What is Adaptive Marketing? And Should you Start Adapting?

An approach that can help marketers design superlative consumer communications

Billions of people are connected to the Internet today. They create, consume, and share chunks of online data on a daily basis. This data contributes to the aggregated data that currently fuels the Internet. Owing to the nature of the Internet, this data is spread everywhere in the online realm. It reaches places where there are people to look at it, as well as places which lacks an audience. And it continues to accumulate.

Why am I stating the obvious? Because this accumulated data proves to be a boon for the marketers of today. Raw consumer data that is collected, analyzed and segmented helps marketers to analyze and chalk out the current consumer trends and align their marketing strategies after carefully observing the derived consumer behaviour. One of the easiest ways to practice this is through Adaptive Marketing.

What is Adaptive Marketing?

Adaptive Marketing is the new approach taken by marketers for strategizing marketing efforts by actively tracking and responding to consumers. It refers to changing or reforming (adapting) a firm’s marketing mix to suit to the particular geography in which the firm is operating.

Adaptive marketing is an approach that enables marketers to tailor their activities in unparalleled ways to meet their customers’ interests and needs based on recorded data. It allows them to satisfy individual consumer needs in relation to a given brand. When carried out in the right manner, adaptive marketing feels like rewarding consumers by giving them the opportunity to personalize a product/service.

It’s not just about advertising, adaptive marketing can result in an overhaul of entire marketing strategies by adapting every part of the marketing mix as well as the product itself to connect more consumers with the brand.

The beauty of this type of consumer marketing is that consumers will be much less likely to switch brands, since the product ceases to be a commodity and becomes more integrated with the consumer. It optimizes the brand experience on the part of the consumer and strengthens the brand’s loyalties.

Which brands have adapted to this approach?

Brands are already aware of this phenomenon that is spreading like wildfire in the leading marketing firms. One of the best examples that justifies and distinctively sets adaptive method apart from the rest was conceived by a people’s favourite brand viz. Coca Cola. The Coca Cola Company set up Coca Cola Freestyle — a data-driven vending machine that allowed customers to mix and create their mocktails with more than 200 Coca Cola products. The machine tracked the data collected from the consumers to identify the most popular flavours. Coca Cola utilized this data to introduce new product variants and flavours that responded to consumer preferences.

Another good example of similar execution from another consumer brand was many successful attempts from Frito-Lay with their new flavours of Lay’s Potato Chips. The brand created a campaign that engaged consumers by asking them to suggest new flavour combinations and suggestions for their popular potato chips. This campaign garnered many consumer impressions and leveraged the reach of TV advertising to direct the communication. Many consumer-submitted flavours were picked up by the brand and were introduced in the market. This benefited the brand by widening its brand awareness and satisfying consumers by transforming collected data into tailored products.


Any kind of marketing requires a domestic communication concept that can manifest the true potential of the strategy. Adaptive marketing is no different. The adaptive approach can boost results and improve sales if the marketers have a robust brand communication model in place. Structuring the marketing mix around this basic concept can strengthen and develop new formulae for enhancing customer experiences, without hefty expenditures. The benefits reaped can impact the brand’s identity in the long term. These include:

1. Trust:

Consumers feel comfortable about sharing their personal data with companies who sell the products or services they need. If adaptive marketing aims to achieve anything more important than sales, it is consumers’ trust.

2. Transparency:

Using consumer data comes with responsibilities. When collecting consumer data to construct a marketing strategy, brands should allow consumers to know how their preferences are going to be used by the brand. This practice encourages transparency between the brand and the consumer. And if the brand delivers, they have a fair chance to gain the loyalty.

3. Information:

Because collection and analysis of consumer data has many applications in a growing business, adaptive marketing regards both actual and potential consumers by offering personalized product variants. Though this data is collected to fulfil a specific purpose, it can give major insights about the consumer behaviour and preferences that can later be used to craft new strategies.

4. Leadership:

By creating audacious brand experiences, a brand can be deemed successful in the market’s view. While adaptive marketing strives to achieve the same, marketers who dare to question the status quo by taking a different approach, such as adapting to consumer touchpoints, brings a leadership quality to the brand’s image in the market.

5. Stronger Identity:

Through the adaptive technique, brands have a good opportunity to become more like people that they cater to. The capacity to constantly adapt whilst staying true to their personality throughout this process, brings more value to the brand’s identity.

Apart from the above listed benefits, marketers can expect more implicit benefits from adaptive marketing technique that directly converts to saving more advertising and branding resources.

Interpreting the nature and benefits of the adaptive method, we can evolve a rigid understanding of this dynamic approach that turns out to be a permanent game-changer in the age of digital. So, let’s move on to the next important segment of the topic;

Just how relevant is Adaptive Marketing?

Currently we live in a world where everything is inter-connected with one another. Not only are people becoming increasingly connected to the internet, objects are also becoming ‘smarter’ and more connected. These new age connected devices represent new marketing opportunities for advertisers.

Today’s brands have a sense of this shift by focussing on a growing concern, namely, how quickly does things get socialized these days. Leading global media agency network Mindshare is one of the pioneering agencies to embrace and realize the potential of this new marketing approach in today’s world. In a knowledge seminar at this year’s Goafest, Mindshare’s Chief Digital Officer — Norm Johnston remarked while explaining the relevance of adaptive marketing, “If something inaccurate goes out about your brand, a lot of people will still believe it because of the speed of socialization. It is actually scary.”

With an aim to integrate adaptive research that can be put to use to build holistic marketing approaches, Mindshare has also introduced a computer software called ‘The Loop’ that makes adaptive marketing a reality. After Mindshare’s big leap in bringing adaptive method to the forefront, marketing firms across the globe are rethinking their marketing mix and integrating adaptive research to materialize robust communications.

If you are still contemplating to adapt your brand’s identity to the one’s which you hope to see in the consumer’s eyes, maybe you are looking in the right place to start.

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