26 June 2024

The power of personalisation

0 min read
The power of personalisation
Annabel GibsonWritten ByAnnabel Gibson

Annabel is the Marketing Coordinator at Propeller, taking on the production of social media communications, creating copy for articles and contacting external agencies for collaborations.

In a world where the vast majority of consumers will turn to the internet to assess products, conduct research and make purchases, it is vital for brands to deliver personalised experiences that make their customers feel valued.

Aside from customer expectations, there is also an undeniable business incentive that cannot be ignored. 90% of revenue comes from the top 20% of customers. Therefore, retaining these top customers is crucial. Cue the power of personalisation. With the wealth of data now available at the fingertips of companies, appealing directly to your target audience has never been easier.

In this article, Propeller investigates personalisation, personas and the ethics of using data for marketing campaigns.

Understanding customer preferences

Personalisation gives brands the opportunity to guide their customers to the best choices according to their preferences. It moves past any guesswork, and assesses the data available to present the best options available to each unique user.

Preference understanding is a significant part of interpreting and predicting customer behaviours. For personalisation to be successful, you must have enough data to make predictions as accurate as possible. 

Guiding your customer to the best choices

Having data points about the customer is the first step to personalisation. There are different approaches on how you can do this. One approach is through building customer personas. This means you identify the consumer’s demographic and make assumptions of the user experience journey.

The shortcomings of persona building

Personas are based largely on assumptions. Typically, personas are built from a few limited data points. For example, imagine having the following insights:

  • Male
  • In their seventies
  • Self-employed
  • Based in London
  • Lives in a castle
  • Remarried

You may think this data would build a strong persona, but have you considered that this persona covers both King Charles and Ozzy Osbourne? 

It’s unlikely that any company would want to send the same personalised advertisement to both of these public figures. Yet the fact remains, for a number of analytic engines that decide what advertisements are seen online, this unlikely duo are practically indistinguishable.

So, how do you market to these distinctly different individuals, without lumping them into the same group?

When relying on persona building can fall short...

When relying on persona building can fall short...

Why personalisation rules supreme

Instead of using data to build personas, that may not be accurate for all of your customer base, brands must use data to personalise. Successful personalised marketing campaigns give insight into customer behaviour, interests and preferences. Data should be used to create targeted, relevant content that takes an individual’s search history into consideration.

For example, if Ozzy Osbourne searched for heavy metal music, the personalisation of ads can continually be refined based on evidence rather than assumption. Meanwhile, as Charles conducts his own internet searches, the collected data will begin to split these individuals apart.

What is great about personalisation, is that advertisements will continue to get more specific and closer to an individuals interests the more that individual uses the internet. From clicking on ads to browsing behaviour and social interaction, all of this compiled data will feed into which specific ads are presented to which specific individuals. 

Challenges and ethical considerations

Data-driven personalised advertising campaigns can be effective, but there are a number of concerns that have arisen over this level of personalisation. 

The main concern is privacy. Customers can feel uncomfortable with companies collecting and using their data without their knowledge or consent, leading to mistrust and reputational damage to companies who are not transparent in their approach. There are now legal requirements that companies must adhere to such as data protection regulations like GDPR.

Collecting and using customer data for marketing purposes is an incredible tool when used correctly. However, companies must approach data collection with transparency and respect for their customer’s privacy and rights. In doing so, companies can create impactful campaigns while maintaining the trust and loyalty of their customer base.

In Summary…

Personas are a great way to build content themes for your brand direction, and should definitely be used in the early stages of ideation. However, when it comes to targeted ads, personalisation is the only way forward. 

To reach your true target audience, current and accurate data will be able to pinpoint where your customers are, rather than assuming who your audience is based on their demographics. 

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