Last Chance for Personalisation

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Marketers have been talking about personalisation for over a decade—and consumers are getting fed up. As our recent research revealed, well over half (58%) of consumers will unsubscribe after three mistargeted emails. Nearly a fifth will (17%) after just one!

Consumers have no more patience for inept brand communication. The warning signs have been there for some time but it is now clear—while customers endured poor targeting and ill-judged messaging when digital marketing was new and innovative, those days have gone. Put it this way: in today’s world, a brand is less likely to lose its customer base with no marketing at all than through irrelevant messaging.

Sadly, despite the marketing mantra of better targeting, most people are still receiving improperly targeted messages. When so many marketers are talking about personalisation, why are the results still so unimpressive? It’s because in the world of big data, personalisation still frequently means little more than guessing. Marketers are inferring gender from name; assuming interests from websites visited.

But why not actually ask the consumer what he or she likes or dislikes? Survey after survey reveals that consumers—especially the younger generation—will be happy to share personal information with a trusted brand in order to receive a relevant, personalised and engaging experience.

Consumer trust has to be won. And switched-on brands are now actively giving the consumer a compelling reason to exchange information by delivering a high-quality, engaging experience that puts customer data to good use. They offer customers the ease and speed of social login to access their web and mobile properties, and receive a hugely valuable payload of individual social profile data in return. The key to encouraging continuing engagement then becomes using this data to improve the relevancy of messages and offers over time.

Despite rhetoric to the contrary, for too many marketers personalisation remains a goal; a nice-to-have. Yet, by now, personalisation should be a standard component of the modern marketing toolset—it’s what customers expect and it’s what the best brands are now delivering. Consumers are getting used to a high-quality, relevant experience from brands that truly understand personalisation. These brands provide customers with a reason to share accurate data in return for something of value; cautiously use that information; work hard to slowly build up a deep profile of the customer—and then reward that individual by only giving them the content and offers they want.

The comparison between this carefully-honed experience and a blast of seemingly random offers and messages from the rest of the market is stark. Right now, customers are giving brands one chance—one strike—before disengaging for good. In the not-too-distant future, that will be down to no chances: and those brands that do not deliver a relevant experience at the very first touch will see their customer base plummet.

Why aren’t more brands doing it? We would love to hear from brands that are doing it and those brands that aren’t to better understand what the hurdles are and why so many are still behind when it comes to consumer demand for personalisation.