Jan 21, 2020

Is Personalisation overrated?

Another buzzword of 2019. Will personalisation have as much dominance in the marketing world throughout 2020 now that some consumers deem it ‘common practice’?

  • A survey conducted by Cloud IQ found that 64% of respondents expect a more personalised experience with 83% who believe that this kind of experience is very important. 
  • Ultimately, this personalised experience can be split into four categories: the desire to be targeted with relevant offers, to be remembered, to be understood and lastly, to be in control.
  • This week, we will discuss the challenges marketers face when attempting to create a more personalised experience and if it is worth it.

“Nearly 70% of consumers want companies to personalise their communications.”

Gathering the right data…

“The need to mimic the human, in-person process and give customers a personalised experience has never been more pressing.” Kevin Sieck, LatentView Analytics.

You have heard it many times, but the line between gathering data and providing consumers with a personalised experience can often be blurred, and it is putting a strain on a company’s ability to identify visitors who arrive on their sites. Furthermore, since GDPR (general data protection regulation) came into effect in 2018, there have been more obstacles for marketers to gather data about their consumers.

As long as it is made clear on company sites that the consumer is providing appropriate consent, data can be stored through cookies, however, it has never been more crucial that they are provided with clear, accessible and easily understood statements regarding privacy policies which state exactly how their consumer data will be used.

On top of this, gathering the right data is also essential. As personalisation increases in popularity, the fear of gathering data that leads to ‘bad personalisation’ is similarly increasing in prominence. In the battle to provide consumers with a personalised experience, some brands have resorted to using outdated or irrelevant information to target demographics. If anything, this only serves to cancel out any benefits of providing a personalised experience and could even create a negative customer experience. While data and personalisation are big buzzwords in the industry right now, if you are not going to do it properly with the correct investments, it is not worth it.

Sitecore found that 59% of participants have experienced brands that used out-of-date information about them, with a shocking 57% who stated that companies have used incorrect personal details. It is essential that marketers use data that is not only up-to-date but correct and from here, plan what areas are best to personalise for their consumers. So that they are providing an experience that looks at past and current behaviour to help predict future behaviour, companies should analyse insights from transactional data, CRM systems, real-time behaviour and social.

“Customers expect more from us in terms of intuitive user experience than the old model of personalisation can deliver. It’s not so much about knowing demographic details but understanding and pre-empting what each website visitor expects to see, based on the journey that led them there.” Bauer Media’s head of acquisition, Leah Roberts.

With the ever-increasing pressure to have data-driven campaigns, it is important to not focus too much time and effort into sourcing new data as this can lead to negligence on current data sets that can still provide valuable insights. Chasing the ‘perfect data-set’ is futile if a company is delivering sub-par and irrelevant campaigns to their consumers.

Personalisation at scale… 

Sarah Mansfield, Unilever vice-president of global media for Europe and the Americas comments:

“What we say is, it’s a journey from mass reach to mass customisation to mass personalisation. It’s about reaching large audiences but doing it in a really smart way. [This requires] understanding consumers, their traits and behaviours, to identify actionable targeting segments for which we can develop different messages.”

Arguably one of the biggest obstacles encountered by marketers is creating personalisation at scale because when taken at face value, these two terms appear contradictory. Companies must not rely on basic forms of personalisation, this will fail to engage consumers and is an easy pit to fall into when trying to personalise at scale.

An Econsultancy business survey, ‘Bridging the Customer Experience’, found that more than 25% of participants stated: “they do not have the technology needed to deliver great customer experiences.” A further 66% commented that “technology platforms are not sufficiently joined-up to deliver great customer experiences.”

If the technology platforms are not joined-up to a level that will allow marketers to gain a well-rounded view of their consumers, how will they gather the correct insights to provide the best possible personalised experience whilst delivering it at the right time?

For too long, a lack of contextual understanding of a consumer’s behaviour has been responsible for the lack of success of personalisation despite the volume of data available to marketers.

However, now that marketers have recognised personalisation is a key part of the customer experience, they are investigating this further to learn how and why. They understand that intelligent use of data will create relevant and unique experiences for their consumers which is not only what they desire, but what will capture their attention for longer and eventually turn into loyalty.