Personalised marketing: a world of discovery

For this week’s blog, I wanted to focus on an aspect of online marketing that is on an upward trajectory. Personalised marketing. There seems to be a lot of rubbish out there on the web about how it’s the ‘new buzzword for 2018’, how it’ll drive your sales by 1000% etc. etc., a lot of which seems to me to be unsubstantiated nonsense. So here’s an honest and critical piece about personalised marketing. We’ll learn what it is, what it involves and how to apply it.

The Customer Perspective

I think the most helpful way to view personalisation isn’t by looking at what it can do for you. It’s best to come at it from the perspective of your customer. How often do you complain about being bombarded with irrelevant information while surfing the web? So stop seeing personalisation is an opportunity to force more, targeted marketing onto people. Instead, you should view personalisation as an opportunity to strip away things that won’t inspire people. This leaves a bare minimum of engaging, relevant content for those that are interested in your brand to engage with. I really think that less is more, as long as you do it intelligently. Personalisation (albeit a little creepy) is a way to achieve this.

Spotify’s discover weekly is a good example of personalisation done well. People perceive it positively because it’s there to help them cut through the chaff and find something they might not otherwise have encountered. Obviously, it’s a bit hit and miss, but people expect that. Trying to include this ‘discovery’ principle into your strategy and design is key. A fun anecdote of personalisation gone too far is an American store using purchasing behaviour to predict women’s pregnancy and send them marketing coupons, to their home, before they’d told their families (angry Dad in this case). Think very carefully about the upshots of the data you use!

How To Use Personalisation

So where does it come into play? It can range across your email marketing, website design and content marketing. I think in the latter it can be especially powerful. It doesn’t mean having a separate marketing plan for everyone that comes into contact with you digitally; it’s based on segmentations that use behaviour analytics to determine what types of customer are interested in what types of content. A lot of this can be automated (we spoke about this in our previous blog). Once you’ve set it up, it can tick along with the minimum of hassle.

Why Use Personalisation?

What’s the point, money wise? Well, there is evidence to suggest that personalisation can help increase engagement and keeps people engaged with your content for that little bit longer. Personalised emails have a 6.2% higher open rate (lots of people depending on the size of your marketing list). The world of online marketing is saturated, so for your business, these small gains are significant. Especially considering the relative ease with which you can plan, set up and operationalise it.

This is both a science and an art. The science part is easy enough to set up; any digital whizz will be able to get it up and running soon enough. The art comes in striking the balance between ‘we’ve been watching you’ and ‘you actually might find this helpful’. Those that get it right can show their customers that they’re paying attention to their interests and needs, without encroaching too far into their personal space – something that’s becoming ever more crucial. If you’d like some help with anything personalisation related, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at [email protected]

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