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Personalisation is becoming a key component of digital marketing strategy.

In a recent survey of marketers from Australia and New Zealand, nearly seven in ten (69%) said that over the next few years personalising customer interactions was 'very important' for their organisations.

But how do marketers elsewhere feel about personalisation? Are they as enthusiastic as those Down Under? What steps are they taking to make personalisation happen?

To find out the answer to these questions and more, Econsultancy invited dozens of client-side marketers in the Thai capital, Bangkok, to discuss CX at roundtable discussions in April of this year.

The roundtables covered three CX-related topics and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM.

Delegates brought experiences from many different companies and industries and they openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group. 

Below is a summary of the main talking points taken from the Personalisation table.

What is personalisation?

Before diving in too deep, participants first wanted to get a understanding of what people meant when they talked about 'personalisation'.

Among the suggestions: 

  • Speaking to a customer 'as a person'.
  • Understanding a customer's perception of the brand.
  • Anticipating a customer's needs.
  • Segmenting messaging and adjusting communication.

All of these are important, attendees agreed, but out of them all segmentation was probably the most important consideration.

Why is segmentation so important to personalisation?

One participant pointed out that marketers can segment in many ways, such as: 

  • Demographics (e.g. gender, family composition).
  • Lifestyle (e.g. credit card spend).
  • Behaviour (looking at both what customers say they do and what they actually do).
  • Purchase intent (through what they are currently researching).

 And each of these ways of segmenting provide useful 'building blocks' to help a brand deliver a personalised experience.

That is, most marketing departments cannot deliver a personalised, 'market of one' service due to resource constraints, but they can improve their segments such that the service they offer feels personalised.

Reasons for personalisation

The table then asked the marketers why they would want to use personalisation.  

Three reasons came up why personalisation should be in every marketer's toolbox. 

  • It helps creates an emotional bond between the customer and the brand. This helps to build the long-term relationship and increases engagement.
  • It is a great way to offer product recommendations. Call it 'super-powered' marketing. When you get to know your customers well, you can use data to make predictive and intelligent offers to them.
  • And finally, it also helps with delivering relevant content and engaging design. This, in turn, improves the overall customer experience by helping with branding as well as conversions. 

So how do marketers use personalisation?

Participants then discussed ways in which they have actually used personalisation to increase conversion rates: 

  • Sent individual birthday emails.
  • Created products for a specific segment (like special skiing insurance for ski-enthusiasts).
  • Delivered special offers to the most profitable segments first.
  • Intervened personally after a shopping cart abandonment - which worked much better than sending an automated email.

 

Getting started with personalisation

The marketers also offered some suggestions for getting started with a personalisation initiative.

CRM

Marketers who used personalisation agreed that for it to work, the CRM must be a priority for the marketing department.

But many participants admitted that their CRM is still just an Excel spreadsheet. This makes it difficult, if not impossible to implement personalisation. 

Those who had already improved their CRM recommended a custom-made solution because:

  • A custom-built CRM is more cost-efficient compared to the off-the-shelf solutions, in their experience, and, 
  • custom-made CRM solutions also provide more flexibility which is very useful when building custom segments.

Legal considerations

Finally, participants had a few things to say about the legal aspects of personalisation:

  1. Make sure you have permission to use customer data. Some data, such as financial data, cannot be used for marketing purposes in certain countries.
  2. Use common sense. Don't personalise using data that your customers may not know you have. This is an issue when using third-party data for your marketing.
  3. Don't be creepy. Personalisation works better when it is subtle, so use it sparingly to improve the experience.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, IBM.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for the Personalisation table: Olga Gergenkop, ecommerce manager at CHi.

We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!

Jeff Rajeck

Published 19 May, 2016 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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