Over the last couple of years, there has been a huge rise in the number of companies who recognise that personalisation is a key part of their digital strategy. But how do you work out if a personalisation strategy is right for your customers and how far should you go with it?
It’s important to remember that not all customers are the same and most are contradictory in how they view personalisation. So while people like the idea of an individualised, personalised and customised service, they don’t really like the idea of everyone knowing too much about them. For example, a location-based service might sound good on paper but do you really want others knowing your whereabouts day and night via your mobiles. As individuals we fiercely value our anonymity so we need to be careful about where we draw the line between using personal data for marketing campaigns and intruding on people’s privacy.
Saying that, personalisation can have major benefits for us and advances in technology have made personalisation much easier. Personalised computing is now ubiquitous – via our phones, i-pads, laptops and TVs. And hyper-personalisation is fast becoming a reality where we could soon see a time where search engines, social networks and online newspaper work together to deliver customised news to your own personal device every morning based on your searches, tweets and discussions on Facebook!
When deciding on the right approach, some questions to think about would be: Who are you trying to reach? Is a personalised experience really relevant for those customers? What are you long-term objectives and will personalisation help you to achieve them?
Using social media to arm yourself with the right information can ensure that your personalised marketing campaign is really personal and really hits the mark. Taking time to make your campaign really personal and contextually relevant before you commit to it will hopefully save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run!
Social Media tools and techniques like buzz monitoring, storytelling and location-based services have all helped to target and engage our audiences and to increase dialogue and conversations with them. Now we need to learn to blend and use all these things together.
So for example, buzz monitoring is not just about listening to what is being said about your brand. You can also learn and understand a lot about your audiences. Through buzz monitoring you can pick up a mass of information about your target audiences. You can find out which groups of people are talking about your products and where they are talking about you. If a big discussion is taking place on LinkedIn about your product or service within a group of 30-40 year old men, you can focus your marketing efforts around those men in their own locale.
The growth of universal log ins, like Facebook Connect, will also increase over the next year or so. Looking at users’ social graphs, profiles, behaviour and preferences will give us real insights into how to target unique content and product offerings to those individuals. Segmenting and customising your campaigns are key.
The key to all this is ‘Right Touching’. Technology can give us the insights to make sure we are touching our customers in the right way, at the right time, with the right information. After all, that’s really what personalisation is all about!
* This is an extract from a presentation given by Theresa Clifford at The Future of Marketing conference in March 2011.