In the Adobe Digital Marketing Optimisation Survey whilst many marketers reported feeling somewhat constrained by budgets, time and skills when it came to implementing new, more evolved marketing techniques, the good news is that when it comes to personalisation, “there’s proof for their business case”.
The study found that amongst the top 20% of organisations in the US, taking a methodical, analytical approach to marketing and using personalisation meant that those top firms had conversion rates which were 4.7% more than the 2.6% average. To the savvy marketer, this won’t come as any real surprise. Personalisation has been growing in popularity for a couple of years now and this is just one example of research that proves the value of personalisation to online businesses.
The Evolution of Personalisation
Just a few years ago, the most we could expect from email communications was a greeting that described us as the ‘valued customer’. This was soon replaced by names however, and this is where personalised marketing really began. Today, it’s much more sophisticated and anyone who’s ever used Amazon can see how powerful personalisation has become. Amazon are of course the innovators in this particular area, we saw personalised offerings hitting our inboxes from the company long before anyone else really got to grips with it.
It’s clear from the above statistics that personalisation can create and boost conversions, but how about recurring conversions, which can also be described as customer retention? According to recent research, 84% of marketers believe that the use of personalisation increases customer retention and brand loyalty, but 48% believe that it’s difficult to implement. For the most part, this is due again to budget constraints as capturing and acting on the necessary data takes time, skill and money. However, around half of all those marketers surveyed said that they plan to increase budgets for business intelligence tools.
"The future of marketing is the customer journey. Today’s hyper-connected consumer requires companies to create personalised experiences and deliver value at each touch point to increase brand loyalty and drive sales," said Woodson Martin, CMO, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. “Marketers need to be empowered to use data to drive these 1:1 journeys and experiences with their customers.”
The Demanding Modern Consumer
The modern buyer is one that’s accustomed to expecting great customer service and to some extent expects brands to be ‘always on’ when it comes to making a purchase. This means that marketers have to connect now with data on a somewhat unprecedented scale. It’s necessary to capture various types of data in the buying process in order to be able to deliver the personalised experience to the customer at every stage, including whilst they are physically on the site, with content.
The beauty of personalisation in the digital age is that it’s actually desired by consumers, who see the benefits of having tailored offers shown to them. Supermarkets have been using loyalty programs for many years now and recent research has found that blanket offers driven by the personal details held by retailers are no longer enough. Consumers want more, they expect offers to be relevant to them and to be based on their shopping habits. We do, after all, live in a world where convenience is prized thanks to busy lifestyles, so it’s no real surprise that consumers want and demand a service that’s going to make their life easier.
Personalised Content and the Consumer
Further research has found that almost 74% of consumers become frustrated when presented with content on sites that they use which has little or nothing to do with what interests them.
“These results align perfectly with additional market research indicating that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn’t relevant to them,” said Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain. “It’s a wake up call for brands to fix this problem or risk losing customers and prospects.”
So for businesses, it’s important to recognise that not only does personalisation retain existing customers, but a failure to present content that’s not personalised can result in the customer going elsewhere. The study went one step further and asked consumers what they’d be willing to give up in order to receive personalised content on their favourite websites.
- 28% said that would give up social media for a week
- 25% - chocolate for a month
- 21% - smartphone for a (whole) day
- 13% - sex for a month.
So personalised content is increasingly important to consumers. What’s more, when it came to how consumers felt about parting with the personal information necessary for companies to provide personalisation:
- 57% said they are fine with providing personal information as long as it’s for their own benefit and being used responsibly.
- 77% said they would trust businesses if it was explained to them how their personal information is used to improve the online experience.
So despite claims that consumers are increasingly concerned with online privacy, this isn’t so much the case when it comes to ensuring that they have the best shopping experience.
Dynamic Content Delivers the Best Experience
Personalisation is now so powerful that you can dynamically display offers for individual consumers as they surf on your site. To personalise content, it’s (of course) necessary to use data to determine customer behaviour and in turn, what content is displayed to that visitor.
You can do this based on various criteria such as:
- Website behaviour
- Buying stage
- Content interests
- Referral traffic
Ideally, personalised content should be used alongside targeted email campaigns for ultimate effectiveness. It’s best also to create buyer personas in order to effectively target different groups depending on behaviour. For example, you may wish to offer something completely different to a visitor that’s arrived from a social media site as one that come in through an advertisement. You can of course also personalised content based on past behaviour for existing customers, which is something that’s a little easier than the anonymous surfer as you have already captured their details and begun the process of getting to know them.
Personalisation is an opportunity for companies, especially retailers, to target customers in such a way that they deliver excellent customer service. Today’s consumer expects it, what’s more and those businesses that don’t offer it run the risk of customers heading for the competition where they can enjoy a more personalised experience.
Learn about content personalisation in Elcom.
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