In the new “Age of You” – as coined by the leading brand consultancy, Interbrand, the consumer is in control, and mass marketing tactics no longer work. Instead marketers need to micro-target consumer segments to personalize messaging.

How? Our white paper, The New Normal: Marketing in the Age of You has all the details you want to know, but of course we wouldn’t leave you hanging without a taste of what’s inside…

Truly, Madly, Deeply

That’s how well brands need to know consumers now if they want to get them to engage and remain loyal. The broad demographics of– gender, age and geography – are merely a starting point.

The information brands need now is how consumers FEEL – not just about their brand, but about EVERYTHING. Likes, dislikes, favorite foods, favorite celebrities, causes they care about, activities they engage in – these aren’t just fair game, they’re critical to connecting with consumers on social.

And brands can’t stop with caring how consumers feel about THEM; they need to know how consumers feel about their competitors and the category as well – because that’s a huge window of opportunity to attract new customers by solving a problem.

Net Sentiment (those consumer feelings) and Brand Passion (intensity of consumer feelings) are as crucial as ever to define new segments for micro-targeting. Because knowing how MUCH consumers love or hate something is how marketers can identify brand advocates – or customer service opportunities. Emotion is everything.

Knowing – and Using – “All the Things” Consumers Share

Once brands know what consumers love they can target micro-segments with personalized messaging. For example, let’s say by using deep social listening you discover a segment of health-conscious consumers who eat salads every day, but indulge in a chocolate treat on Fridays.

If you’re Snickers or Duncan Hines, you want to be tweeting those people, “If you’ve been good all week, you deserve a little #chocolate now. #TGIF.”

Or let’s say some of those same salad eaters like to do good in other facets of their life – like giving to charities. Salad dressing brands like Wishbone or Kraft could appeal to these consumers by donating a portion of sales to an organization like Feed the Children – winning their loyalty while helping a great cause.

The more authentic the messaging, the better the result. The more segments, the more opportunities to be deeply personal.

Using Micro-Targeting to Predict Trends

In addition to identifying brand advocates, this individualized approach allows specific audiences to be built and targeted for every business need – like product launches or customer care – in a matter of minutes.

And those segments can be tracked at any point in the purchase cycle. So brands can see changes in consumer perception and sentiment toward their brand or products in real-time – and can alter messaging in real time, to stay ahead of these trends.

Personalization is all about knowing your consumers’ thoughts and feelings, and one of the best ways to do that in real-time is to zero in on all they share on social media and use that information to connect with them.

You can read how major brands like Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven and Taco Bell are doing it by downloading The New Normal: Marketing in the Age of You today, or reach out here if you’re ready to take your social listening to a more personal level.