Personalisation in an analogue world existed when the guy at the video store knew your name. As we move into an increasingly connected and switched-on digital age, personalisation is a powerful tool where a company knows what you want to buy before you’ve even thought about it. While basic personalisation is relatively easy to achieve – an email with a first name will just about do the trick, great personalisation – where you show up at the right time, in the right place, to the right person and say the right thing – is a little tougher to do.
But it’ worth it.
When you use the data you have at your disposal to create a rich and meaningful experience for your users, you’ll provide an interaction where you get someone to where they want to be, and you’ll do it faster and easier. Every digital marketing agency worth its salt is seeking new ways to understand how best to create a personalised experience, and it’s an exciting development to watch unfold.
When we personalise something, we are helping an audience to have a richer experience with content or information that they have shown a preference for, while also selecting what kind of content they might interact with in the future. At the heart of all marketing management lies the desire to present the best possible information in the most attractive way, at the right time.
The Internet has transformed the way in which contemporary businesses create relationships with consumers. Instead of collecting customer information though costly surveys, it’s possible to use analytic data and personal data to sculpt a user experience to ensure it’s tailored to a group or individual. The underlying assumption behind personalisation in marketing is that the overall message will be better received, and in most cases this is correct.
A seamless experience
With consumers and users owning a variety of digital devices and using them to interact with the world in a range of ways, it was initially a challenge for companies and agencies to understand who they were speaking to – and to execute the personalisation strategy correctly. And yet, with an ever-increasing focus on the power of personalisation, more often than not, we’re seeing companies who are making real impacts with their consumers. With Amazon already doing a stellar job of personalised shopping (and launching in Australia in 2018), we can expect to see other online retailers following their lead of personalisation as a sales tool.
Why personalisation is power
When an experience is personalised, the user instantly feels a connection with the message. There’s an element of feeling understood. Consider the way in which Netflix personalizes our viewing, for example. We get a list of suggestions which are selected via algorithms – based on past viewing habits – to suit what we might like to watch next. The result as a user is that we feel understood and catered to by a company, which results in a better overall user experience. Then of course, there’s the times when it takes half an hour to choose a show… but we can’t blame our indecision on Netflix.
When good personalisation is done right, there’s a sense of feeling like we’ve taken a shortcut – like we didn’t have to go through the rigmarole of browsing and flipping through pages and screens – and we’ve been given exactly what we want. Sure, companies don’t always get it right, but as technology advances and we exchange more of our data with companies, the personalised experience will continue to develop.
The fact is, personalisation has the potential to deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend, and can lift sales by 10% or more. When it comes to personalisation for behavioural change, the impact can be huge. Leveraging personalisation for your message can be a vital part of your strategy – especially when used in conjunction with a greater mass media campaign.
How to personalise effectively
Effective personalisation relies on three core things: data discovery, automated decision making, and content distribution. The first step in personalisation is data discovery to source the information that will provide a meaningful insight about customers. Then, by using customer data platforms, it’s possible to define the probability of customer engagement when presented with certain content or stimulus. Two-way communication is possible here, with information being used to signpost future messages and offers for customers. The final step is the distribution of personalised content. Specific ads depending on engagement with content and visits to certain websites will be rolled out to hopefully warm users and prospects. You have the power to offer personalised messages, experiences, services, and products. Depending on your company and customers, this can vary – but you must remember to offer something of genuine value and not to be creepy, like Target.
We will happily give up our data in exchange for personalisation, but there has to be value in what we are getting in return. Value comes in many forms, and you need to understand your market to know what they will find valuable. Personalisation is effective not only to encourage an action, but when it is used to make people feel like part of a group or collective. Using personalisation is an effective way to reach more people and create a greater change through your marketing. Understand the psychology, understand your market, and make the move.