Friday, August 22, 2008

Individually Tailored Messaging Almost Here

Tailoring messages for individual consumers has always been the holy grail for marketers. Now it seems like the pipe dream is slowly but surely coming into fruition.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article regarding marketers' experimention with a new type of in-store and point-of-purchase ad based on consumer identity and behavior.

Procter & Gamble is testing a system that uses radio-frequency identification to play ads on a digital screen based on what products a consumer has picked up. When a consumer picks out a shampoo for a particular type of hair, for instance, the screen recommends the most appropriate conditioner or other hair products.

Dunkin' Donuts is trying out a system that displays food ads to customers ordering just coffee. The system allows customers ordering their morning coffee to see ads at the cash register promoting the chain's hash browns or breakfast sandwiches. At the pick-up counter, customers see ads prompting them to return for a coffee break in the afternoon and try an oven-toasted pizza.Many of the in-store targeted-advertising efforts are still in the early stages of development. Marketing executives say that much research still needs to be done to evaluate the best types of ads to display and the way consumers respond to messages. Skeptics of technology fear that the proliferation of screens makes it more likely that they will be ignored.

A little scary as a consumer perhaps, but undoubtedly really exciting times for marketers.