Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Brands think they are good at personalisation, but consumers don’t agree

The majority of UK companies believe they are providing high-quality personalised experiences, but consumers tend to disagree with that perception, according to research from Twilio.

The survey of 3,450 business leaders and 4,500 consumers across 12 countries, including the UK, found that 74% of UK companies think they are providing ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ personalised experiences. However, just 42% of Brits agree with that assessment.

It’s imperative that brands find a way to close the personalisation gap between themselves and consumers, particularly with 83% of global consumers (compared to 70% in the UK) saying that personalised interactions make them more likely to return to a brand for a product or service.

Companies tend to agree with consumers about the importance of personalisation, reporting that UK consumers spend 43% more on products when interactions are personalised. Among companies in the retail and ecommerce industry, 91% rate personalisation as being ‘extremely’ important for their customer engagement strategies.  

The problem that brands face when addressing the personalisation gap is the distrust that consumers have when it comes to how their personal data is handled. Although 97% of UK businesses believe that customers trust them to protect their data privacy, only 39% of Brits actually have faith in companies to do that.

The main reason for consumers not trusting brands is around transparency, with 39% feeling that companies aren’t clear about their data usage, and 40% thinking that businesses don’t only use first-party consented data in their personalisation.

“Creating customer interactions that feel personalised, while properly accommodating customer needs, is at the core of customer engagement done right. Achieving this requires more than an email starting with ‘Hello first name’,” said Paul Adams, EMEA Vice President at Twilio. “With customers having more choice than ever, the brands that will win in the race for good customer engagement are those that build personalisation into every step of the customer’s journey. We’ve all deleted an irrelevant marketing email, but companies now have tools at their disposal to ensure all communications are tailored and appropriate, thus creating engaging experiences and removing our thumbs from the delete button when an email hits our inbox. First-party data is the crux of strong customer engagement experiences and one that will define long term business success for many companies.”

The research also found that 82% of UK companies have complete or substantial dependence on third-party data, which is a cause for concern with the deprecation of third-party cookies on the way next year.

However, more positively, 96% of UK businesses agree that first-party customer data insights lead to a better customer experience. And 97% of them agree that fully owning and using customer data will be their biggest growth driver over the next three years.


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