In 2012, a New York Times article entitled ‘How Companies Learn Your Secrets’ written by Charles Duhigg, revealed a public incident about an angry father who marched into a Minnesota Target store when his teen daughter received coupons for baby products, only to find out later, that his daughter was indeed pregnant. The retailer was able to predict her pregnancy and personalised the promotions she received based on the company’s data collection analysis. Is this a case of clever marketing or just downright creepy? While the benefits of personalisation are two-fold, both to the customers and businesses – it’s ultimately about striking the right level of subtlety in terms of privacy and avoiding aggressively targeted promotions.
Serving the right message to the right customer (at the correct time, on the best platform) makes your message resonate that much more.
Ways to Inject Personalisation into your Marketing Strategy
Real-time Email Marketing
77% of marketers believe that real-time personalisation is crucial1. Email marketing has emerged as one of the most reliable and effective channels for engagement. Real-time email marketing needs to be contextually relevant and requires more sophisticated data such as:
- The time and day
- Geographic locations
- Customer segments and personas
- Devices and browsers
- Loyalty statuses
- Email preferences
- Content previously viewed
- Recent transactions, interactions and site visits
In real-time marketing, the content of your email is never completely static. Readers may see a different copy or promotions depending on the day, time and location when they open the email. Real-time email marketing begins with a strategy based on customer needs and integrating the data with marketing technology.
Personalised marketing needs to be planned, targeted and tracked. Technology can only handle the nitty-gritty of data aggregation – you still need to figure out what data matters to you and how to use it. Funnel your resources into the most effective channels instead of relying entirely on your algorithms. Here are some examples of behaviour-based personalisation done right:
- In 2011, Coke took personalisation to the next level by rolling it’s Share a Coke’ campaign – it achieved 12 million media impressions, 4% increase of category consumption and 7% increase in young adult consumption.
- To keep its users engaged, Facebook sends automated emails to those who haven’t logged in within a certain timeframe. This strategy works well for the social media giant because trigger emails have a 152% higher open rate than traditional ones.
Personalised Content is not only for B2C
Over 60% of B2B businesses adopt personalised content and the effectiveness is resoundingly high, evident from the data below:
Which content should you personalise for best results? This will vary depending on your target audience and business goals. Only by monitoring the results can you find out which personalised content resonates best with your target audience. Demandmetric organised the effectiveness of the personalised content into these different categories:
- Segment specific – personalized by industry vertical or segment criteria
- Persona specific – personalized for specific buyer types
- Stage specific – personalized for a stage of the buying process
- Account specific – personalized for a specific prospect organization
- Lead specific – personalized for an individual lead
The report below showcases varying levels of usage of different types of content, with segment and personal specific content personalisation is use more than the others:
74% of online consumers get frustrated by websites with content (e.g offers, ads and promotions) that has nothing to do with their interests. Personalising your marketing messages allows you to tailor messages to customers through unique customer traits. And this is how you win hearts.
For those already on the journey, personalization is generating measurable value, including revenue uplift plus increased customer acquisition and engagement. However, as retailers have found, executing context-relevant personalization at scale and across multiple channels depends on rewiring how their organization works in key areas. To be successful and add value to the business, as well as to the customer experience, retailers should consider the following best practices:
1. Democratize data.
It all begins with gaining a real-time, 360 degree view of the customer — what they want, what they’ve bought in the past, their preferred engagement channels, what they’re trying to do right now. Collecting all this data is just the start, however. The real value is generated when you get it into the hands of decision makers in a timely manner and make it easy to use.
2. Engage vendors, secure funding.
Get partners and manufacturers involved in the offer generation process early on, highlighting the anticipated benefits to generate funding/buy in that builds the offer bank. Leverage existing investments — e.g., moving from a print circular to personalized emails — to generate quick wins for all.
3. Think in journeys.
Understanding the micro journeys that matter to customers is crucial for knowing how and when to communicate the most appropriate offers for different triggers — e.g., replenishment shop, fill-in trip, in-store deal seeker — delivering offers at interaction moments that influence customer behaviors. Building a brand relationship depends upon being able to execute with customers across multiple channels in an integrated manner.
4. Be customer-specific and context relevant.
Understanding what individual customers like, where and how they shop, and when they’re next likely to buy makes it easier to undertake a variety of hyperpersonalized marketing initiatives. From telling them when something they want to buy is back in stock to targeting end-of-life or slow-moving products to customers most likely to buy them, you avoid blanket discounting. While many retailers have been able to personalize with a few product lines or segments, many still struggle to scale how they engage with customers.
5. Scale what works.
Having identified which offers generate the best returns, distribution needs to be automated to execute at scale. As capabilities grow, move from personalized weekly emails with high ROI offers or back-in-store or pre-markdown notifications to more advanced offer models that are time- and/or location-dependent. Shifting to an agile marketing model is an essential part of this strategy.
Many of the retailers surveyed said implementing personalization increased their opportunities to generate additional revenue. Forty-one percent stated that they experienced a 50 percent to 100 percent positive impact on their revenue streams, especially in cross-sell conversions. Fifteen percent reported even higher impact with 100 percent to 300 percent improvement in revenue, especially in new customer conversions. Whatever your growth targets are for the coming years, you cannot afford to ignore consumer demand for greater personalization — and the benefits it delivers.