Personalisation has been a hot topic for some time now, and it is quickly becoming a popular marketing tool for brands. As new digital technology continues to disrupt and change the way that consumers absorb information, the possibilities for personalised marketing are also growing rapidly. So what is it, how does it work and what does the future hold for this innovative approach to marketing?

Defining personalisation

Personalised marketing, often referred to as one-to-one marketing, is the strategy by which companies use data analysis to deliver individual messages, promotions and product offerings to existing or prospective customers. Imagine a scenario, for example, in which a shopper looks at a product online, and the next time they are on Facebook or Instagram, the site displays an advert for that same product or brand; that is personalised marketing and specifically in this case retargeting.

In some cases, brands may choose to take this approach even further. It’s now possible to take a customer’s name and date of birth and then use this information to create a personalised video of major events that have happened during that person’s lifetime, for example. Whilst this content is not actively selling anything directly, it uses personalisation to connect with customers and establish a strong relationship for the future.

Establishing success

More and more companies are beginning to adopt this kind of personalised approach. The latest technology in this area is making this process much easier, of course, as it enables companies to determine their customers’ location, learn about their browser history, and keep a record of their transactions – all of which help the business to build a detailed profile of the individual.

At this stage, once businesses have gained an idea of what an individual customer likes and where they shop, they can tailor their marketing messages to reflect these particular demographics, interests, locations and purchase history. As a result, even though a brand may be reaching out to millions of consumers, it can provide each individual with content that is personally relevant and interesting.

However, personalisation is about more than this content alone; it is also about how and where this content is shared. The rapid rise of digital technology also means that brands need to keep up to date with the platforms that their customers are using, which is likely to include multiple social media websites and tools. Regardless of which specific channels they use, brands must ensure that they are sharing engaging, personalised content that the user can identify with across all of these channels, based on clear, consistent messaging that creates a strong sense of empathy.

The benefits of personalisation

When it comes to creating personalised content, it is also important to build a ‘journey’ for the user that is well thought-out and easy to complete. Storytelling is a fundamental part of this experience, but it will only be effective if these stories reflect and represent the brand’s core values, as well as the customer’s.

In a world full of content, businesses that provide an authentic, personalised experience will have an opportunity to engage with customers and build long-lasting relationships with them. This last point is important, as customer loyalty is built upon strong relationships, familiarity and shared values, all of which can be strengthened through personalisation.

2017 will be a big year for marketers, with more and more brands experimenting with innovative technology like chatbots and conversational interfaces. Without a doubt, digital technology will continue to change the way that brands engage with consumers, but personalisation will remain a vital tool for customer engagement and retention for some time to come.


By Jim Bowes, CEO and co-founder of Manifesto

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