Personalisation is a top priority for marketers this year according our global Digital Trends 2016 report.

Nearly one-third of survey respondents (31%) indicated that ‘targeting and personalisation’ was in their top three priorities for the coming year, more than any other digital-related area.

What precisely does ‘personalisation’ mean for marketers, though?

And how are companies achieving their customer experience (CX) and marketing objectives through personalisation initiatives?

About the roundtables

The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX 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.

Moderators dutifully took high-level notes during the discussion and presented them back to the group at the end.

Below is a summary of the main talking points during the day about personalisation.

Upcoming roundtables: Jakarta (April 14th) and Bangkok (April 21st)

Please note that Econsultancy, in association with IBM, is continuing this CX rountable discussion series for client-side marketers in:

Please click the relevant link above to register your interest.

The challenge of personalisation

In order to provide personalisation, participants reported, marketers need data about their customers and the capability to deliver a personalized message to them.

Sounds simple, but, in practice, personalisation is very difficult to do.

Two specific challenges came up during the discussions. First, there is an ‘overwhelming’ amount of customer data available and marketers are not currently equipped to collect and manage it.

Also, providing effective personalisation requires managing many more touchpoints than ever before, according to participants.

Our survey of marketers, globally, backs up the attendees concern about touchpoints.

In our recent report, the CX Challenge, marketers were asked which touchpoints were central to their customer experience.

Out of 16 listed, 13 were used by more than half of respondents and all 16 were in use by more than four in ten.

How to launch a personalisation initiative

First, think small

In light of these challenges, attendees recommended that marketers should ‘think small’ when starting off a personalisation programme.

Instead of trying to personalize every channel for every customer, it was more reasonable to identify a small customer segment and provide personalisation to them first.

Then collect the data

When you have decided on the right customer segment for personalisation, the next step is to go across the organization and find the data about these customers.

One participant noted that a ‘360 exercise’ is a great way to gain valuable insight about customers.

It simply involves collecting customer data from other departments and then later ‘piecing together’ the whole customer profile.

Pick the platform

Again, instead of trying to provide a personalized service across many touchpoints, start with one or two platforms and see what you can achieve .

Emails came up as the most popular way to deliver personalisation and next was the company website, providing unique content to logged-in users.

It was noted that on social platforms, like Facebook and WeChat, it was more difficult to ‘do personalisation’ than on email or a website.

Here, one attendee suggested that if marketers choose to use a social platform, then personalisation would mean crafting the ‘correct’ message for the target segment.

Craft the campaign

The next step in developing a personalisation initiative is to craft a marketing campaign.

This requires marketers to:

  • Set overall objectives.
  • Create a meaningful call to action.
  • Set a conversion goal so you can generate performance data.

Thinking about data from the start makes it easier to integrate the personalisation initiative into existing key performance indicators (KPIs), according to one participant.

One example of this practice is when ecommerce sites send you a link to a product you left in a digital shopping cart.

By personalizing the email with your abandoned item and then subsequently checking whether you purchase it or not, the company will then be able to gauge whether doing so is a worthwhile way of improving an existing KPI, such as revenue.

Collect and analyze the data

According to attendees, the success of a personalisation effort depends on whether or not you are addressing a customer need while also delivering added brand value.

In order to see whether this is happening, though, it is necessary to measure the performance of the campaign against the goals you set originally.

Are you able to produce measurable results by ‘recognizing’ your customer digitally?  If so, then how can you expand the programme? If not, what other segments or campaigns can you try?


Success with personalisation does not just come down to getting a customer’s first name in an email subject line or showing them a previously-viewed item on the website.

Instead, personalisation is a tactic which should be part of a strategy which aims to improve a KPI, according to our Manila participants. Without achieving that, personalisation is just ‘window dressing’!

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, Jeoffrey Solas, PR & Marketing Manager at Best Western Plus.

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!