand (Philip Kushmaro, Contributor, CIO).
The value of Micro Marketing
This personalization, this micro-marketing evolution, has a tremendous competitive value. Both in customer lifetime value and in market share growth. For example, with existing customers, the better a brand is capable of micro-segmenting, communicating and meeting the needs of their individual customer the more likely it is for the customer to develop a sustainable relationship with the brand. Indeed, the process of micro-segmentation also enables the brand to target more groups, previously ignored, and largely increase the company’s reach (Personalics).
So, after more or less fifteen years post serious web 2.0, we now know that achieving many of our business goals depends on how effective our Micro Marketing strategy is. However, this is not the end of the marketing revolution. In future, we can only expect technology to become more superior and sophisticated in every sense: augmented reality, big data, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the most disruptive one—cryptocurrency (Emma Rundle, DevOps.com).
Most frightening is that micro marketing in future will be done more by machines – and machines interacting with each other. How about this? Machines will use your DNA data (profile) to predict your buying behavior…Outrages! Impossible! But wait; on the other hand, we’re still humans, aren’t we?
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1 Shan, Y. and Guo, Z. 2014. A Comparative Study of Micro-blog and Micro Message Marketing Mode, International Conference on Logistics Engineering, Management and Computer Science, Shenyang, China.
2 El-Ansary, A., Shaw, E.H. and Lazer, W. 2018. Marketing’s identity crisis: insights from the history of marketing thought, AMS Review, 8(1-2):5-17.
3 Verdino, G. 2010. MicroMarketing: Get big results by thinking and acting small (Vol. 1), McGraw-Hill.