Overused and Misunderstood – The Art of Personalised Comms

‘Personalisation’ could be accused of being an overused word and is often poorly implemented. What does ‘personalisation’ really mean to most consumers and why does it matter to get it right? I’m sure it doesn’t mean being stalked. Chased from web page to web page with a reminder of a product I’ve already bought elsewhere! That’s a personal irritant not a helpful reminder.

Surely if I want to buy a product, I will, even if your communication hasn’t got my name on it. I just might not buy it from you. So why does personalisation really matter and how does it make a difference to your business and eventually to your customers?

I read an article today by Will Kassoy, CEO of AdColony, talking about mobiles not being a channel but part of our lifestyle. I have to agree, it is how many of us like to spend time, exploring social and business interests; communicating and more and more, transacting. The key to mobile’s effectiveness has been the leaps in tech enhancements plus the growing understanding of retailers to reduce friction in the process to purchase. Making it easy for the consumer, providing a delightful, frictionless, and fast means to purchase or play. All this improves the ‘customer journey’ or ‘experience’ so they re-visit your site, repeat purchase your products and start to build a rapport with your brand. They, the consumer has chosen you as a merchant of choice. How do you repay that loyalty? Knowing them or getting ‘personal’ with them, must go further than using their name and showing them a few favourite products or recommendations.

But it is difficult and very few brands or businesses seem to get it right. It’s hard to name a company that balances following you, rather than stalking you, with sensitively responding to or pre-empting to your needs.

There is the start of an affinity, a marriage, a partnership when you become a merchant of choice for a consumer. In any relationship, there’s that courting period, the getting to know you over time. This is where the merchant collects data, the likes and dislikes, the purchases and the browsing, what they popped into the basket and did and didn’t buy, from you. Wouldn’t it be great if the customer could tell you what works for them within your brand offering too? Such valuable insight is even more powerful when used with precision targeting, and content that’s on brand and absolutely appropriate for each individual customer. Personalisation is only king when you align your data collection with listening to your customer. Are you listening or just talking?