Personalisation In The Digital Age

Personalisation is crucial in the Digital Age, not only to compete with other brands and retailers but to keep up with the increasing consumer demand for truly individualised offerings. Consumers already have high expectations for brands, with companies like Amazon and Netflix setting the personalisation benchmark.

63% of consumers want to receive individualised communications from brands. Not only that, more than half (54%) would share personal information in order to facilitate this. Consumers are clearly prepared to invest in order to receive a tailored user journey – isn’t it time that companies invest too?

There are many ‘fixes’ on the market that are readily used by marketers to better interact with consumers, including demographic targeting, cookies, and social listening. With so many options and so much data available, businesses need to find the right tools – and the right focus. While social listening tools and demographic targeting do give insight into consumer behaviour, they do so in a way that tends to reflect trends and enable business decisions to be made based on collective information and trends, rather than individual wants and needs.

With 60% of marketers claiming that they struggle to personalise content in real-time, the biggest challenge with personalisation is gaining insights quickly enough, so offers are always relevant. This is where relying on cookies or past purchases is just not good enough. These forms of tracking only provide insight into the consumer’s past behaviour, and although that can be somewhat predictive, it’s far more effective to utilise real-time data to understand their behaviour and predict intent to buy. A clear benefit of the huge increase in technical innovation is that the products that can enable this already exist, you just might not be aware of them yet.

Personalisation can include anything from recommending products and services, through to tailoring landing page layouts. For this to be successful, it must be consistent across channels to create a seamless experience – regardless of whether the customer is online, in store, or using the app.

Real-time data derived using Big Data analytics tools allows businesses to gain unique and valuable insights into consumers including their interests, lifestyle, and personality. This enables them to tailor products, offerings, and communications, and assess risk as well as detect fraud based on the freshest data available, then continually adapt communications alongside the consumer’s changing needs.

With big data analytics tools, brands can now deliver wedding offers when their customer announces an engagement on Facebook; they can suggest hats and gloves when a customer has their annual ski holiday approaching. They can even offer one customer Everton FC tickets in a prize draw and another customer a spa day, all based on their current interests and future needs.

But there is also pressure to get this personalisation right, and 39% of retailers feel that not having enough data is their greatest worry. The beauty of utilising digital footprints is that there is so much data available. As of 2016, there are over 1.65 billion Facebook users. Every 60 seconds sees 3.3 million Facebook posts, 422,340 Tweets, and more than 55 thousand photos uploaded on Instagram. More online data is created each and every day, meaning that brands can personalise communications based on what the user is interested in, where they are, where they are going, and what is happening in their life at any given moment.

While life events and interests give insights into what to offer and when, personality type indicators can allow brands to tailor the style and format of their communications , ads, and marketing emails based on what the individual is most likely to appreciate and respond to. Big data analytics tools can infer the user’s personality through the use of psycholinguistics and text analytics to produce scores based on the consumer’s online personality.

This can even make the difference between an effective advert and just another one your potential customer ignores. For example, take an individual who has a high score in Conscientiousness and a high score in Openness. This consumer is more likely to appreciate comparative ads, with facts and statistics, so that they can make an informed decision based on evidence that your product is cheaper, higher quality, or more useful than a competitor (or even than one of your other products).

As well as this, their high level of Openness means that they are likely to appreciate innovation and novelty so may be more likely to want the product that offers something unique and different.

Take Apple for example. If Apple launch a new product and want to target consumers with these particular traits, they could use a two-sided ad, comparing the new product with an older version, stating what is new, what is different, and what is better. Additionally, they can use the knowledge that the consumer is interested in running to market an add-on of wireless headphones for more convenient on-the-go listening.

Armed with this unique insight, brands can not only know what to offer, when, they can now know how as well. What are you waiting for?