Every marketer knows about personalisation by now – it’s one of the most frequently discussed practices in our industry. However, it’s not a particularly revolutionary concept either. In fact, ‘personalisation’, in one form or another, has been employed by marketers for many years. Ever receive a letter from a company directly addressed to you?
That said, as with many things, the potential of personalisation increases exponentially when you apply it to digital marketing. This is because the ability to personalise relies on two things; the amount of information available and the ability to deliver a tailored experience… Both things that we know the digital environment more than caters for.
With the sophistication of online intelligence available and the sheer amount of data the average consumer is producing on an everyday basis (how many times a day do you check your emails, browse the web on your phone, play with apps or quickly scan social media?) it’s not surprising that these days there’s a great deal more to personalisation than simply adding a first name at the top of a letter.
Personalisation is now about providing consumers with as smooth an experience as possible. Using insights to understand propensity and likes and dislikes based on the individual’s known preferences (whether that’s communication method, tone of voice or likely product choice) content and messaging can be tailored to make it as easy and painless as possible for the consumer.
Essentially, when you think of it like this it’s quite easy to consider personalisation as another way of attempting the Holy Grail of marketing – putting the right offer in front of the right person, at the right time.
The options with personalisation are almost endless. Web pages and websites can be dynamic so that they show specific content (whether that’s offers, information or images) to specific visitors. Likewise, recommended content can be personalised to the individual and communications can be tailored –more than just the name they are addressed to. Tone, images, offers can all be interchanged and selected to provide the customer with the message most useful and interesting to them.
It’s a technique that works, with a recent Econsultancy survey revealing that 74% of marketers know that personalisation increases customer engagement.*
However there are challenges in getting it right. Not only is it a balance between analytics, actionable insight, automation and CRM, there’s the logistics of managing more creative and content assets .
There are also issues about how personalised brands should make their marketing and whether there’s a line between being helpful and, well… a bit creepy. Personalisation should only go as far as helping customers, and brands should stay away from personalising for the sake of it. Just because there’s a fancy new tool or a technique doesn’t mean it’s right for every brand to use.
At the heart of personalisation we come down to getting the right message to the right customer in order to improve their experience and marketing efficiency. And to do that you need data, or more precisely, actionable data and consistent insight across all customer touch points.
Digital brings new data challenges – it isn’t always easy to identify who the ‘reader’ is and context (such as location, device, stage in the purchasing journey) is far more complex. To get personalisation right brands need to understand the role data plays and have the capability and expertise to manipulate that data in the right way.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below – I’ll do my best to respond.
By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services’ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.