Two thirds of consumers across every age group in the UK and Germany now like to receive individualised communications and more than half now claim to be happy to share personal information with brands.
These findings, taken from a recent joint study we carried out with big data software provider Celebrus Technologies, not only highlight a big shift in customer attitudes towards data, but also a huge opportunity for brands. However, whilst we all know that data has the power to dramatically transform a business’ understanding of a customer and the way they interact with a brand, their ability to meet the changing needs of the consumer is becoming increasingly difficult.
With customers now interacting with brands across multiple channels at once, and each interaction creating new data related to that experience, customer facing organisations have a huge amount of data at their fingertips. Whilst this data is unquestionably incredibly valuable, the fact it is continually being generated at a rapid rate means there is now a greater need for the brand, media owner, media agency and advertising agency to work together in a far more cohesive manner, to share insights and achieve a broader and richer view of the customer.
Data may power that agenda, but unless you utilise the insight it provides you with and channel it through effective personalisation, you’re not reaching your potential and more importantly, you are likely to be handing a valued customer to a competitor.
Here are some top tips for achieving true personalisation:
The importance of personalisation and the rise of individualisation
If you engage with customers on a personal level, they will feel valued and that you have listened to their needs. This approach is critical to building brand loyalty and should be a staple of any CRM campaign. However, the days of simply personalising emails to specific preferences or online browsing behaviour are a thing of the past. That is still fundamentally important, but brands now need to go much further. As the recent Data-Driven Marketing Survey conducted by Teradata highlighted, 90% of marketers believe individualised marketing is the future. Adopting an individualised approach enables brands to build far more meaningful relationships with their customers, based on real data.
One-to-one interactions that fulfil a specific need or evoke a particular emotion are invaluable in a market that is often saturated with meaningless messages. However, it’s not just untargeted content that’s a problem, it’s also about fragmented content. You may have the best email campaign around, rooted in insight, but if it’s not created in line with your CPC advertising or your other channel activity and messaging, your customer is going to be left confused, isolated and disengaged with your brand. That’s far from the ideal personalised experience they deserve.
Don’t focus on one device
Customers are no longer channel loyal; they move around the web in very different ways and expect brands to recognise this. Understanding that, then utilising it to your advantage, is paramount.
Don’t underestimate the importance of planning
Getting these brand strategies right is particularly important for brands that experience key milestones or spikes in activity across the year. Planning ahead to ensure these are maximised, especially during peak periods – where they need to deliver the right offers, to the right customers, at the right time – is essential to success. If you carefully pinpoint these areas ahead of time, collate and analyse the data you need to power the campaign and identify which customers may be the most perceptive or “in the moment” you can establish a sharper laser focus and scale up activity according to demand.
Have a clear view
The explosion of Black Friday across the retail sector last year brought fresh opportunities to build deeper relationships with customers, but in reality it highlighted gaps in many organisations’ marketing strategies, as they failed to connect their customer data. Having a clear view of every data set related to a customer, both on- and offline, is key. Breaking down organisational silos is critical if the brand is going to power a successful and personalised campaign. This will allow a complete view of all data sets across all partners that are interacting with the customer at every point in the purchase journey.
Data Management and Organisation
Achieving a consistent message, which is not fragmented or contradicted by other activity is only possible if brands understand the real-time behaviours of their customers and work in collaboration with other departments and partners to achieve a far richer and accurate view.
Break down silos
Operating in silos can be crippling for any organisation and restrict the flow of information throughout the business. Looking ahead to this year’s Black Friday, the brands that performed poorly last year should now be working to ensure that departments are working together and have broken down silos and have control over their customer data. This will enable them to maximise it when it matters and deliver targeted messages.
The role of technology
Investing in implementing technology systems, which centralise and connect all available data together, should be a priority. Data needs to be able to flow freely between departments, so that the business has a 360 degree view of the customer at any given point and can use this insight to target them in real-time. It’s these systems that will bring transparency and ensure the messages going out to customers are united, while clearly recognising their individual journey and individual needs.
In conclusion, for any business operating in today’s market, the quest to understand more about your customer is an on-going one, not to be entered into without the correct support systems in place. The larger the organisation, the greater the number of affiliates and partners likely to be involved in delivering the customer experience. Each interaction offers a new opportunity to build a deeper relationship, but all this data is redundant if the brand fails to take action to implement the systems that will bring each department together seamlessly. The personalised approach is a priory for customers, so it should be paramount for brands. The critical data is there for the taking – it’s now up to the brands to ensure each insight is being shared and used to drive a rich experience and relationship.