Building Loyalty through Personalisation in the Digital Age
In today’s digital age, personalisation has become a common goal for marketers. Brands now have to work harder to meet the increasing consumer demands for truly individual offerings. Consumers already have very high expectations from brands and as such personalisation is crucial to help brands compete. With brands such as Netflix and Amazon setting the personalisation benchmark, innovative brands are now leading the way in defining the next generation of customer experience.
Each customer is on a unique journey across the web, and as such marketers need to gain a more holistic view of their customers that will enable them to deliver even more personalised marketing interactions that increase brand engagement and sale. When looking at the customer journey, marketers need to look at what consumers are doing across the whole internet, even before they are exposed to or have interacted with your brand. What content are they looking at? What are their purchasing habits? Over 54% of marketers say that they understand the importance of personalisation but struggle with getting it right.
In the past, marketers had to apply broad categories to customers to create customer profiles for campaigns. However, most marketing departments now possess a huge scope of data which they can use to kick-start personalisation. This hugely valuable data is also enabling marketers to be more helpful to their customers. The biggest challenge with personalisation is gaining insight quickly enough, so offers are always relevant. 39% of retailers feel that not having enough data is their greatest worry but the beauty of utilising digital footprints is that there is now so much data available.
In a marketplace crowded with new technologies, ripe with innovation and full of competition, personalisation has become one of the most important ways to differentiate. People crave connections, and brands that establish relationships and produce emotionally meaningful connections with their audiences stand out – and win.
So, how can brands get personalisation right?
#1 – Data
With customer data flooding in from a number of sources – mobile, social, email, loyalty cards and wearable technologies – it can be hard for businesses to navigate the big data landscape in a way that allows them to effectively personalise messaging. To manage customer data effectively, brands have to create unified profiles that power one-to-one customer relationships. This can be done by identifying consumers at the point they enter your site via registration forms and social authentication. This gives businesses the capability to tie demographic, interest and behavioural data to individual user identities. The main benefit of collecting and leveraging data is that brands can develop and in-depth understanding of their customers. This enables brands to send out personalised, relevant offers which results in significantly higher conversion rates and lasting customer relationships. Using data powerfully and for good reason is something that marketers should aim for. Customers are now savvier about why and who they give their data away to. They know it’s valuable and need a good reason to share it with you.
The main benefit of collecting and leveraging data is that brands can develop an in-depth understanding of their customers. This enables brands to send out personalised, relevant offers which results in significantly higher conversion rates and lasting customer relationships. Using data powerfully and for good reason is something that marketers should aim for. Customers are now savvier about why and who they give their data away to. They know it’s valuable and need a good reason to share it with you.
The rise in digital purchasing means companies have more opportunity to track and analyse their most important customers. This enables them to incentivise the behaviour that drives business value and increase sales.
#2 – Drive Efforts in Real-Time
Today, marketers are focused on taking personalisation one step further by relying on real-time behaviour, preferences and interests. In the past, marketer’s relied heavily on purchase data and cookies but this is no longer good enough. These forms of tracking only provided insight into a consumer’s past behaviours, and not what they were about to do. It is far more effective to utilise real-time data to understand their behaviour and predict future intent.
One of the best ways for brands to build relationships with their customers is to offer timely customer care. Whether this is through their website with chatbots, through social media, or a messaging tool, the key is to deliver the right messages at exactly the right moment. Customers now expect brands to respond immediately to their enquiries and if they can’t get the answer they want, they will look to a competitor. This has driven companies to work out how to customise their automated communications. If brands get it right and provide customers a seamless experience, they will be awarded with loyalty which is priceless.
#3 – Mobile First
In 2016, 51% of organisations ranked mobile first within their top three priorities and marketers are now quickly realising the growing importance of mobile in their efforts. Mobile data location can be the easiest to obtain but is highly valuable to brands. Automated marketing can be instrumental in launching personalised marketing efforts
Beacon technology has proved to be the perfect way to alert shoppers to promotions or products that will appeal to them based on previous purchased decisions or their internet browsing preferences. Messages can be relayed straight to smartphones to alert shoppers that they are within range of certain items, or to pick up promotions such as free coffee. Brands must perform a fine balancing act here as the key is to add value without being intrusive. By building up this relationship, brands have been able to enhance and enrich their customer’s experience of the bricks and mortar store and the online equivalent. When it comes to launching personalised marketing efforts, many of the processes can be automated.
#4 – The Human Touch
When it comes to launching personalised marketing efforts, many of the processes can be automated. It’s vital though for brands to take into consideration the human aspect that is involved in the customer’s decision-making process. Without this consideration, brands risk sending out poorly targeted marketing that could result in people switching off from a brand. Brands need to work to align their messages with customer sentiment so that they can craft campaigns that are driven by genuine insight, rather than guesswork.
The travel sector is one industry that has truly embraced personalisation and has inspired loyalty with the human touch. The travel industry has come round full circle with a buzz around “artificial intelligence” and “chatbots”. These services have helped travellers in a similar way to what the traditional travel agents used to do. Although personalisation within travel is very hard to do, as individuals can travel for different reasons at different times, the travel industry moved swiftly to accommodate the customers growing appetite for made-to-measure personal propositions. By exploiting the real-time connectivity of the internet, the travel industry introduced dynamic packaging. This has made it fast and simple for people to custom-build their very own holiday. Instead of assuming somebody likes something based on a ‘lookalike’ profile, customers are engaged in a relevant way.
Although personalisation may be perceived as creepy because of the ‘big brother’ aspect behind it, studies have shown that customers do value the effort. Personalisation has the ability to make your customers feel special, and a customer that feels special is a loyal customer.
Knowing every customer in context of the interactions they have with a brand, aligning the totality of content for personalised delivery based on a customer, and automating the experience in real time across channels are the three key capabilities that that define and enable personalised market. Marketers must transform all interactions into experiences that meet customer expectations and are meaningful and memorable enough to warrant further engagement.