Digital Personalisation | What does the future hold?

“Personalised marketing at scale” – it sounds like just another buzz term, but in reality it has already become the fastest-growing digital marketing trend and is set to represent a new approach that will transform the way that companies approach the media.

However, in reality digital personalisation is much more than that: with chances are that, in the near future, nearly every digital product will be able to be personalised.

The digital personalisation marketing phenomenon

In essence, digital personalisation in marketing is based around the idea of reaching different customers using different messages. So instead of just having one single advertisement on television, for example, that everyone sees, it instead means you adjust your executions based on the different interests, locations, demographics or even purchase history of your users.

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One of the most high profile examples came from Coca-Cola when it segmented the population of the USA for its Facebook Super Bowl advert in 2014. Depending on where different customers lived, they received different thumbnails and different copy meant to reflect their interests. Of course, there is a balance to be found here: no matter how detailed you go it’s still vital to ensure that you still reach an overall significant level of people.

Why this is much more than just digital marketing…

Personalisation is stretching beyond marketing and into the strategies of digital product manufacturers worldwide.

Take, for example, BskyB. Speaking earlier this year, Rob Jackson, the senior ecommerce manager at BskyB commented on how the satellite television operator is now offering personalised experiences to more than 2.7million customers through Sky and the Sky Shop. Sky has utilised Adobe Target Premium to help it automate personalisation where possible allowing it to take insights from online behaviour and then using them in other channels. According to Jackson, Sky has enjoyed significant incremental uplift thanks to the use of these personalisation tactics.

Yet, according to research from Gartner, 80 per cent of CMOs are not yet ready to take that next big step into management of digital experiences in the form of personalisation. So what strategic steps can be taken?

Developing a digital personalisation strategy

Step one | Develop personas for users

Establishing a clear understanding of the core challenges that face your users, buyers and consumers will help you develop marketing messages that can help to solve them. Thanks to the emergence of new technologies it is possible to personalise the experience and tailor content for users while increasing both conversions and leads.

So how do you do this? Developing user personas should be about a lot more than just gaining a list of job titles. Instead you should look at every aspect of each target user’s professional life: some personas will be more complex than others dependent on the complexities of the proposition. This should include what each user’s initiative is and what is considered success for them.

Step two | Plot the user journey

It doesn’t matter how the user found you: when you’re creating your digital personalisation strategy you should always consider that the user is on a journey. By mapping out the journey of the user it is possible to pre-empt potential drop-offs while also maximising the possibilities for conversion.

Your aim should be to map as many interactions as possible. For example, imagine you’re trying to get a user to sign up for a newsletter. Normally this will mean creating a landing page. The user will decide if they are interested in the offer… if they are not, they will exit. If they are, they can register and sign up. However, the reality is that most users will drop out long before they get to the registration form and if the user experience isn’t good then there will be further drop-offs occurring during the registration phase.

As such, you should think beyond simply transactional interactions. Try to map all interactions and match them with analytic data: and this can then be used to reduce the number of potential drop-offs. In the case of e-commerce websites this becomes increasingly complex with the potential to form highly targeted product placements based on behavioural metrics from consumer profiles.

Step three | Integrate systems

The idea behind developing a digital personalisation strategy is that you can potentially increase leads, sales and conversion rates. However, it’s far from easy as you need both the right technology and the correct strategy.

One of the keys to personalisation technology is the chance to track a customer’s online journey and then pass this information across to a CRM system. Generally speaking, providers will offer a range of CRM connectors, such as Oracle and MS Dynamics. The idea is that your sales team should know which products have been looked at and can then tailor conversations with clients accordingly.

In this regard, technology can be massively powerful. As such it is possible to move away from basic interactions and move towards tailored conversions. Remember that on many occasions the buyer’s decision will be made even before they contact you (with procurement based on ITT being a possible exception): so effectively using digital personalisation technology gives you the best chance of increasing conversion rates and therefore positively impacting your overall profits.

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