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The evolving role of personalisation in marketing

Personalisation is nothing new in the world of marketing, but its uses are constantly changing. Brands now need to find the balance between delivering a personalised experience and respecting boundaries, especially in terms of data.

As we head into 2024, customers are becoming more aware of the value of their data. While fewer are keen to hand over their information freely via cookies, many are still prepared to share their data if they get an enhanced experience in return.

While this may sound like an additional challenge for marketers, it actually represents an opportunity. When customers opt in to sharing their data, they want to be wowed. As marketers, it’s up to us to fulfil that promise.

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What is personalisation?

Personalisation is the strategy employed by marketers to target and retarget leads with specific messaging that addresses them directly. It aims to cater to their individual needs, pain points, buying behaviour and demographics.

A personalised marketing strategy has the power to transform your conversion rates, with customers feeling like your brand messaging is speaking just to them one-on-one. Utilising algorithms and automation tools enables companies to make recommendations based on collected data, often to great effect.

Why is personalisation important?

It’s estimated that the average customer sees 1,700 ads every month, making it all the more important to cut through the noise. With three-quarters of marketers failing to use behavioural data for online ad targeting, they’re missing out on delivering a personalised user experience.

By not customising your message to suit segmented audiences, customers feel like they’re being treated as one of many. Speak to them directly and you’ll achieve better connections, improved revenue, increased loyalty and more retargeting opportunities.

Personalisation strategies that work

Incorporating personalisation into your digital marketing may sound like a big job, but in reality, there are some simple areas where you can start and quickly see the returns.

Personalised emails

Increase your open rate on emails by personalising the subject line. In fact, research suggests this technique leads to a 50 per cent increase in recipients clicking them open. Go further and automate your system to send emails on your customers’ birthdays and anniversaries, as well as ensuring the offers they receive are relevant to them.

Personalised product recommendations

Collecting data on purchases, search history and demographics to be used to recommend other products is a highly effective way to boost growth. Suggesting the right product at the right time to a customer can lead to higher sales and improved satisfaction, making it a win all round.

Personalised marketing through AI

As AI becomes more ubiquitous, the opportunities to enhance personalisation in content marketing proliferate. As Axonn’s social media content creator Nico Eller has pointed out, as long as the technology is mitigated by “human-centric strategies”, the possibilities are endless. Coupling AI efficiency with human creativity can improve personalisation and overall customer satisfaction.

What happens when personalisation goes wrong?

So, we’re all agreed that personalisation can be an effective tool in marketing, but like most things there needs to be a balance. Overdoing personalisation can lead to customers feeling like brands are too pushy or intrusive. This can have a knock-on effect, making clients less inclined to share their personal data in the first place.

The challenges in personalisation as customers become more aware of the value of their data

Customers are more aware of the value of their data than ever before. While many crave, and have come to expect, personalisation in their marketing, this must be weighed against their desire for privacy. As the digital world turns against cookies, it’s becoming clear that users are prepared to share their data, but only when they will receive value and a seamless experience in return.

Collecting first-party data

Without a reliance on third-party data, companies must improve their strategies for collecting first-party data instead. One of the most effective approaches is to employ a multi-channel method, where a diverse mix of media allows marketers to interact with customers. This journey must be seamless and coordinated to offer value as first-party data is shared willingly.

Lean into customer agency

An effective marketing strategy should never feel like an us versus them arm wrestle, especially when it comes to data. Customers are not the enemy and the ideal outcome is one that’s mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Be transparent about your data policies and empower customers to control how much they share. Then, once you have it, be respectful in its usage.

Demonstrating a compelling value proposition

With 90 per cent of consumers willing to share their data, demonstrating why it’ll be worthwhile is the main hurdle. Understanding your customers’ needs and presenting a compelling value proposition means you should be able to collect good quality data willingly to facilitate you delivering a better customer experience.

Does personalisation make personas obsolete?

So, in a post-cookies, AI-powered marketing landscape where customers crave meaningful personalisation, what’s the role of personas? These research-based fictional representations of your ideal consumers have been the cornerstone of successful marketing for years, but by their very nature, they segment your audience into generic groups.

Instead of making assumptions about demographics based on the data, let the data speak for itself. A buyer’s actions will demonstrate their pain points and there are more opportunities than ever before to pick up on the nuances of their needs. Don’t take a step back and fit them into a wider group, deliver true personalisation for the best results.

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