The personalisation effect
Personalised, one-to-one, individual, direct – whatever you call it, it’s a strategy undergoing significant disruption. Imagine that your shoe-loving friend’s birthday’s coming up and you’re going shopping to find them the perfect pair of kicks. Being in lockdown, visiting stores in person is out of the question, so you sit down at your computer, open your web browser and head straight to a website instead. While browsing for your friend’s present, you’re treated to a few recommendations and eye- catching advertisements. ‘ That’s odd,’ you think, as you glance at their suggestions – usually they do a much better job suggesting things you like. Then you notice that your significant other is still signed into their account, so that account is active. With a quick logout and re-login, you sign into your account – and see new recommendations that are far more to your taste (although this probably isn’t going to help with ideas for your friend!). Knowing what your audience wants is marketing 101. And given the level at which marketers have the ability to access personal information about their customers, customers are becoming more used to getting exactly what they want. Or are they? According to Segment study the ‘ 2017 State of Personalization Report’, 44 percent of consumers studied said they will likely become repeat buyers after a personalised shopping experience with a particular company, and 49 percent said they’ve purchased a product that they didn’t initially intend to buy after receiving a personalised recommendation from a brand. Fast forward to 2021, and research by Nzmarketing and Toluna finds that 22 percent of respondents say they’re somewhat willing to receive targeted advertising based on their interests and browsing history. Of these respondents, 72 percent want to receive targeting messages only if they’re relevant to them and 43 percent because they’re looking to receive a unique or personalised experience. Director of Business Development for Australia and New Zealand at Toluna Stephen Walker says that the main barriers to personalisation are when a company is seen not to be open about what data they collect and how they use it, or doesn’t share their approach to protecting peoples’ data. “People are most willing to share their data for the development of relevant new products and services – 58 percent moderately to completely likely,” he adds. See page 25 for more on this study. So on top of knowing what your customers want and the level of personalisation needed to give it to them, marketers also need to make them feel secure and the process effortless. Not asking too much, then. How many brands are doing this well? Not many, if you consider a recent Adobe maturity model that assesses business capabilities needed to enable personalisation at scale within the retail landscape. “Our study found that no retailer is currently deploying advanced or cutting-edge personalisation tactics across the entire omnichannel customer journey,” says the report. “It’s no wonder customers aren’t satisfied with the level of personalisation they’re experiencing.” However, according to Adobe in its ‘Achieving Omnichannel Personalization at Scale’ report, many companies have at least some personalisation on their digital properties, usually basic tactics such as product recommendations on a site’s checkout page to encourage last- minute cart additions, or email or display promotions sent for items customers have recently browsed but not purchased.