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When Did Personalisation Become so Impersonal?

When Did Personalisation Become so Impersonal?

Today, there is a surplus of personalisation technologies on the market, yet marketers still struggle to provide consumers with personalised content.

One of the biggest obstacles businesses face is creating positive online relationships that mirror offline interactions with consumers. The knee-jerk reaction is usually to deploy as many data management and personalisation technologies as possible, and most of the time only anchored in one function, not whole across silos, but how effective is that? While brands are obsessing over automation processes, they’re actually taking the person out of personalisation.

To many marketers’ dismay, data management platforms (DMPs) often forget the most important instruction of all: add people skills and common sense. Without this reminder, marketers make the one error they can’t afford to make, which is deciding what is best for the consumer in pre-programmed journeys. 

While technology is advancing quickly, it simply isn’t capable of conveying the full range of human emotions. Empathy is still an important requirement for a successful personalisation strategy. To develop a personalisation programme that is both effective and efficient, marketers must remember that they need to find some common ground between humans and technology. 

Treat consumers the way you want to be treated

As soon as consumers have the slightest inkling that brands are using their data, they are going to be very critical of the advertisements and content presented to them. More than 60% of users want to know why, what and how websites select the content personalised for them. 

Most consumers are very aware that companies are targeting ads on their Facebook news feeds based on their online activity and interests. However, they are willing to provide data aggregators with more information about themselves in return for personalised content – as long as they don’t feel their information is being misused. This entails being completely open and transparent about data collection and privacy.

Enhance data & analytics with personalised touches

The key to an effective personalisation campaign is ensuring brands have a 360 degree view of the customer. They need to have data from all possible sources and devices, including first and third-party data, accessed through a DMP. Thanks to these platforms, brands don't have to do pre-programmed journeys, rather, their paths are mapped dynamically by the consumers’ choices in real time.

To develop customised experiences, brands must be sharing data internally, especially because readers expect brands are already doing that. However, while today each department collects its own data, they fail to share it with the rest of the company. Because of this, only 14% of marketers feel they are able to achieve a single view of the customer. The key to a successful personalisation campaign is ensuring that each department makes the information they’ve collected and analysed available to everyone to develop one cohesive view of the user.

For example, if Sally in Texas just visited a brand’s website on her computer 30 minutes ago, but had to run to catch a train and finished her browsing on her smartphone, this has to be reflected in the data layer in real-time. If sales or IT plan to push out a newsletter a few minutes later, it has to be in the context of the content that has just been consumed. Sending a newsletter with links to that same content will only frustrate readers.

To humanise the personalisation experience, brands must share information internally. If this isn’t being done, the reader is led to believe that the company does not have the data it needs to provide them with the most relevant content.

As marketers become busier, there are some instances where it makes more sense for technology to replace manual labour. However, it's important to remember to maintain a sense of humanness. Personalisation doesn’t have to be a battle of human versus robot. It is possible to use the data we collect without giving off the feeling that it's completely automated – it just requires internal communication, accurate data usage and creative thoughtfulness. Success will come only when these two worlds become one.

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Jan Vels Jensen

Jan Vels Jensen

Jan Jensen, chief marketing officer at Cxense, is an accomplished and recognised international marketing executive, with more than 15 years experience, who helps companies reach their full potential. He has done this through building high-performance teams, establishing strong brand identities, ensuring customer centricity and driving digital transformation throughout the whole organisation. He has successfully worked with international market leaders and startups in enterprise, midmarket and consumer spaces.

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