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Gartner: Marketing personalisation can be make or break

14 Mar 2019

While most marketing leaders continue to strive for one-to-one personalisation, achieving this type of tailored messaging falls short, causing most personalisation efforts to fail, according to Gartner. 

The price of getting personalisation wrong is steep - In a survey of more than 2,500 customers, more than half report they will unsubscribe from a company’s communications and 38% will stop doing business with a company if they find personalisation efforts to be ‘creepy’.

“Creating personalised messages and experiences requires intimate knowledge of customer journeys, relevant content that drives action, and technology that helps deliver and measure experiences,” says Gartner managing vice president Martha Mathers. 

“Brands need to be extremely thoughtful in how they personalise their content today. Instead of utilising every piece of customer data available, brands should focus on showing customers you can help them first, then layering in the right balance of data to boost message relevance, without making things too personal.”

Gartner research shows that the concept of providing ‘tailored help’ to consumers offers a significant opportunity for brands to deliver tangible customer value in the forms and functionalities consumers seek.

“We define ‘tailored help’ as a message or messages designed to provide valuable assistance or support while using as few data dimensions as possible to thread the very tough needle between too inaccurate on one hand and too creepy on the other,” says Gartner distinguished vice president Brent Adamson.

The opportunity for improvement here is tremendous - 88% of surveyed consumers reported not receiving “tailored help” and using “tailored help” messaging increases the predicted impact of the commercial benefit index (e.g. brand intent, purchase, repurchase and increased cart size) by 20%.

To overcome barriers to effective personalisation, Gartner’s 2018 State of Personalisation Report encourages marketing leaders to consider the following when creating “tailored help” content:

Develop personalisation skills

Staffing challenges are a major impediment to personalisation efforts. In fact, 74% of marketing leaders report they struggle to scale their personalisation efforts. 

To personalise effectively, marketing leaders must hire, train and develop key competencies for personalisation including - the ability to understand consumers’ microbehaviors, know individual consumer preferences for trigger-based messages, produce content that can be versioned to meet a wide variety of consumer profiles and triggers, learn to mine nontraditional data and apply creativity to analytics, and share decision making with other disciplines.

Atomise your content

65% of marketers indicate they “feel overwhelmed by the need to create more content to support personalisation.” 

Meanwhile, two-thirds of B2C marketers report they are expected to show results from their personalisation investments in less than a year. 

To effectively manage expectations and deliver on objectives, marketing leaders need to create personalised content that is broken down into smaller components based on defined messages or purpose that contributes to the larger experience.

Rethink your data strategy 

Data is the currency of any personalisation programme. However, brands find themselves balancing the need for personalised marketing messages while consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy and data usage. 

To overcome this challenge, brands need to rethink their data collection, notification and deployment or risk losing consumer trust and attention. 

Leading companies utilise their brand sites as the primary method of data collection, maintaining control over customer datasets and enabling customers to consent to usage.

Learn to walk, before you run, with technology

Despite growing pressures to show results and generate returns on personalisation investments, marketing leaders need to exercise caution when investing in personalisation tools - especially if they lack the data foundation or internal resources to fully leverage the solution. 

Building the business case and organising customer data to support the personalisation tool will take time.

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