What makes food special is the people behind it. This past summer, as I was seeking refuge from the Los Angeles heat, I happened upon a humble mom and pop Deli on Wilshire and Irolo that makes delicious pupusas in Koreatown. I was greeted by the kindest smile from the owner, Peter, a Korean Brazilian immigrant. He is beloved by his customers, meeting them where they are by easily moving from Korean to Portuguese to Spanish. I loved hearing his story. Later, he checked in to see how I liked my meal and asked me questions about my life. I left with a satisfied stomach and a warmed heart.
My lunch wasn’t a mere transaction of pupusas (though they were really good), but it became a personal experience that meant so much more. Even just after my first visit, Peter remembers me and now calls me by name. Whenever I’m in the area, I find myself popping in to say hello and eating some freshly prepared El Salvadorian bites. For a work event, my mind immediately jumped to bring my catering order to Peter for his trusted quality service and food that always feels homemade.
The craziest thing is that I’m not the only one to have this genuine relationship with Peter. His Yelp reviews shout his praises with “quite possibly the friendliest person I’ve ever met” to “super hospitable”, “a great man, with exceptional business etiquette”, and “his smile and great personality makes you feel as though you’re part of his family”.
And this genuineness where he treats “each person like a member of their family” and “always remembers me” goes a long way! Customers say they “feel good about spending money at his establishment” or “ love supporting this business with my money, it’s truly worth every penny.”
People want to be known and appreciate the little extra thoughtfulness. So how do we have customers take away the same feeling in the digital space? How do we engage with kindness?
Personalised marketing needs to be about communicating well. It is about being intentionally sensitive to creating an experience that puts me first and understands how I’d like to be approached, what makes me smile. It’s about purposefully investing in meeting customers where they are with the intention to form a great relationship.
Personalised marketing is not about persuasion as much as it is about conveying a message in a way someone would like to be spoken to or engaged with. In an in-person, one-on-one marketing pitch, it is about verbal and nonverbal communication. It is almost intuitive to know what the impact of crossing one’s arms or rolling eyes during conversation is on how someone feels. Do I like speaking with someone who makes me feel insignificant? Nope. Would I be open to what they have to say? Probably not.
In the same way, we should be just as intentional about the fonts, colours, images, and words used in our marketing material. Because all of this combined, from the language to the general aesthetic impression, communicates a message. I believe in our assistive tool Pomegranate to make sure that every relational experience leaves one feeling valued for who they are.
Of course, this does not excuse a poor quality pupusa, but if it is tasty, it sure does make the experience even better. And if all pupusas were created equal, I would always choose the one made by Peter.
You can read more about Pomegranate, our new content personalisation platform, here.