Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How data-driven personalisation can persuade consumers to buy anything

By Phil Traquair, Account Director, Go Inspire Group

What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work (if you have indeed left your house to go to work)?

Given the likely readership of this publication, I’m thinking it’ll be similar to me. After saying hello to my partner and kids – I check to see what mail has arrived.

I’ve worked in direct mail and data for decades, so I always find the mail I receive interesting and I’m always curious about the offers that land on my door mat.

The likes of Hello Fresh, Gousto and Simply Cook mailings tend to be the ones I look at first, as my family likes to take inspiration from the some of the recipes.

This brand interaction is personal to me. But no matter which brands a consumer connects with, at whatever touchpoints, the rules of engagement are the same. Unless every communication is well-targeted and highly personalised, the brand can’t hope to capture their attention.

How, then, do brands build an intimate understanding of each and every individual consumer they seek to drive through the sales funnel?

The answer is data. So far, so obvious. But are brands really using the data at their disposal to its full potential?

To personalise, understand the person

You can’t deliver an effective personalisation strategy unless you get to know the person behind the data.

Again, it sounds simple. But all too often, insight is restricted to a very high level with in-depth analytics taking a back seat.

I’m married and the father of two girls and a boy. My wife and I are on different mobile networks and the three kids are on the same pay-as-you-go contract, which is again a different network to ours. We all like watching different things on TV/streaming, and increasingly YouTube for the kids. 

In an ideal world, our broadband and telco provider should recognise the idiosyncrasies under our roof and offer entertainment and family mobile phone packages that give us the best value. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.)

The first rule of personalisation is therefore to get under the skin of the target consumer. At a user group and individual level, link data together and drive insights from it to understand their preferences and behaviours. This makes personalisation and targeting successful.

The data that you have available can also reveal vital demographic information. Age, economic status and geographical location are just a few key aspects of building a complete picture of someone’s life and lifestyle.

True personalisation depends on these insights. For example, older customers tend to be far less likely to want to buy online, preferring to opt for traditional channels such as mail order and phone.

Overcoming channel confusion with data

That brings us neatly to channel strategy.

Only by analysing customer data can you get inside an individual’s head to glean how they act in different channels. Once more, this might sound like ‘marketing 101’. Many brands do, however, overlook crucial aspects of attribution. It’s clear consumer activity changes depending on the channel – and also from brand to brand.

So, insights driven from data help brands intimately understand the individual, and also identify the effect of channel strategy. When combined, this knowledge produces powerfully engaging and effective comms.

Successful personalisation is built on a tried and tested data strategy that:

  • Wraps in all touchpoints
  • Structures and enriches all of the information available
  • Delivers key customer insights
  • Provides a roadmap to personalised execution
  • Underpins strategic marketing but also timely, tactical comms

To engage consumers and give them the best brand experience they could possibly have, you must define all the touchpoints they will encounter along the customer journey and develop them to be consistent with your brand identity.

Simply put, every single form of contact a customer has with your brand needs to be on message, timely, effective and informative.

A prime example of an effective touchpoint is an optimised website that mirrors the tone and look of your campaign. Utilising landing pages can be a quick and cost-effective solution if your campaigns are targeted at different audiences or groups.

Functionality is crucial. The latest research suggests that 69% of customers go straight to the search function when visiting an online retailer but 80% of them leave because of a poor on-site experience. 

Consumers are spoilt for choice nowadays, so retailers need to smoothen their online journey, add relevancy and make the experience feel as bespoke as possible. 

When brands get all of these things right, they can win customers at will – and the customer experience will be so much more satisfying.

Opinion

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