Personalisation. It’s a term that haunts us. Yes it’s 2018, but people are still shouting about it. The truth is, personalisation is a tough egg to crack - most of the time marketers attempt to personalise an experience, piece of content or a campaign, but the fact of the matter is, it’s hard to get right. So let’s take a step back and look at personalisation in its basic form in order to figure out how we should be using it.
Personalisation or normalisation?!
Personalisation is an interaction or engagement with something (like a piece of content) or someone (a person!) that makes them feel like their interests and preferences are being taken into account. It offers a tailored experience for the user (or at least appears to) and omits the idea that ‘one size fits all’. Truth be told, the concept of personalised marketing is no recent phenomenon, in fact it’s a bit of a fossil - Peppers and Rogers popularised “one to one marketing” in the dot-com era. Yet as businesses increase their digital capabilities, technology is enabling us to experiment more with personalisation. Businesses are in a position to act on it rather than just talk about it. Marketers can personalise home pages, landing pages, forms, calls-to-action and emails, so content and messaging is tailored to the person engaging with it. But for the most part, this experimentation is happening because customers expect it. Customers expect all sites to offer Amazon-like capabilities and businesses must meet these demands.
Why does it matter?
People don’t just expect personalised experiences because it’s become the norm. People like personalisation because of how it makes them feel, whether this is a conscious feeling or not. Let’s put our psychology hats on for a moment... Research from the University of Texas suggests that people like personalised experiences for two reasons: desire for control and information overload. Personalisation insinuates that a customer is being set apart from the status quo. The customer is not just getting the same experience as the next person, it’s an experience tailored for them. Through offering them a tailored insight, the customer feels more in control over what they’re engaging with.
People also like personalised experiences because it helps them reduce the perception of an information bombardment. If customers know that the information in front of them is personalised, then it makes engaging with the information feel more manageable. Personalisation means customers don’t need to sift through thousands of resources or options. It presents the ‘ideal’ amount of information, and makes the customer feel like the information that is presented in front of them, is the best and most trusted.
So if customers expect personalisation, how should businesses approach their audience?
Personalisation isn’t about ‘spray and pray’ email marketing. Customers are becoming much more vocal when it comes to their demands and expectations. Businesses should therefore think about how customers are going to respond and act on personalised material. This means not using personalisation for the sake of it, but thinking about how an audience can react to a tailored experience and turn their attention into an action or a deeper level of engagement. Customers expectations are higher than ever before. Marketers must meet these demands through taking personalisation to the next level.
Want to find out how marketers must react to the increasing demands of the customer? Read part two of this blog to find out!