Many brands rely on simple static data, such as inserting a first name in an attempt to personalise. This form of basic personalisation could even be losing them sales.

Recent research reveals that only a minority of consumers say they would engage with basic personalisation:

  • Only 8 percent consumers would be likely to engage with marketing that addresses them by name;
  • A mere 7 percent of consumers would be likely to engage with marketing that mentions their birthday.

In contrast, tactics that centre on relevance rather than demographics are much more effective. Our study showed half of consumers would be likely to engage more with retailers that send offers that are relevant and interesting to them.

The business case for intelligent personalisation

Before we dive into our seven principles of next-level personalisation, let’s consider why your business should invest in updating its approach.

Make intelligent personalisation a business priority because it will:

  • Increase conversion rates: Contextually relevant marketing drives more sales.
  • Increase average order value: Cross and upselling makes people spend more.
  • Increase customer lifetime value: Personalisation drives repeat sales and increases loyalty.
  • Improve marketing ROI: Personalising cross-channel marketing increases conversions onsite, delivering better ROI for all marketing investments.
  • Increases revenue: Personalisation enhances customer experience. Increased revenue is the natural result.

The 7 principles of intelligent personalisation

If you want next-level results, here are seven principles that should form the basis of your personalisation strategy.

1. Seamless 

Your approach to personalisation needs to account for the non-linear nature of customer journeys.

To be seamless, it can’t sit in silos. You need to offer customers a consistent experience across devices and channels.

Make sure that the way you personalise is:

  • across multiple visits device
  • cross-device
  • cross-channel
  • joined up with your in-store experience

2. Contextual relevance

To recreate a one-on-one in-store experience online, contextual relevance is key.

You need to consider the context of your products and how this fits with the context of your customers. The Tweet below is a perfect example of what happens when personalisation doesn’t consider context.

Customer context includes:

  • demographics
  • location
  • activity
  • time of day, day of week
  • season
  • customer journey position
  • satisfaction

The context of your products or service includes:

  • buying motivation (necessity/desire)
  • price
  • frequency of purchase
  • how they are used
  • likelihood of repeat purchase

Also read: 5 personal branding mistakes startup founders should avoid

3. Behavioural

Smart personalisation targets people based on behavioural personas. These are personas based on actions consumers take online, rather than demographics. They tell you what someone does and why, rather than just who they are.

Understanding how someone behaves helps you formulate strategies to drive them to conversion. Behavioural factors these personas could be built on include:

  • customer journey stage
  • customer lifetime value
  • frequency of purchase
  • satisfaction
  • marketing engagement
  • price sensitivity

4. Real-time 

Intelligent personalisation is about understanding, reacting to, and optimising customer journeys in real-time. This recreates the experience of talking to a customer face to face.

To do this, you need technology that:

  • observes real-time behaviour
  • considers historic behaviour
  • draws on the wisdom of the crowd

This allows you to deliver the most persuasive message, offer, or experience at the right moment.

5. Dynamic 

Next-level personalisation is driven by machine learning that makes decisions about which dynamic content to show each customer. To decide this the technology considers:

  • purchase history
  • preferences
  • demographics
  • browsing and buying behaviour
  • customer lifecycle

This takes the heavy lifting out of email marketing. Instead of relying on a lot of data manipulation to segment your campaigns, you can let AI decide the right content and recommendation for each individual. The same is true for your website experiences.

6. Think ‘how’ not just ‘what’ 

To take personalisation to the next level don’t just consider what to personalise, but how to personalise it.

Netflix has moved beyond the “what” to the “how” of personalisation. It has personalised TV and film recommendations for a long time. Now it personalises the artwork based on each individual’s viewing history.

If you watch a lot of romance, the artwork you see when ‘Good Will Hunting’ is promoted will be much more couple oriented than if you were into comedy.


7. Invisible 

Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Personalisation should not be noticeable to customers. If you show off every tactic under the sun, you’re bound to creep them out.

Before you implement a tactic, consider if it adds value or seems like an unnecessary use of data. Stay focused on the former and increased revenue will be a natural by-product.

Also read: An effective email gives a distinct reminder of your brand, delivers the intended message, and compels you to click

The takeaway

Basic personalisation no longer cuts the mustard. To keep customers engaged, drive conversions, and increase profits, you need to take your personalisation tactics to the next level.

I hope these seven principles of intelligent personalisation help you build a strong and successful strategy. Implement these with the aim of improving customer experience and you’ll be well on your way to increased revenue.

The principles  covered are easy to implement with the right personalisation technology in place.


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Photo by Rhand McCoy on Unsplash