The Increasing Demand for Personalisation in Marketing
Date: Thursday September 17th, 2020
What is Personalised Marketing
Personalisation is one of the biggest digital trends in internet marketing that brands are aiming towards today. You may also have heard of it called one-to-one marketing or individual marketing. So, what is personalised marketing? If you have ever been on Spotify and a song from your favourite artist pops up in your suggested, this is personalised or customized marketing, providing a unique customer experience depending on their own preferences. Customers all around the world would have experienced personalised marketing at least once in their lives when browsing for products from large corporate brands such as Amazon, Google etc.
Personalised marketing is basically data collection. Data is collected through websites using cookies, which means your activity can be tracked and monitored. Social media is also guilty of this, specifically Facebook. Have you ever clicked through an ad on Facebook or your web browser and when returning to your homepage it is covered in various ads of similar products? Weird, I know. This is personalised marketing through Facebook algorithms, your data to be collected automatically and is adapted your news feed to products/services that are relevant to you.
Today, brands that fail to touch on personalisation in their marketing campaigns are overestimating the engagement and retention of their customers, as this has become key to brands online presence. Digital marketing changed the entire marketing landscape, with the amount of social media channels and online hubs available, brands have no excuse to not understand their customers.
Is the demand for Personalised Marketing increasing?
Simply put, Yes.
Personalisation doesn’t just generate customer engagement and retention but also encourages customer loyalty through brand advocacy. Advocates of your brand will spread positive word of mouth both on and offline, which arguably the most important form of marketing for any brand.
This is essential to both small and large brands as having advocates amongst customer groups is a powerful tool in building solid relationships with your customers as well as improving your brand's overall reputation. In addition to this, people speaking and discussing your brand with friends or by leaving positive reviews all help with overall brand awareness.
An example of this is Amazon, their strategy involves using customers' purchase history and recently viewed to recommend more relevant products. This algorithm demonstrates Amazon’s knowledge of its customers and has led to a boom in potentially unplanned sales, ultimately increasing the brand advocacy and introduction of new customers to the brand.
Another benefit of brands using personalisation in their marketing strategy is that it helps improve their position against competitors and new entrants to the market. Personalisation is great, but it’s best when a brand has a large amount of data on their customers.
More data equals more knowledge; more knowledge equals better and more relevant personalisation.
Therefore, brands such as Amazon, Netflix and Spotify who have been collecting data on their customers for years are in a much stronger position to offer personalised experiences both on and offline in comparison to a small business or new entrants to the market.
But can’t you just buy customers data? You may ask. Not anymore, new GDPR regulations have made it much harder for corporate companies to sell or purchase data. Customers now have to actively opt into having their behaviour monitored or data stored. Making it much harder for new market entrants to go straight in with a strong personalisation marketing strategy.
Having this upper hand on competitors puts any brand in a strong position, but they should never get complacent.
So then, what are the issues with Personalisation?
Have you ever had an ad pop up for something that you have not searched but have been talking about with friends? Yep, we have all been there. By now you are probably aware that the tech giants are listening to you, but that is not always the case. The algorithms these tech businesses use are now so advanced that they can estimate what you will search, based off of your previous history before you even know what you’re looking for.
This is the main downfall of personalisation, data collection. It is questioned by many people and a lot of customers are not comfortable with their data being collected or monitored. Several websites give customers the option to subscribe to receive emails and updates about new products and upcoming events. Some brands, however, obtain data when they are flicking through online or on social media. This is still legal, as they do this through cookies, which you will have to opt into when visiting their website. Usually, a pop up appears asking you to accept cookies on their site.
Despite this, research still shows that “86% of consumers feel concerned about their data privacy”.
As well as this, customers are frustrated when irrelevant information pops up on their feed. ‘bad personalisation’ is becoming a growing problem. We have all had occasions where we have searched things on google that one time, and then you just see ads and suggestions for that topic everywhere. Incredibly frustrating, I know.
But this becomes an increasing area around very sensitive topics, for example, if you're searching for a funeral director after a loved one has passed away. The last thing you want is ads popping up about funerals when you’re just scrolling through your Instagram feed trying to take your mind off it.
Therefore, the question stands on whether personalised marketing is always suitable. Should there be limits and restrictions in place to prevent this sort of brand behaviour happening?
What does this all mean for Personalised Marketing?
To sum up, personalised marketing is here to stay. Traditional forms of marketing no longer ‘do it’ for customers, especially the younger generation. Although there is hesitation around this topic regarding data privacy, the advantages can be seen to out rule the challenges. So, I will propose the question… would you want to have a completely customized shopping experience tailored to all your preferences or would you prefer to spend hours searching for what you’re looking for?
Think about it.
Written Laura Doyle