How to stand out when personalisation is the norm

Consumers have come to expect personalisation as standard.

From offers to recommendations of products, the average consumer’s social media feed and email inbox is crammed full of communications from a wide range of businesses, all vying for their custom. But they want brands to make them feel like an individual, rather than just another customer.

By giving customers something that they want to receive brands can improve conversion rates and encourage brand loyalty. So far, so simple. But working out the best strategy to take has been difficult in the past.

As personalisation has become the norm, there are a number of different solutions available to facilitate the process and ensure that brands can connect with each customer on a personal level.

An increasing number of brands are taking advantage of these tools to improve their customer relationships, but many are still failing to grasp that one-to-one personalisation has to be the way forward.

Different strategies

The use of crowd-sourced intelligence is one form of personalisation that is based on intelligence gathered from the behaviour or interests of an overall group of people.

For example, if you ask people their favourite ice cream and 40% say vanilla, 32% say chocolate, and 28% say strawberry, vanilla classes as the majority despite the fact 60% of people don’t prefer it over other flavours.

In the past, this method of analysis may have worked when creating a buzz over the latest campaign.

But, since the ‘majority’ interest or behaviour may not be representative of the wider consumer population, companies that rely on crowd-sourced intelligence for their marketing activity will be limiting the reach and impact of their campaigns.

Similarly, persona-based segmentation, which makes assumptions about consumers based on their socio-demographic data such as age, marital status or their location, could also prove to be a pitfall for companies that rely on it.

Basic information like this is not indicative of consumer interest. Even though a consumer may be a 20-year-old male, that doesn’t mean they’re a football fanatic. Therefore, understanding your audiences and their interests is critical when creating a successful marketing campaign.

There are other solutions that are slightly more advanced than those based solely on group data. These tools are able to predict what consumers want based on what they have purchased or liked in the past.

This offers more insight into the individual that a brand is trying to target, however, this method is not without its downfalls. Although one consumer may be set on their interests, this doesn’t mean that every consumer will replicate these decisions again and again.

If someone has recently bought a hairdryer, chances are that they won’t need another one anytime soon. Changing needs or circumstances will always significantly affect what consumers want and don’t want to see. Ensuring that you’re on the ball when it comes to changing preferences is critical to avoid irritating and alienating customers.

Even with rule-based personalisation which is designed to avoid these situations, or user-generated personalisation based on what other consumers bought, there is a limited number of scenarios that can be defined. These methods also don’t deliver any insight into actual consumer interests, personality or life events.

The world of marketing is becoming increasingly competitive, and the need for campaigns to be more personalised is ever more pressing.

With so many solutions out there, it can be difficult to determine what can make your marketing campaigns truly stand out. The solution is one-to-one personalisation.

Getting personal

Consumers are living their lives online more than ever, leaving behind a goldmine of data.  For any marketing team that wants to truly innovate the way they communicate with consumers this is the key.

While many of the solutions offer a peek into the lives of consumers, they simply don’t have the permissions or capabilities to offer up true one-to-one personalisation on a platter.

Gaining insight into the large volumes of data that are created every time an individual does something online can prove challenging. With the right tools, a consumer’s digital footprint offers a multitude of real-time insights derived from the entire period of their time online – which often includes years of interactions, changing interests, life events, and accurate indicators of them as a person, as opposed to static data collected through surveys or limited behavioural data from cookies.

Armed with these insights, marketing teams are able to gain a much deeper understanding of each customer and start to build meaningful relationships with them by treating them as an individual.

Offering a customer half price tickets to see their favourite band on their birthday is much more likely to lead to a conversion and encourage brand loyalty than sending them a generic offer for a band they have never heard of.

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign lies within how well you know your target audience. Personalisation is more than just knowing the sex, age or location of an individual.

It’s about tailoring content to make it bespoke and relevant to the specific customer. In the past, tools have attempted to gain a general understanding of the consumer population, but never delved deep enough to engage with consumers in real-time.

In-depth personalisation is about utilising up-to-date insights and knowing what each consumer really wants. If you’re not already taking advantage of it, you’ll be missing out on what’s most important – truly understanding your customers.

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