Why personalization matters in a pandemic
This is a scary time for businesses of all sizes, and it's also a scary time for many individuals who are out of work or not confident that their employer will be able to continue to pay them if this shutdown continues.
This blog is a study of one (myself), but I am sure many other people are in my position. I want to continue to support small and local businesses, but not at my own expense. So, I have been going through my list of subscriptions and memberships and evaluating what can stay and what can go. I have found that the level of personalization, and the connection I feel to the company, is the clear dividing line.
Case #1) my CrossFit gym, which is my largest monthly expense outside of rent, my car and health insurance, is going to keep getting my money. While the gym is just now closing down, they have already created multiple slack channels for: at-home workout solutions to not owning heavy weights, book recommendations, TV recommendations, mom strength, and an informal running club. They are continuing to provide workouts on the daily and the conversation is helping everyone stay connected.
Case #2) my clothing rental subscription, which I chose because I like the brands it carries, is a goner. It has always bugged me that they do not allow clothing swaps more frequently than monthly, which is a terrible situation in this current situation. The stack of work-appropriate clothes in my closet are no longer relevant, and I am not eligible for a swap-out until the end of the month. They also do nothing to make me feel like they are paying attention to me as an individual, which could be achieved by sending extra pieces that fit my rental history but that I maybe have not seen on the website. So, I sent back what was in my possession yesterday and I am freezing that subscription until life returns to normal.
Case #3) my local coffee shop where the barista remembers my name and my preferred drink when I walk in: I would order their beans for pickup or delivery. I would also try driving by and picking up a latte here and there, and leaving a generous tip while I am at it, but the phone numbers on their website don't work, so I have no idea if they are open. Lesson learned: keep accurate info on your website, let people know if you are operating the business in any form, and sell your stuff online. As an alternative, I just discovered that my favorite coffee shop in NYC, Cafe Grumpy, has a coffee bean subscription, which I am now going to sign up for.
Case #4) my monthly wine subscription: canceled. I swear they send me the same 4 bottles of wine every month.
The takeaways: Account-Based Marketing is valuable when you want consistency during rocky times; connecting with your customers with personalization is essential; and updating your website with current information is very important.