Why Personalisation Can Be Difficult
Most marketers wouldn’t put ‘personalisation’ and ‘easy’ in the same sentence. In fact, many of them struggle with personalisation. According to Paige O’Neill, Sitecore global CMO, only one in four marketers tailor content beyond the level of geography, device, location, date, or campaign.
The other 75% of marketers struggle to customise marketing messages much beyond those levels, and it’s hurting them. According to Segment’s 2017 State of Personalisation Report, only 22% of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalisation they receive.
Personalisation Starts with Understanding Your Customer
Take a moment to think about the last time you had a really positive experience with personalised marketing content. We’ll bet that you felt as though the brand understood who you were, what you were looking for, and where you were in your purchasing journey.
Effective marketing personalisation is based on the principle of thoroughly understanding the customer, and then tailoring the content to match that person’s customer journey. To do that, marketers need to know which customers are the ones driving their business, and segment them accordingly.
Not All Customers Are Created Equal
Not every customer offers the same value to your firm. There are those who are difficult to deal with, and who don’t purchase your high-value products or solutions. In contrast, there are those who never quibble about an invoice (and pay on time), and who believe in the work that you do.
That’s why it’s crucial to segment your customers into groups, so that you can prioritise the ones who are the most valuable to your company.
How Do You Segment Customers?
You can divide customers into groups based on shared characteristics and the likelihood that they’d benefit from the same experience. Here are some examples of customer segments:
- Audience types
- Where they are in their customer journey
- Product or service category
How Do You Prioritise Customer Segments?
As we mentioned earlier, not all customers are created equally. You want to focus on the ones that bring the most value to your company. How can you do that?
There are three principles:
It’s simple to remember them – they create the acronym PIE.
‘Potential’ has two meanings: the potential to increase visitor engagement by personalising the experience, and the potential ROI from marketing personalisation.
What does this look like in practice? You should be personalising marketing messages if there are two conditions met:
- The customer will most likely visit your site and has a high potential of buying from you
- You’ll see a high return on your investment as a result of the personalisation
The term ‘importance’ refers to how many contacts there are in the segment.
If you have a segment that has 200 contacts, that’s a segment that could be valuable to your firm. A segment with less than a dozen contacts, on the other hand, might be less valuable.
‘Ease’ means how easy it is to classify a visitor as belonging to a particular segment.
We’ll illustrate with an example. Tim is a CMO who has visited a marketing automation software site a number of times now. He’s read several blog posts, downloaded a few white papers, and watched some customer testimonial videos. It’s easy to identify him as a decision-maker in his organisation.
Putting These Principles Into Practice
How should you put these principles into practice? There are a number of ways:
- Emails to existing customers
- Site in-the-moment behaviour profiling – show relevant content on high-volume pages
- Identifying look-alike audiences – finding audiences who share many characteristics of your current high-value audience
The Benefits of Simplifying Your Personalisation Efforts
Why is it worth it to simplify your personalisation efforts with the principles outlined above?
Here are three reasons:
- Higher customer engagement
- Higher customer retention
- Increased customer loyalty
Higher Customer Engagement
‘Customer engagement’ refers to the interactions a customer has with a company. The higher the level of customer engagement, the more a customer is interacting with your firm.
When you segment customers and then personalise marketing messages, you’ll see higher levels of engagement. You’re tailoring content for people who actually want to interact with your brand, and because they’re receiving messaging that’s relevant to their unique needs, they’ll want to interact with you more.
Higher Customer Retention
It’s far more cost-effective to keep a current customer than to spend money acquiring a new one. Segmentation and the personalisation principles outlined above help you keep the customers you have.
When you group the customers you have into high and low-value segments, you’re making it easier for you to focus on the customers that matter most to your business. They’ll receive personalised content that speaks to them. As a result, they’ll want to continue doing business with you, because you meet their needs.
Increased Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is related to, but not identical to, customer retention. Loyalty is about how customers feel about your business. Segmentation and the right personalisation techniques make customers feel better about you.
By giving the right customers the content that fits their needs, you make them feel that you understand what they want. They’ll feel good about doing business with you, and they’ll want to continue working with you well into the future.
Enlighten Designs: Helping You Implement Effective Marketing Personalisation
Enlighten Designs has over two decades of experience delivering delightful digital experiences to our clients. Our expertise in data and marketing enables us to segment customers effectively, so you target the audiences that bring your business the highest value. To learn more about how you can make user-centred design work for you, download our User Experience Guidelines white paper.