The Future of Marketing is Personalization, Not Interruption



Eric Edge took the SMWNYC stage to share how insight-driven experiences online can drive tangible action IRL.


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Imagine a world where our experiences aren’t interrupted by ads and content we really don’t want to see—one in which we’re instead served personally-relevant content comprised of useful and achievable ideas.

This is the picture that Eric Edge, Head of Global Marketing Communications and Industry Relations at Pinterest, painted on stage at SMWNYC 2018. In his talk, the Pinterest exec underscored how brands can use data to deliver personalized experiences and deliver real value to consumers.

Here are a few key insights and takeaways shared in the session:

Online inspiration, offline action

Edge described Pinterest as a visual discovery platform that helps users discover and do what they love. This mission manifests in a user experience that provides personalized ideas that are additive to consumers’ lives in that they align with expressed lifestyles, tastes, and interests. And although Pinterest is a digital platform, Edge reminds us that the goal is for people to ultimately put down their devices and take action.

According to Edge, 98 percent of Pinners report trying new things they find on Pinterest and 90 percent report the platform helps them decide what to buy.

Given the push from insight to action, brands have a remarkable opportunity to inspire their consumers to go out and do or buy, whether that be remodeling a house, making dinner, or choosing an outfit for a given day. Edge said the secret to driving action is to focus on the consumer experience and noted Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line as a brand that is doing this well within the Pinterest environment.

Edge added that insights can be used beyond marketing creativity, and can serve as a source of fuel for your business and brand on the whole. In this sense, personalization is applicable to the entire marketing funnel, not just the campaign itself.

“There is an opportunity ahead of us that, If we all put our heads together, and we all truly think about what could be an amazing experience, then we can totally transform the way we approach marketing in this space,” added Edge.

Unlocking taste data to own the entire consumer experience

Edge says personalization starts with insights. “It’s not just about a few age demos anymore. It’s about a much more complex set of trends and interests,” he said. Per Edge and the team at Pinterest, insights should go beyond basic demo data and reveal findings about a consumer’s unique tastes.

As an example, he called upon Pinterest’s “Taste Graph,” which takes raw data provided by Pinners and layers on machine learning to create scale. This proprietary method can reveal meaningful patterns that helps Pinterest deliver experiences that are hyper-relevant, indicative, and predictive of consumers’ tastes.

When marketers tap into tastes early on, Edge says marketers gain the advantage of being a part of the entire experience, not just one portion of it. Why? Because the vast majority of people are always attempting to plan ahead for the things they love whether it involves a major life event or straightforward day-to-day decisions.

The big takeaway

Driving consumers to take action IRL is one of Pinterest’s core differentiators, per Edge. This approach requires adopting a new mindset and a willingness to be agile when it comes to your marketing and the trends that inspire it. To illustrate this point, he referenced CB2’s “navy is the new black” effort, which used trend data from Pinterest to inspire in-store signage.

On this note, Edge challenges marketers to think outside of the realm of marketing and broaden their perspective when it comes to how Pinterest taste and trend data can be used.

“Whether you work for an agency, for a brand, or if you’re the CMO of the largest advertiser in the world, I think if we can all agree the time to transform digital advertising is now,” he said.

Pinterest helps you discover and do what you love. Find recipes, style inspiration, projects for your home and other ideas to try.

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