The vast volume of consumer data now readily available to companies working in both B2C and B2B spheres is of an order that could only be dreamed of 30 years ago. In those days, intensive market research and focus groups were the tools of the marketing trade and the margins for error and misjudgment were huge.
One of the greatest gates unlocked by this flood of data is the one that opened the way to personalisation. While the average consumer is canny enough to realise that any company addressing them directly is only able to do it using technology and automation, nevertheless the effect can be profound. Even the appearance of the personal approach can influence a consumer’s behaviour. Being able to personalise your marketing communication with a potential customer is a new phenomenon in commerce.
However, personalisation as we have come to know it has its limitations. It can use information such as the customer’s name or location and make reference to their general purchase history, but there the interaction ends. Hyper-personalisation takes the process to a new level of sophistication by using the power of technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and the rapidly expanding Internet of Things. It means that companies can tailor their communications and the customer experience according to purchasing habits, browsing behaviour, including favourite pages, navigational preferences, length of visit, shopping trolley use, responses to links and other behavioural data.
Hyper-personalisation teaches you far more about your actual and potential customers than has ever been possible. It means you can direct your marketing with efficiency and precision, segmenting your audience in line with their habits, both proven and predicted. You can offer products and services to those people likely to be most receptive and avoid wasting the time of others, who may be put off generally by a perception of irrelevance.
Take email marketing as an example. A personalised email will be personally addressed, of course, but the possibilities for customised content are limited. With the benefit of data collected from an individual’s online browsing activity, it is possible to identify the types of product and service in which they have shown a particular, current interest. Based on that knowledge, you can contact them to offer options that could well be exactly what they have been searching for. There may still be some resistance to this from consumers who find it ‘spooky’ that their devices appear to be monitoring them, but as this becomes a more familiar experience, people are tending to concentrate more on the benefits to them than on any tech-superstition. Give them what they want and they won’t mind how you did it.
Hyper-personalisation harnesses the data generated by omnichannel trading to create an efficient enabler of what is effectively one-to-one marketing. Everyone can recognise a circular and response rates are correspondingly poor. What this new marketing tool provides is almost a digital version of the market stall-holder’s technique, when a trader blessed with what was called the gift of the gab could stop browsers in their tracks, draw them to the stall, strike up a conversation and literally talk them into buying. Hyper-personalisation has none of the elements of hard sell we used to see in the marketplace, but it does have that crucial personal connection.
There are many benefits to hyper-personalisation. Of course, it boosts conversion rates and increases revenue, but it has longer time effects, such as keeping the attention of your customers, encouraging brand loyalty, simplifying the purchasing experience and preventing your customers from being overwhelmed by too much choice.
As with the adoption of all digital marketing skills, professional expertise is invaluable. Moot’s EaaS offer can give you all the tools, advice and support you need to make hyper-personalisation the core of your marketing strategy in 2022.
Sarah Fox – Head of Brand & Content Marketing