Personalisation is the ultimate combination of science, data and creativity. In marketing terms, it sees the intertwining of several disciplines to serve customers on a one-to-one level.
Research from PwC states that 94% of senior executives believe personalisation to be critical for reaching and retaining customers. While a good number of companies will entrust the development of their targeting with just one or two members of the marketing team, there are seismic differences between simply “doing” personalisation and doing it properly.
Contrary to what some might believe, true personalisation isn’t firing out an email to 1,000 users that have bought from a certain product category in the last 12 months. We’re talking about the micro-targeting of individuals, based on a real-time assessment of their behaviour, preferences, and demands.
True personalisation requires a multitude of skills, some beyond the realms of e-commerce and marketing, and has been known to bring entire workforces together. Building a team for personalisation is achievable, though far from easy.
The necessary ingredients
The first step on any personalisation journey is to define your goals. Once you’re set on what it is you’re trying to achieve (increasing profits, new customers and basket values are all common objectives) you can start to outline your data requirement.
Personalisation relies on a blend of different signals to establish who the customer is and what they’ll need to complete a desired outcome. A team of data scientists will help you collect, interpret and utilise everything that passes through your owned properties. They might also be required to consult with data from third-party sources for a contextual analysis of the customer’s situation. What’s the weather like outside? Do they need a raincoat? This opens the door for tactics like pay-per-click advertising, which can be used to attract customers searching for products on Google. In summary: personalisation can’t be achieved without data, and data cannot be read without the help of specialists.
For something like on-site personalisation, you will need a team of front and backend developers to build the technology that sits in front of your algorithm. The former will need to handle the aesthetics - usually the design of your feature and the way each message is framed - while the latter creates the engine that communicates with your customer.
And it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also need user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) experts working alongside the developers to give each customer a smooth journey through your website. If this feels like an unnecessary expense, don’t forget that 70% of enterprise CEOs now see UX as a competitive differentiator - marking an 18% rise from 2018.
Provided your existing website can handle the changes ordered by each individual, you’re all set to move forward. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. We’ve known brands to completely reshape their website infrastructure to achieve their personalisation goals, leading to yet another expense in the form of web designers, developers and agencies.
Attracting the right team
Even if you’re prepared to invest in what could amount to your competitive advantage, the in-house route into personalisation will always come at a cost.
Each role belongs to the technology sector, where rapid growth is being threatened by skills shortages and rising salaries. Despite increased levels of IT employment, research from Deloitte shows that only 16% of executives have the talent to achieve their digital goals. Hiring would seem like an obvious solution, but over three-quarters are said to be “experiencing challenges” in finding employees with the right skills.
Data scientists and analysts were named as the hardest roles to recruit, leaving many brands without a foundation for their personalisation efforts.
Going the smart way
Another way of adopting personalisation would be to outsource your requirement. Before you jump to conclusions, let us explain what this amounts to within the field of personalisation.
For something like social media or paid search, you’d probably outsource to an agency or even a freelancer. Both channels require specialists to manage very basic and accessible technology (e.g. Twitter, Google Ads), so you’re effectively paying for talent.
With personalisation, brands find that it’s better to work alongside a tech provider like us at RevLifter for three main reasons:
- The technology is more complex and unique: There is no one-size-fits-all model or “Google Ads for Personalisation”. Each solution is different, and often tailored to the brand, their website and goals.
- They have the talent: Perhaps the biggest point, relative to this article at least, is that your personalisation team will come with the solution. Every one of our campaigns at RevLifter involves data scientists, developers and designers, with an account manager to keep things ticking.
- You can find performance-based options: If you look hard enough, you’ll find that a number of solutions, like RevLifter, only require payment on the results you achieve. This model keeps everyone motivated while ensuring that you always drive a cost-effective outcome.
On top of this, you’ll find that a platform consistently improves. When taking things in-house, your business priorities tend to shift, and your progress will ultimately suffer. We are completely focused on being the best at personalisation and have invested millions in driving results for our clients, who collectively benefit from our vision
We should also raise that certain tech providers take inspiration from the way personalisation used to be handled. Retailers were growing tired of having to completely rebuild their website in order to implement certain features. It prevented their adoption of advanced technology, and personalisation in general.
When we launched RevLifter in 2017, one of our goals was to create something that could be implemented within a matter of days, or even quicker via an affiliate network’s master tag. We now have an AI-powered deals personalisation technology that moves as quickly as a brand needs it to – ideal for any last-minute promotions.
If you build a personalisation effort in-house, you’re likely to be starting from scratch. Technology allows you to skip a number of major obstacles that would otherwise take time and investment to scale.
Setting yourself up for 2020
Personalisation has long been viewed as a fantasy for many brands, at least when considering barriers across hiring, investment, and technology. In truth, companies of all sizes can make steady progress with the dynamic, hyper-targeting of customers, and without the small fortune, you think this might cost.
It all comes down to how quickly you can afford to move. If personalisation represents a key goal for your organisation in 2020, it might be worth finding a tech provider who can get you started right away.
If for whatever reason you’d prefer to hire a team to manage your requirement in-house, be conscious of the time this could take to build. You might also want to seek advice on the exact roles you need to recruit for. Create a roadmap for personalisation and make sure you have a team in mind.
If you’d like any more information on our approach to personalisation, our technology and personnel, get in touch with RevLifter today.