GLOBAL: Mass marketing is giving way to massive customisation, from focusing on averages to individuals, and this means marketers have to think very differently than in the past, according to Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.

Keith Weed says today’s hyper-empowered mobile consumers are increasingly in control of the branded messages they receive and how they shop for brands.

Writing for Think with Google in his capacity as guest editor, he argues that this growing trend of micro-moment behaviour means that marketers who have traditionally created and marketed brands to the majority, or largest segment, will need in future to think about building brands in “segments of one”.

Immediacy and relevance are two defining characteristics of today’s consumer, he says, which means search has become “absolutely central”.

For example, searches for “open now” have tripled since 2015, while mobile searches related to “same day shipping” have increased by over 120% over the same period.

Weed notes that consumer expectation is also growing rapidly, as shown by the volume of local searches that no longer include the specification “near me”.

“For brands to be allowed a part in the hyper-empowered consumer’s life, they have to be able to both anticipate and assist with their needs,” he writes.

“This means being relevant, tailored, and personal – a huge shift from when brands (especially CPG businesses like Unilever) tended to be built for the masses. And they need to do it all in real time, in context, in the language.”

Stating that he believes there has never been a “more exciting time to be in marketing”, Weed advises marketers to adopt three key approaches.

Putting people first requires marketers to leverage data to deeply understand the new and complex consumer journey, and be clear where the brand should be present to add the most value.

He also says marketers should “cut through the clutter and build brand love by standing for something meaningful” because consumers don’t just want to buy a product, they “want an idea to buy into”.

Thirdly, Weed says marketers should make full use of a combination of data-driven consumer insights and “brilliant purpose-led creative” to build deep and meaningful one-to-one “relationships at scale”.

“Mobile is rewriting communication and commerce, changing the relationship between brands and people forever,” he says. “The brands that lead this, providing consumers with a frictionless experience online and off, are the brands that will win in the future.”

Sourced from Think with Google; additional content by WARC staff