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by Phil Birss
3 min read
The power of personalisation in marketing
Author: Phil Birss
Posted in Marketing on 6th November 2017 9:00 am
Personalisation has an enormous amount of potential to influence customer choices and decisions. If a business knows who you are, is familiar with your likes and dislikes and can deliver a service tailored to your needs, then it’s very likely to be delivering a high quality of service.
What’s more, this attention to detail demonstrates that the business cares about you and your trade, which naturally inspires confidence. There’s a reason why bespoke service is considered a prestige offering, after all. Furthermore, these positive interactions build up to a relationship of reciprocity – by saving you time and directing you to offerings that are suited to you, then you’re likely to actively buy more from the business. While these kinds of relationships might once have been the preserve of local businesses and high-end outlets, however, they’re now perfectly possible at scale via digital media.
A first step is to address the customer by name – whether contacting them by email or showing their logged-in status on an ecommerce platform. A second step is to customise offerings displayed to them based on their activity and stated preferences, and those of others like them.
For years, Netflix made great stock of their attempts to perfect their recommendation algorithms in order to display the most attractive content for any given viewer (based on datapoints such as the recording’s genre, subject, director and stars). In fact, in 2015 What’s On Netflix established that the platform had in excess of a staggering 20,000 genres and sub-genres with which to tailor its recommendations to every individual usual.
Amazon, meanwhile, uses automated personalisation to great effect, combining individual customer purchase history with the buying patterns of others to present recommendations such as “customers who bought this also bought [product x]” and following up purchases with emails recommending other products similar to purchases (or tempting users to take another look at an item that was browsed but not bought).
One of the defining features of the digital age is the removal of friction – processes are fast, seamless and easy (think Amazon Dash buttons), and if they aren’t then the customer will give up on them. Personalisation does just this – whereas 100 product options might be overwhelming, personalisation quickly flags what’s likely to be most useful to the customer, making the purchasing process simple and easy.
One of the most direct ways that businesses, whether large or small, can implement this is to segment their customer database based on where users sit in the marketing funnel. For example, rather than sending out a one-size-fits-all email newsletter, you may well want to send out different messaging based on whether a customer has already made a purchase or not, or based on personal information (for example, is the user a consumer or a B2B customer?).
There is the potential to get it wrong, of course. If you manage to send out emails opening “Hi X!” or “Hi [insert customer name here]” it dramatically breaks the illusion that you are sending a personalised message – which is why it pays to check and double check.
The numbers are strongly in favour of personalisation, however. According to PWC an impressive 94% of senior executives believe that the strategy is at least important if not critical in order to reach customers. Meanwhile, stats indicate that a wholehearted embrace of the approach can boost efficiency of spend by anywhere from 10% to 30% – and by next year, organisations that have invested resources in personalisation are anticipated to outstrip those that haven’t by a full 20%.
So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to think about how you can start making things personal.
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