As a result, this has caused an increase in competition online and the need to constantly innovate. One method to create favourability towards a brand is through brand loyalty and the establishment of long-term relationships. This highlights the need to adopt new and creative ways to engage customers and the importance of differentiation through the traditional marketing mix. As such this shift forces marketers to become smart with their targeting to consumers and adopt new technologies such as personalisation.
In fact, we already experience many subtle techniques of personalisation on a day to day basis. For example Netflix’s suggested shows to watch, Google search results being more personalised to your location, and Instagram ranking posts from users that you engage with frequently rather than by chronological posting. Without us even realising what’s going on, we find it helpful, right?
Hence why personalisation within marketing channels can be perceived as a useful method for maintaining relationships; by viewing each customer as an individual with unique needs and wants, not part of a stereotyped group. It enables online communication to be exclusive to each customer and can increase the customer’s preference towards a brand, with 70% of customers now expecting personalised experiences with brands.
One widely used method to engage customers is through the adoption of Dynamic Retargeting, whereby banner content is dependent upon the user’s previous interactions on the brand’s site. Have you ever looked at a t-shirt online then suddenly it pops up on every site you visit? Nevertheless, it works! It’s a small but effective technique of personalisation to bring the user back to site to purchase, as shown through a current Natural Balance Foods Trek bar campaign, which experienced a +250% YoY increase in CTR performance in comparison to standard generic creatives.
However, in an effort to build a competitive advantage, personalisation can cause security concerns by users questioning how a brand knows their behaviour online. When really what they don’t know is that they are an anonymous number and all they’ve done is trigger a rule by clicking on a product (like an excel formula really!).
A recent article released by Campaign touched on the movement towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist in personalisation and potentially solving the current flaws within personalisation techniques. AI is a repeated topic of 2017 (despite it being around since 1956!) and as it should be. AI has developed from testing an idea that machines could think, to delivering a chess champion and now actually learning user preferences in real-time.
For marketers this means discovering what customers are actually looking for which really is the key that all brands are trying to answer. For example, Tommy Hilfiger recently overlaid a chatbot directly upon their video content to help answer customers’ questions and provide recommendations instantly. This was a simple and cost effective addition that removed the need to create several videos for multiple audience segments.
What’s more, AI can assist in all aspects of the customer’s online journey from assisting to develop onsite content to dynamic pricing and even after product purchase. BMW introduced an app with AI to improve its owners’ experiences, which can do all sorts like find and share destinations with the car, avoid traffic, schedule trips and give walking directions to their parked car.
This helps take the customer’s brand experience to the next level where many customers won’t even recognise that their interaction is being personalised, with the aim to reduce the “creepy” aspects that personalisation online can cause.
Essentially in order to build a quality relationship with a customer, personalisation is definitely an element of allowing this progression to occur. AI is just the next step in making this easier for the brands and more beneficial for the customer.