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Personalisation has been #trending in the marketing world for a while now. There’s good reason for it too!

As we become time poor, do more with less and our attention spans shrink, we start looking for ways to shortcut, fastrack and improve how we do things.

You’re likely to notice things addressed to you or that you’re being sent topics that actually interest you. This kind of personalised marketing is pretty much common place because it works so brilliantly. (Eg, being addressed by first name in email campaigns, using segmentation to share products likely to be of interest to you based on your behaviours).

Witness that viral ‘Share a Coke” campaign.

Personalised marketing Coke

Although it is an effective technique, savvy consumers are also hugely aware of it so it is no longer something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Doing the same as everyone else and staying in that safe zone just doesn’t cut it. (Sounds a lot like trade shows right?!)

So how do you create a marketing message that hits deep with your audience and creates that connection (and buying power) that we all desire?

I hear ya!

You can find 101 articles on how to personalise your marketing but I think that the real way to lead the pack and get results is through something called ‘Heartwork’.

‘In the past jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in future they’ll be about the heart.’- Director of The London School of Economics, Minouche Shafik

Heartwork?! What’s that?

Heartwork is connecting with your audience on a deeper level. Letting them see your personality and genuinely engaging with them. It’s about companies caring about creating a real dialogue with their clients. When we lead from the heart, we can share more about us but also learn more.

Nobody likes feeling like a number. Learning more about our customers and really listening to them is the secret to better customer engagement.

Why does this matter for trade shows?

Well, there’s so much noise out there in the marketplace that people don’t give the same amount of eyeball time to each business. They spend the most time with the ones that win their hearts.

Having this connection gives brands the most valuable thing… customer loyalty.

My Dad is the most loyal human I know… He has used the same courier company for 20yrs.

Just as many of us are loyal to a cafe or other provider that might be a little out of our way, but service is good and you like to support them.. Why? Because they’ve won your heart 🙂

It’s all about the experience.

Creating a sense of belonging often results in the creation of brand ‘tribes’ – Nike is the perfect example of a brand with purpose that has been able to connect with customers, rally them around the brand, maintain loyalty and reap the benefits of their customer tribes, who are hardcore evangelists for the brand. And of course, for the business, loyalty is directly responsible for higher customer retention rates and sustained revenue increases in the long term. So it’s a win-win.


Brands making Heartwork, work for them

1/ Lego: According to Cecilia Weckstörm, head of the Consumer Experience department at Lego, “Brands are no longer created, they are co-created.” Lego encourages its millions fans to develop content via their social platform ReBrick, which allows the brand lovers to share their own creations. (Source: CBA London article on Brands with Hearts)

2/ Starbucks: This powerhouse brand use clever humour in their social media posts and respond to all comments with a fun and jovial tone which shares their brand personality with their audience.

3/ Burger Kings Whopper for Pride : The Whopper was sold as a limited edition burger during 2014 Pride campaign in the USA, even though the only change was the wrapping. The wrapping one opened read: “We are all the same inside”.

Personalised marketing Burger King

I love this so much because it not only showed Burger King taking a stand on an important social issue, but it also delivered messaging that resonated with its target audience of 18 to 24 year olds. Adding Heart to your Marketing


1/ Understand your brand identity

According to HubSpot: “A brand identity is made up of what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate your concepts, and the emotions you want your consumers to feel when they interact with your business. Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your consumers.”

Remember that as well as knowing your brand identity, your brand behaviour has to be authentic and consistent. At trade shows people rely too much on their stand design to do all the heavy lifting for them.

When staff are armed with a game plan for what to do with different types of visitors and an exhibit strategy that support them, they start to win hearts <3 2/ Speak directly to your target audience and establish an emotional connection

Develop a brand voice that is distinctive and authentically communicates your brand. Use it in all of your communication and remind customers why they love your brand.

There is no point trying to be neutral in an attempt to appeal to everyone. You won’t appeal to ANYONE.

FUN FACT: I’ve had people send me hate mail about how I write. They tell me that I’m too familiar and they have no idea why people do business with me.

I don’t mind… (Ok, just a little bit) … But, I remind myself that they must be having a really horrible day if they take the time to take their frustrations out on me. I love that these people single themselves out because they aren’t my target. I only want clients who want me on their team! … (In any case, they could just stop reading. Or unsubscribe. Just sayin’)

I wear my heart on my sleeve a bit. That’s exactly what every business at a trade show needs to do too. Your company has a personality and is built with real people. Share stories that connect with them on an emotional level and that make people want to share your content and directly engage with your brand.

3/ Be agile in your content

If you can identify important moments and participate in real time dialogues then this will keep your brand perceived as fresh, relevant, and engaged. You don’t want to have a stand that looks exactly the same at each show.

Of course this doesn’t mean you can’t have a reusable stand, but you must give people a reason to stop. If they can’t see what you’re promoting, it’s hard for them to justify it if they’re in a hurry. Make sure you make this message really clear.

4/ Engage!

It’s more important than ever that we’re human first. Hold conversations with your audience and talk to them as though you’re sitting across the dining table from them.

Ask them for their feedback and experience with you as a company. Then for the next challenge. To listen. Listen to what they actually say because there will be nuggets of gold in there!

Hope you liked this one 🙂

What are some of the ways you introduce Heartwork in your business? I’d love to hear from you!