Marketers have never had access to as many data points to help inform them of the interests and preferences of individual customers as they do today.
Recent research commissioned by Sailthru and carried out by Redshift Research to assess attitudes of UK adults to online shopping and brand loyalty, confirms that UK consumers increasingly both understand and expect a personal interaction with brands.
Over half (54%) understand that personalisation means receiving tailored messages that reflect their previous purchases or interests, 47% believe it is messages focused on specific offers in which they have previously shown interest, 29% expect personalisation in the form of messages focused on previously browsed products or services.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that millennials not only understand personalised marketing (Sailthru 2014 eCommerce Preferences Report) but actually demand it! While almost three in five participants (59%) are happy to buy online from new and different brands without researching them first – this figure drops dramatically for the younger generation. Almost two fifths (38%) of millennials are more likely tobuy exclusively from brands they trust.
Personalisation is important to consumers; and with the younger generation actively looking for a more personal brand experience, it is a must. But how effectively are brands building that trusted relationship with consumers? How much do brands know about what actually creates trust in the brand-consumer relationship? When 39% of shoppers admit they will unsubscribe if they receive too many marketing emails, there is clearly a fine line between increasing sales via staying top of mind and losing customers for good.
Delivering a truly personal experience is about understanding every aspect of every customer interaction with the brand, most importantly what is it that creates trust for every unique individual?
For example, how does a customer behave when given access to information that relates specifically to their interests? Does a customer like only to receive emails or prefer to receive notifications within the brand’s app? What time of day and with what cadence would a customer prefer to receive content and which types of content are most engaging to them? To be competitive in today’s market, this is just a fraction of the brand’s essential considerations for each and every individual customer.
To meet customer expectations and demands for personalisation, marketers need to fundamentally change the approach. While many organisations are still talking about the wish to achieve a single customer view and explore real time information, the reality is that the vast majority are still reliant upon batched campaigns.
There are two essential concepts to understand in order to deliver that personal customer experience and to build a trusted relationship. Firstly, attain individual customer knowledge – across every platform, from response to email marketing to online activity and social media behaviour.
Be transparent in this approach by giving consumers the opportunity to opt-in to each touch point. Secondly, forget the generic assumptions that have traditionally driven segment-based campaigns; effective personalisation puts those assumptions to one side and ensures content and offers are served up in response to actual, measured and tracked customer behaviour. Be reliable in the content that you serve, using data and analytics, to serve meaningful content to each customer.
No two customers experience a brand in the same way – and true personalisation transforms brand trust, engagement and loyalty. You must give customers what they want and know that personalisation builds trust over time.
Time for Action
The research proves that personalised customer communications can increase sales. The brands that are setting themselves apart from the pack and building a competitive edge are those that have evolved beyond ineffective campaigns and are delivering intelligent and relevant experiences to individual customers wherever they are online, in-store, on mobile, on social. The channels for personalised marketing are numbered, tying them all together into a consistent and coherent brand experience is where marketing is going, in fact it’s already here.