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Kym Reynolds Senior Marketing Advisor SmartFocus

How can brands give their customers a truly personalised experience?

Consumers are connecting with businesses and brands via multiple channels, which means marketers need do more to drive customer loyalty. Marketing teams need to harness actionable insights from the multiple data channels available to them to create engaging and relevant conversations with the customers. The more personalised the experience, the happier the customer. The happy customer isn’t just a customer who wishes to purchase more, they are a customer that is retained, upsold to and – perhaps most importantly – a customer who becomes an advocate for your brand. 

Every customer is on their own unique journey. Motivations to try, buy or stay loyal change depending on the individual making the choice. But marketers can ‘own’ that moment by using technology to harvest and interpret data and create contextualised campaigns that are triggered by customer behaviour, not by their best guess. A decade ago, the most a visitor could expect from a website were messages that aimed at making them feel welcome. Using phrases such as ‘glad to have you back’, and these messages were being used to try and develop a relationship. More recently, with the affluence of implied and obvious shopper data available to the marketers, personalisation affords one opportunities that have been completely altered and transformed beyond recognition. 

Marketers need to gain a holistic view of their customers that will enable them to deliver even more personalised marketing interactions that increase brand engagement and sales. They need to interpret big data to automatically personalise and contextualise marketing communication that will help their brands to engage and build relationships with their customers. They also need to contextualise any messaging by using a host of factors including location, weather, customer age and gender, favourite brands and products, web browsing history, past buying behaviour and abandoned carts.

It’s important that marketers realise that we live in a real-time world where consumers have all the information they need at their disposal, and they hold all the purchasing power when selecting one brand over another. However, when they choose to engage with your brand, you need to ensure that the communication back to them is as close to ‘real-time’ as possible. The one key thing that all marketers need to keep in mind is ensuring the relevancy of the campaign is delivered in a timely manner, and it also should aim to be repeatable and measurable as to achieve transferability across all channels.  In my mind there is no doubt that personalisation, when implemented correctly, can help customers navigate around a noisy world in an appropriate, accommodating and cost-effective way.

Here are my top 5 tips for utilising personalisation in your marketing campaign: 

Build trust with your customers - The first step to creating a personalisation project is to gain the trust of your customers. This way they will offer up more personal information about themselves that will allow true personalisation to occur. The more data a retailer is able to gather about its customers, the more refined and targeted marketing messages become. 

Don’t track people who don’t want to be tracked - Building a relationship with customers includes not tracking those people who don’t want to be tracked. Retailers have to have explicit permission to collect certain information about customers. A retailer can ask for as much information they want to but this has to be weighed up with turning off some customers who will not be happy about a retailer collecting certain information about them. 

Create segments of one - Marketers have been used to creating segments of their customers based on common traits they share. Now with greater amounts of data being collected about customers, we are seeing segments of one being developed. These are segments of individual customers with unique preferences and demographic information that can be used to offer them individually personalised marketing messages. When someone sees highly personalised offers and messages targeted specifically to them, they are more likely to respond to this type of marketing.

Offer real-time personalised promotions and offers - Customers are much more likely to respond to an offer or promotion if it is personalised and sent to them while they are actually shopping for a product or purchasing a service. People are receptive to promotions and offers and if these are personalised it will help to push customers to purchase more and help to increase the marketing ROI for retailers.

Offer personalised cross generational marketing messages - Another way that a retailer can really personalise their marketing messages to their customers is finding out the different age groups their customers belong to and offering them content based on this demographic factor.

It’s becoming clear that advanced email and truly personalised marketing are key to successful marketing campaigns and driving incremental revenue and that contextually relevant real-time interactions are no longer optional extras for marketers.