Today, personalised marketing is the benchmark for marketers. Why is that? Well, it’s because the new generation of customers demands personalisation from every brand they engage with and personalised marketing is helping businesses to meet the high expectations of their audience. It has become a primary driver for marketing as well as business success. If your business is not engaging in personalised marketing then you are losing out on revenue and loyalty of your customers.
The concept of personalisation is helping marketers to improve performance and deliver a more “human experience” to their customers. Advancements in technology, data, and analytics are the key elements that are powering the personalisation strategies of companies today.
The central focus of companies, big and small, to personalise different aspects of their business might make you wonder- Why are personalised experiences so important nowadays?
If I put it simply, personalisation gives businesses an edge over their competitors. Customers have a plethora of options to choose from, which means they no longer settle for average products or bad customer service. If your customers are unhappy with your service, they will move on and choose your competitors. If your products are not living up to their expectations, they will not make a repeat purchase from you and instead buy from your competitors. It goes to show that customers are pickier than they were a few decades ago. What your customers are looking for is an unforgettable experience. If a brand can provide exceptional customer experience, it’s more likely that customers would be loyal to that brand. In fact, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. They are willing to open their wallets and spend an additional 13% to 18% on luxury products, only for their great customer experience. The more personalised your services are, the more enjoyable the customer experience.
This journey of personalisation extends to marketing as well. Personalised marketing campaigns are beneficial for companies as they are efficient at targeting different segments and have a higher ROI. Collecting, analysing, and effectively utilising consumer data can help a business to curate campaigns, content, and experiences that resonate with the target audience.
What is personalised marketing?
Personalised marketing focuses on targeting marketing initiatives to an individual customer or prospect with the help of data analysis and automation technology. Personalised marketing has become a way for brands to tailor customised experiences as per customer needs and preference. It helps brands to foster long-term relationships with customers and reduce churn rates.
The reason personalised marketing works so well is that personalisation triggers strong emotions in customers and makes them feel as though their interests are being taken care of by the brands they support. So basically it makes them feel valued.
You must be wondering as to how marketers personalise marketing strategies on such a granular level. Well, the answer is data! What most companies do is set up data collection centers at every customer touchpoints across multiple channels to capture, track, and analyse demographics, psychographics, and buying behavior.
There are 4 steps to the formulation a personalised marketing strategy:
- Identify– This is the point a company would collect customer data. Five modalities that are collected at this point are demographic, psychographic, ethnographic, transactional, and behavioral information.
- Differentiate– At this point, companies analyse all the data that has been collected. This allows them to divide the target audience into different segments.
- Interact– All the data that is collected is used to approach prospects and customers. Companies strategise how, when, and where to reach out to the users such that they respond favourably.
- Customise– Making the right offer based on the prospect’s or customers’ personal preferences can help close the deal.
Some great examples of personalised marketing are- Amazon, Netflix, and Target. Amazon is a data giant that collects user data from various sources. It tracks past and current purchases as well as monitor browsing history of its users. Through this Amazon is able to provide personalised recommendations that match the users’ needs. The content is very specific and it’s tailored to each user. Netflix applies the same methodology. This is why every time you open your account, you see a list of shows that are similar to what you watch regularly.
There is a famous incident at Target, where a father was furious at Target employees for sending his daughter home with baby product coupons. The girl was indeed pregnant, unknownst to her family. But how did Target know about it? Well, it’s because they have been tracking the girl’s buying behaviour, and thanks to predictive analysis, they were able to make the right recommendation. Every customer at Target is provided with a customer ID when they first shop at the store. The ID tracks the customer’s purchasing behaviour and on the basis of that, the store is able to make personalised offers. This is a great example of the power of data analytics.
Why should personalised marketing matter to you and your company?
Firstly, personalisation is something that every customer expects from you. They want you to give them content and recommendations that are relevant to them. Customers gravitate towards brands that are able to identify and satisfy their personal needs and can treat them as an individual at every step of the customer journey. An Accenture survey highlights this consumerism trend perfectly…
“91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.”Accenture Survey, 2018
Secondly, personalised marketing is great for your business. Personalised marketing helps you to build relationships with your customers. Building relationships helps to foster brand loyalty. As you already know, brand loyalty is crucial for customer retention and revenue. Repeat customers are important for a company’s bottom line.
How data can help you personalise marketing?
It all starts with the data. You need to gather as much data as possible to create customer personas which will help your marketing team to develop relevant content and targeted ads.
As a company, you can utilise primary as well as second and third party data. But, you need to make sure that data collected from secondary and tertiary sources are validated. You can purchase second -party and third-party data from an organization that already has these data collected or in a private marketplace.
There are multiple ways through which your company can collect customer/prospect data:
- Survey– Survey is a great tool to collect primary data from the audience itself. The survey usually consists of a list of questions that the participants can answer through a list of responses to choose from. It can be conducted through online, email, phone, or in person.
- Online tracking– Customer data can be collected through your business website and app. Placing pixels on the website can help you to read cookies and track user behaviour.
- Transactional data tracking– Transactional data of your customers, both online and in-store, is a treasure trove of data that can give you valuable insights into buying behaviour. This data can be stored in CRM systems for easy accessibility. This data can also be bought from third-party sources such as e-commerce sites.
- Online marketing analytics– Important data such as CTR, impressions, conversions, page visits, and other metrics can be collected through your marketing campaign. Analysing this data will help you to create more precision in your targeted ads.
- Data from registration and subscription forms– When customers fill registration or subscription forms, they provide you with valuable personal contact information. When customers voluntarily fill these forms, they are showing interest in your brand and are more likely to convert. It’s important that you protect this data so as not to violate customer trust.
- Social media listening– Social media is a great tool to engage as well as collect data from your customers. Introduce social listening to monitor who talks about your brand and how. Primary and third-party data from social media can help your business to understand the common characteristics of your target audience and how that attributes to their purchasing behaviour.
How to build customer relationships to enhance personalised marketing strategies?
Let me break-down some effective ways to build long-term relationships with your customers that will help your business to improve its marketing strategy:
- Use a CRM tool– The sheer amount of data that is being collected daily would be impossible to organise and evaluate manually. What you need is an automated software that would do all the hard work for you. That’s where CRM software comes in. CRM will automate repetitive tasks off your hands and create greater efficiency in the process. With its help, you will be able to organize and segment all your customer data with ease and at a fraction of a cost.
- Catalogue every customer touchpoint– Every customer interaction and touchpoint must be meticulously logged in. Whether it’s live chats, messages, emails, calls, or social media posts, every bit of information is vital and in the long run, this information can prove to be valuable to your business. A special coupon for a birthday, cricket tickets for two as a gift of appreciation for five years of customer loyalty, or special discount for an anniversary…These small gestures can help your business to build a closer relationship with your customers.
- Align the team– An organised marketing and sales team will be vital to close the deal. You want to make sure that customer information is shared across all relevant departments so that the buyer journey is as streamlined as possible and every team member is on the same page. What you don’t want is for your team members to ask the same questions to a customer during an interaction (because they didn’t know that these questions have already been asked and answered) or not know about a customer’s issues. A collaboration app would help your team align their agendas and work cohesively.
- Constant evaluation– For any strategy to work, you need to analyse, report, and improve constantly. The same goes here. You want your customers to be loyal to the brand then you need to constantly analyse and evaluate your personalisation efforts. Track every metric relevant to the cause, update the data regularly, and adapt your approach accordingly. If you can provide your customers with relevant experiences, they will keep coming back to you.
Personalised marketing has immense benefits for every organization. Use your customer data and analytics smartly to reap the benefits. Also, remember not to get too creepy with your personalised recommendations as that could potentially turn away your customers. Listen closely to your customers and use that knowledge to offer them great customer experience with appropriate and helpful recommendations.