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How personalisation has changed online marketing

Craig | Wednesday 22nd April, 2015

Ever since the dawn of the internet marketing strategies and techniques have been constantly changing and shifting as businesses learn how to make this ultra-increase in connectivity work for them.

The advent of social media changed things even further, placing far greater emphasis on pull marketing rather than push and creating a need for businesses to truly engage with their customers online rather than simply sell. These shifts have been taking place gradually over time and we have reached a stage in 2015 where businesses are able to harness and effectively analyse enough of the right data to create truly personalised experiences for each customer.

Brick and mortar retailers have long recognised the benefits of engaging with customers, treating them with respect and making them feel valued. This tactic is now being used online to great effect.

What is Personalised Marketing?

Personalised marketing refers to the process of customizing each shopping experience or site visit to the individual. On the most basic level businesses are able to use data to track consumer preferences and prior purchases in order to show them other products that they are likely to be interested in. A great example here of a company that has got this right is online retail giant Amazon. Each time a customer accesses their Amazon account they also access an entire series of product lists such as ‘Recommended for you’ and each time they view a product they see a further list of ‘Customers who viewed this also viewed…’. On every page of the Amazon experience consumers are targeted with personal recommendations and suggestions based on their own viewing and shopping history and on the shopping habits of people generally. Customers come away feeling as if they have been welcomed, recognised and treated as an individual and in many cases having made an additional purchase.

With the wealth of data at the world’s fingertips today, online experiences can be more personalised than ever before. Social mining and tracking tools can monitor an individual’s reading habits in order to display that content that is likely to be of the most relevance and interest to the reader. Advertising, therefore, is rapidly becoming more subtle and more personal, pre-targeting rather than re-targeting and using a series of key contextual nudges rather than an overt push to sell.

Why Personalise?

While the internet makes it easier than ever before to target large numbers of people with one advertising campaign or message, the flip side of this is that consumers are bombarded with advertisements every day in a way that they have never been before. This results in an entire generation who are savvier and an arena where businesses must work harder than ever to be noticed. Research has found that personalisation increases conversions, improves customer retention and makes marketing useful. However, a survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit showed that 70% of consumers think current efforts at personalisation are superficial at best. Businesses in 2015 have access to the tools and skills to gather the right data and use that data to create personalised online experiences using a combination of CRM, marketing automation and web analytics. Those businesses that are able to make the most of these tools and skills are likely to be those businesses that see the highest rates of success.

The sheer size of the internet means that people are bombarded with text, images, adverts, videos and much more on a daily basis. To be heard above the clamour, businesses need to be able to appeal to each customer on an individual level, attracting and holding interest and making that customer feel appreciated and valued. Our website user experience team work with clients to understand the visitor profiles, this in turn means we can personalise their experience. This is one example however personalisation is a rapidly evolving marketing technique. If you’re a retailer in particular, and personalisation isn’t on your radar, you need to get your radar checked. 

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