What is “The Personal Touch”?

The conversation started when one of my Facebook friends asked a question..

“My question here, probably selfishly as I run a business, is how to translate social media to that personal touch many customers need. Like most I scout online, follow trends etc, but find eCommerce falls short on meeting customer experience needs, and UX is too open to the developer versus the customer. 

Do you think social media blended with virtual reality may bridge the gap?”

My first challenge with this question is that there is no one meaning of ‘Personal Touch’, or context in which it can be universally applied. The first step to translating “personal touch” into ways to best meet your customers needs is to define what it means to you, and more importantly, what it means to them. Ideally you will come up with more than one definition – because there is more than one way that you interact with people – and those definitions should, at least in part, inform your objectives and strategy to create that allusive “personal touch”

I’m curious about VR and have been reading up on communities like vtime but I still think it has its limitations. Short of holograms worthy of a 24th Century Star Trek style holodeck, no VR experience will replicate the personal touch of actually trying on clothes to see how the fit, style and fabric works for you, or tangibly interacting with a product..

By creating an experience where you can try on and tailor a t-shirt from home simply and easily, Sydney fashion brand Citizen Wolf have blended the online and offline to create an highly personalized, online shopping experience.

Spotify delivered the personal touch perfectly with Discover Weekly, the weekly playlist of recommendations based only on your music tastes. I’m personally discovering new music and artists I immediately love thanks to the well built, cleverly personalised search algorithm it uses.

When it comes to the personal touch of one to one communication that you want with purchasing, customer service and assistance there are some interesting innovations coming to messenger, as we learned at yesterdays Mobile Moves eCommerce event held by Facebook… Here’s how domain.com.au is creating a rich and personal experience for potential home buyers using Facebook Messenger.

Add that to PayPal’s recent integration with Messenger and you know that Facebook’s eCom game just keeps getting stronger.

As for adding the personal touch to content, marketing and advertising, that’s down to getting your research, target market, messaging and content strategy right.. and as we saw at Mobile Moves, targeting and measurement capabilities continue to evolve to become more and more effective. Our ability to reach the right people, in the right time at the right place, with the right messaging, and use our marketing budget more effectively continues to improve, but you still need to get the fundamentals right for it be effective.

The owners of my favourite cafe, Sydney’s “The Rusty Rabbit” have added the personal touch by allowing their personal love of superheroes and comics to add to the unique atmosphere and style of their business. The quirky touch is so popular that they recently started selling the Funko toys they displayed.

Part of the issue with delivering the “personal touch” is that CX, UX, marketing, measurement and even our definitions of this term have traditionally been built brand first. Slowly, very slowly… organisations and industries are accepting that Audience First is a demand that started years ago. We’re slowly becoming better at delivering to that, but for many there are fundamental changes in thinking and strategy that have to happen first.

Facebook, Deloitte, Datalicilious and many other brands spoke about the changing approach to measurement and strategy from analysing and planning for channels – and using traditional metrics of CTR, CPC, CPA, CPM and every other a CP Acronym you can think of – to better understanding (and planning for) people. Facebook IQ explains a little about what that means.

People say ‘social media is easy’.. and sure it can be… “social media done effectively” is a whole other story though.

What do you think? What does the “Personal Touch” mean to you?

Deloitte referenced their 2016 Media Consumer Survey and 2016 TMT Predictions, which are available now. Keep an eye out for the Mobile Consumer Survey which will be released in coming months.

And if you’ve never taken advantage of the annual Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report, now is the time.

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