A recent statistic from analyst firm Gartner revealed that by 2016 89% of marketers expect to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience their brand, product and service delivers to the client or the consumer.

I’m not surprised by this stat, given that a truly personalised user experience can make a customer feel highly valued, which is almost impossible to achieve through print or billboard adverts. If organisations use consumer data in a smart way, they can ensure that the information they share is always relevant to the recipient and as a result build a relationship with the customer based on trust, loyalty.

Above all, they can offer products or services that they know the customer will like. On the other hand, if personalisation is executed poorly then clearly it can have the opposite effect.

Poor personalisation means that customers become inundated with offers that are completely irrelevant, out of date or unhelpful reminders of a personal issues, leaving them irritated, frustrated and in some cases disenchanted with a brand.

So what can brands do to utilise the power of positive personalisation? Thinking about the following points might be a good place to start:

1. Personalisation requires a human touch and technology is no substitute

For example, when monitoring and evaluating a campaign you need someone to manually remove users from the database if they are not responding well to personalised marketing attempts.

Automated systems can make this process much easier by highlighting non-responsive users, but it requires that human interaction to offer an alternative.

2. Concentrate on analysing recent purchases made by a customer

Does a customer who once bought dog food still buy it today? If not, do they really want offers on the latest chew toys?

3.  Look at how often a customer purchases a certain type of product

Do they regularly buy aftershave but once bought perfume? This could have been a present for somebody and it is unlikely that the customer will want to hear about offers on other products that they don’t plan to buy regularly.

4. Think about the advantages that mobile can provide

In fact, I believe that mobility will be so important in the future that desktops will cease to be a focus at all. According to JiWire’s Mobile Audience Insights Report, more than 50% of respondents indicated that they wanted location-specific advertising or coupons. By using intelligent analysis, brands can target those who would be interested in their brand and who are in close proximity to one of their stores via mobile.

5. Analyse what can be done to help customers in their day to day life

Services like Google Now that know where a customer is, what they are doing and what device they are using are slowly proving themselves invaluable for early adopters. For example, the ability to alert a customer early when the trains are delayed to ensure that they make a meeting on time is a killer feature.

6. Ask for feedback

Whether a customer rates a product or hates it, listen to them. The last thing a customer wants is constant reminders of a product they really disliked, which may even encourage public criticism. The only way to find out what a customer really wants is to ask them on a regular basis and to pay close attention to their answers.

People, not machines…

Clearly, it is essential to use customer data in an intelligent way to create a positive user experience. It is not enough to leave targeted advertising and marketing to chance. Personalisation that makes customers feel valued requires a human touch. It is people, not machines alone, who should be analysing customer data and thinking about the most effective way to utilise their findings.

It is also essential to engage directly and regularly with customers in order to obtain a level of constant feedback that can help to refine and improve the techniques behind positive personalisation. Believe me, you can’t ask for feedback frequently enough and those that do will have a much more positive relationship with their customers.