Organisations have understood the value of personalisation for some time, with many companies adopting simple concepts, such as targeting specific website promotions or email content towards pre-defined customer segments.
In the new mobile world, personalisation is not a feature but a customer expectation, and this demand extends to being treated as a 'me', and not a 'we'. “I am not a typical 35+ male, from London, who has opened a promotional email in the last week and purchased shoes in the last year; I am me, and I spend my money with the company who appreciates that.”
Many experts regard this expectation as hyper-personalisation and believe it must be the basis of any interaction between brands and their consumers.
Many people believe that the juxtaposition of this hyper-personalised experience and the inevitable customer expectations, and regulatory evolution of privacy and anonymity, present a challenge.
A select few marketers see this differently. Privacy is not an obstacle or barrier to personalisation: privacy and anonymity must be seen as the guiding principles of personalisation.
In the new digital world of mobile consumers, personal information is a commodity, sometimes available and sometimes not. Where personal data may be unavailable, there is a vast amount of information that can be used to create a personalised experience. Highly personalised marketing messages are very powerful tools that keep customers engaged and increase loyalty.
Here are my top five tips for retailers on how to master CRM and drive marketing success by utilising personalisation.
1. Build trust with your customers
The first step to creating a personalisation project is to build trust with customers. That way they will offer up more personal information about themselves, allowing true personalisation to occur. The more data a retailer is able to gather about its customers, the more refined and targeted its messages become.
In a recent Accenture study, consumers were willing to share a range of personal data with retailers, including their gender (65%), age (53%) and contact details (52%), although a significantly smaller percentage (24%) would share their contact information on social media.
2. Don’t track people who don’t want to be tracked
Building a relationship with customers includes not tracking the people who don’t want to be tracked. Retailers must have explicit permission to collect certain types of data about customers. A retailer can ask for as much information as they want, but some customers are likely to grow concerned with their requests. The same Accenture study found that only 20% of customers wanted retailers to know their current location and only 14% wished to share their browsing history.
3. Create segments of one
Marketers have grown accustomed 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 that can be offered personalised marketing messages. When someone sees a personalised offer or message targeted specifically at them, they are more likely to respond to the sender.
4. Offer personalised promotions in real time
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. Out of all the Accenture study's respondents that were asked what sort of personalisation they would prefer, nearly 60% wanted real-time promotions and offers. In the best-case scenario, this could encourage customers to purchase more often and therefore increase marketing ROI for retailers.
5. Offer personalised, cross-generational marketing messages
Another way that a retailer can really personalise their marketing messages is by unearthing the different age groups their customers belong to and offering them content based on these factors. According to Accenture, younger customers are more willing to share their personal information than older customers. Millennials are more receptive to the idea of personalised shopping and getting advice on in-store purchases. Baby boomers, on the other hand, want to receive more benefits in return for giving up their personal information.
Hopefully the tips I have shared go some way to showing how personalisation is a vital aspect of marketing these days, and that customers are not at all tolerant of impersonal or generic marketing messages.