Personalisation has been a top priority for marketers for some time, but despite this fact, a large percentage seem to be struggling to implement the strategy in an intelligent and scalable way. 

A recent study by Pure360 suggests that many brands are still relying on basic forms of personalisation, and failing to engage (increasingly demanding) consumers as a result.

So, why should marketers strive to go beyond the basics? Here’s a round-up of studies to reinforce the importance of personalisation, and how brands are currently approaching it.

(PS. 2018's Festival of Marketing features a stage dedicated to personalisation - one of 12 stages overall - so get yourself to London on October 10th-11th)

A desire to do more with data

Personalisation is a key part of customer experience, with intelligent use of data allowing marketers to create relevant and unique experiences that hold attention for longer (and generate loyalty in the long-run). 

However, Econsultancy’s Digital Trends 2018 report suggests that personalisation is lower on the list of strategic priorities for 2018 than other areas. It was cited by just 7% of organisations as their number one priority, as opposed to the 20% who cited content management. 

digital priorities for 2018

That being said, this is perhaps more indicative of organisations’ maturity levels when it comes to the skills and structures needed to implement effective personalisation. The fact that audience and data management and analytics come higher on the list shows there’s still groundwork to be done before real personalisation can come into effect.

Unsurprisingly then, the report also reveals that personalisation is a greater focus in terms of training and investment. When asked about the digital-related areas to focus on in 2018, 24% of organisations said targeting and personalisation. Meanwhile, 55% of companies said they’re planning to increase budgets for 2018 – up from 51% in 2017.

Consumers want more relevancy

Pure360's research suggests that that basic personalisation fails to engage consumers in any real way. Just 8% of survey respondents said that they would be encouraged to engage with a retail brand if they addressed them by their first name. Similarly, only 7% said they would be likely to engage with a birthday email.

Infosys research backs up this desire for better personalisation, revealing that 31% of surveyed consumers say they wish their shopping experience was far more personalised than it currently is.

Segment’s 2017 State of Personalisation Report also states that just 22% of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalisation they currently receive, meaning a larger number of brands are failing to create experiences that actually inspire consumers to make a purchase.

And they’re willing to give away data to get it…

But what about the privacy vs. personalisation debate? On one hand, customers desire greater personalisation, but they’re also concerned about ‘creepy’ use of data, right?

Interestingly, research from SalesForce suggests that this isn’t exactly the case. In a survey of more than 7,000 consumers, it found that 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalised offers or discounts. Similarly, 52% of consumers would share personal data in exchange for product recommendations, and 53% would do the same for personalised shopping experiences.

In some cases, the desire for personalisation is morphing into expectation. SalesForce found 62% of consumers expect companies to send personalised offers or discounts based on items they've already purchased. Segment also suggests that 54% of shoppers anticipate a personalised discount within a day, and 32% within just an hour of sharing their information with a retailer.

Meanwhile, a Deloitte study found that people don’t just want personalised communication, but products and services that are also tailored to them. 36% of consumers expressed an interest in purchasing personalised products or services, while 48% said they’d be willing to wait longer in order to receive it. 

desire for personalised products or services

Personalisation generates uplift across all channels 

Econsultancy’s CRO 2017 report suggests that email is the quickest personalisation win for marketers, with 90% of survey respondents saying they personalise through this channel. However, just because it is the most popular doesn’t mean it offers the best results.

Interestingly, personalisation within search engine marketing was found to generate the biggest conversion, as 39% of marketers reported seeing a ‘major uplift’ from it, while just 7% reported no impact. This proves the benefits of personalisation during the consumer consideration stage, especially given the fierce competition within the ecommerce space.

A separate study by Hubspot highlights the benefits of personalising calls to action, regardless of the channel in question. From the analysis of 330,000 CTA’s over a six-month period, it was found that personalised CTAs converted 202% better than default versions.

benefits of personalised CTA's

Dynamic and real-time personalisation is most effective for email

With such a large percentage of email marketers implementing personalisation, where exactly are they focusing their efforts? A report by One Spot – based on a survey of 350 marketing execs - found that 65% of email marketers deem dynamic content as the most effective personalisation tactic in their arsenal. 

Meanwhile, 60% of marketers say real-time data in email – i.e. contextual signals like location or weather – is either ‘effective’ or ‘highly effective’. 58% also report the same for machine learning to drive email personalisation.

Again, despite recognition that personalised email content is an effective tactic, the report also indicates that many still settle for basic implementation. 78% of marketers say they only use first name personalisation to customise messages. Meanwhile, over half of marketers are still not using personalised product recommendations in their emails – despite these tactics having the greatest potential to drive business goals.

Engagement rates for marketers who incorporate personalised content in their email programs tend to be higher than those who do not. In One Spot’s analysis, average order value was found to increase 5% with personalisation, and conversion rates increased 6%. Even more impressive – organisations using email personalisation generated 17% more revenue through their campaigns than the average marketer.  

study on marketers who prioritise personalised content

Brands must offer a clear value exchange

While there is certainly a demand for greater personalisation, that doesn’t mean consumers are entirely confident in brands’ data privacy policies. There’s still hesitation, and it largely occurs when people feel like they're in the dark or can’t clearly see the value in sharing data.

A US-based survey by YouGov found that 32% don’t like personalised messages from brands because it often feels like an invasion of privacy. Similarly, 28% of people said they don’t like it when companies have their information without them explicitly providing it first. 

Personalisation drives impulse and repeat purchases 

As long as there are tangible benefits (and permission) involved, however, intelligent personalisation can spur on consumers to act.

Segment’s research found that 44% of consumers say that they will likely become repeat buyers after a personalised shopping experience with a particular company. 49% say they have purchased a product that they did not initially intend to buy after receiving a personalised recommendation from a brand. What’s more, 40% of consumers say they have purchased something more expensive than they originally planned because their experience was personalised.

positive effects of personalisation

Deeper & long-term relationships also a plus

Personalisation doesn’t only increase the chances of conversion either - a study by Evergage suggests that there a wide range of benefits.

In a survey of over 206 digital marketers, 96% of respondents praised the ability of personalisation to advance customer relationships, and 88% said it has helped them realise a measurable lift in business results (out of which, 53% report a lift greater than 10%).

Finally, 61% said personalisation has helped them achieve a superior customer experience, resulting in 57% of this group achieving increased visitor engagement.

Related reading:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 18 July, 2018 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (1)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Yes, exactly right. Personalization is really important and well liked. For example our yougov survey found that 41% of shoppers would consider not shopping at a retailer that routinely emailed irrelevant information - which sounds like a lot of brands I know..
https://www.emarketer.com/content/shoppers-may-shun-retailers-with-poor-product-suggestions

Here's a simple way to implement advanced personalization:
https://www.freshrelevance.com/blog/new-feature-advanced-customer-tagging

28 days ago

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