Tag Archives: personalisation

Big data and marketing personalisation?

Big data and content marketingWhat is big data and how does it fit in with marketing personalisation?

No doubt you’ve seen articles about “big data” and maybe even had your inbox inundated with “big data” news.

Last year I wrote about content and cross media personalisation and how print and the various social media platforms interact with each other creating a touch point for customers to engage.

What does it mean?

Big data is nothing new, in fact it has been around for a long time. It has just got bigger.

Let me explain.

When I browse I know that I am being tracked or followed around the web, unique customised adverts designed to entice me to buy based on my browsing history are evidence of this.

Having crossed over to the dark side by joining google business, well meaning colleagues have commented ‘doesn’t it feel a little like big brother is watching over you.’

But wait a minute…

Amazon is a great example of giving its customers a personalised viewing experience based on your shopping history.

When you click through and place an order with amazon you get further recommendations in your inbox or on your amazon homepage for other items you might be interested in viewing; ‘personalisation’ and ‘customisation’ is key to amazon’s buying experience.

Recently I had the pleasure of writing up a great review for a restaurant we ate in Paris on Trip Advisor and whilst I was browsing on a completely unrelated website an advert popped up with a list of recommended places to eat in Paris uniquely personalised for me.

I have to admit; it left me feeling a little shall we say uncomfortable under the collar.

How do these unrelated websites track my buying habits or know what I’m likely to be interested in purchasing or where I like to eat?

When on holiday in europe, adverts pop up whilst I’m browsing hi-lighting things I could be doing relevant to the very country I’m in.

It’s all about ‘big data’.

I like wikipedia’s definition of big data, ’a term used for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using database management tools’

Retailers and big brands are leading the way in using big data analysing our unique buying trends. The analytics of customer data has got bigger due to interaction and engagement the consumer has on social media platforms.

Big data isn’t new. Retailer loyalty cards, medical records, tax returns all this kind of data has and is managed using a relationship customer database.

The challenge for marketers’ and managers of big data is how to manage the massive surge in data.

New skills are needed to understand what to do with this data and let’s not forget that the job of a big data analytics person didn’t exist five years ago.

We live in an online and digital world where data has got bigger – from the number of tweets to text messages, facebook updates, online shopping and the gadgets we use to interact online.

Smartphones send and receive large volumes of data; the heating thermostat that can be set using a smartphone so your house is warm when you return home from work or the washing machine that can be remotely set to come on at a specific time.

All of these processes involve sending or receiving large chunks of data, which is being used to monitor our buying quirks and hi-light when we are more likely to be online and reciprocal to marketing messages.

Hang on a minute any data is good data isn’t it? marketing personalisation and big marketing


Having a load of data is all well and good but if you don’t know how to analyse or interpret it then it’s useless and of course what do you hope to achieve once you have all this data? Companies are only just realising that data is a valuable asset that can be exploited for targeted marketing.

Using the data you have and understanding what it is telling you is key to personalising your marketing message to your audience and these will be some of the questions that marketers need to ask before they deliver mass marketing messages to their audience.

Using data to ‘personalise’ a buyers experience and understanding your audiences’ persona is key to delivering an effective message.

Sending or emailing a marketing message for a two seater BMW Z4 to a family of four who drive a saloon car has missed it’s target audience.

They may well be car junkies and watch Top Gear every sunday but they are unlikely to walk into a garage and buy the car.

Consumers know that when they use their loyalty cards or purchase online and register their details on a site the information is then used to create personalised content to make the buying experience unique and highly personalised next time.

Most banks have vast amounts of data gleaned from our saving and spending habits and companies who send invoices or statements electronically use the data to create targeted personalised marketing messages so the customer will hopefully make more purchases.

content marketing and big dataEmailing a personalised marketing message is not quite so intrusive as being lam-blasted with pop up messages as my example above, or, being subjected to a mass of unsolicited, unpersonalised email from a company that you vaguely recollect in your distant memory because you made a purchase and now they think they can seduce you into buying that oh so much needed lawnmower when their data should be telling them you live in a flat and hate gardening.

How would you respond if you:-

  • Fill up in the same garage weekly and you get a promotional message via text or direct mail telling you that during the month of April the garage is offering 5p off every gallon of fuel because they recognise you as a regular customer and want to say thank you.
  • You purchased 6 toner cartridges last month and because the company you bought them from value your regular custom send you 10 boxes of laser compatible stationery to say thank you.
  • You spend a lot of time travelling from the UK to Europe staying in a well known business hotel chain and you get a text message welcoming you to your hotel on your next trip with a free evening meal and a glass of wine to say thank you for your valued custom.

That is what I mean about being targeted, specific and knowing your audience.

Now what was I saying about big brother watching…



What is marketing personalisation and what does it have to do with social media?


You cant have failed to notice Coca Cola’s ‘Share a coke’ summer campaign which is a great modern example of marketing personalisation.

Coke replaced the iconic brand with 250 most popular british names.

To ensure that marketing personalisation is targeted it has to be customised and personalised whether personalisation is attributed to direct mail, billing, social media personalisation is the key to engaging with your audience and customers.

We are over loaded with marketing messages subliminally and consciously but how do you cut through the ever increasing noise and get your message heard?

You personalise your product or service to suit the audience that the message is intended for.

Coke’s campaign was designed to create a huge buzz and engage its audience throughout the world and it has succeeded in doing that as people take to social media platforms with images of their personalised bottle.


What is the difference between marketing personalisation and customisation?

There are two types of one to one marketing: personalisation and customisation

Personalisation occurs when the company decides what marketing mix is required for an individual this is based on previously collected data.

A perfect example of this is Amazon.com personalised recommendations that display as pop ups when you log in showing suggestions of purchases you might like to make based on your previous purchase history.

Customisation is where the customer specifies one or more elements of his or her marketing mix. An example of this is Dell Computers giving the customer the option to customise the computer they order.

Sending out unpersonalised messages doesn’t engage your audience by personalising the campaign whether it is direct mail, email marketing, social media, billing you are more likely to engage a response from your customers.

96% of organisations believe that personalised marketing improves response rates and personalised emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% [Hubspot].

Irrespective of the statistics customer letters, invoices both paper and electronic, direct mail, email newsletters are being posted out unpersonalised this is a missed opportunity for further engagement with the customer.

Why is data so important? 

brand and personalisation

Making your brand personalised to your audience increases customer engagement.

According to the DMA [Direct Marketing Association] consumer willingness to share data with brands has increased dramatically over the past 18 months. Over 50% of the 1,193 UK adults that took part in in a survey for the DMA/fast.map data tracking report were willing to provide basic information about themselves – name, address and email to receive marketing messages.

Equifax one of the UK’s leading data providers believes that the rise in consumer confidence in sharing data is the increased transparency in privacy policies and improving practices to secure trust.

Major brands such as Unilever are ensuring their privacy policies are communicated better so that customers understand how their data is being used and 43% state that a clear easily understood data privacy policy would encourage them to share their data compared to one in three 18 months ago. Research has also proven that the better the data privacy protection policy is worded the permission to market rate can be improved by as much as 100% with the best notices reducing opt out rates by as much as 10%.


How does personalisation add value to my marketing?

What is the point of marketing personalisation?

Engagement with customers is all about data and never has it been more important than to understand consumers habits and what drives their behaviour to buy.

Purchasing data, social media, customer service interactions and web searches are all the essential components needed to drive customers to purchase.

Ensuring that your database is kept up to date gives a valuable insight in to customers behaviour influencing how you target your specific audience and/or market.

UK Office Direct is good example of managing their customer database when orders are placed on the site it offers similar products which may be cheaper or, more expensive but the point is you are given a choice of products and associated accessories.

This form of collaborative filtering determines appropriate recommendations for
the consumer ensuring that you are made aware of all available products and accessories.

UK Office invoices which are sent electronically contain variable personalised data hi-lighting various up and coming offers, products and accessories that the consumer might be interested in the foreseeable future.

It is clever personalised and strategic marketing because each invoice they email out is highly targeted and specific to the recipient.

The more a business knows about its customer the more it can tailor the buying experience by delivering targeted and relevant content.

Like amazon, a regular visitor to a specific website starts to receive a more personalised experience because the company recommends products and services that may be of interest based on the data the customer has previously entered making  the chance of click through rates significantly higher.

A more customised experience determined by consumer habits will drive conversion rates and encourage visitors to spend more. By being able to have instant access to the products they like with little effort they will respond by spending more money or by returning to the website.

The more personalised their experience is the more they are likely to share it.

Content is king

The more relevant the page the visitor lands on the more likely it will convert in to a sale. By understanding who is visiting the website, mobile site or app will ensure companies can be target specific and retarget customers with offers that make the whole buying experience relevant.

What next?

The new wave of inbound marketing is focussed on ‘personalisation’ and it is not just B2C but will focus on B2B.

By creating a more personalised experience for prospects and customers that delivers solutions to their individual problems, interests, needs and wants will positively reinforce people coming back.

How does marketing personalisation fit in with print?

Variable data printing lead the way with personalisation and the concept of personalisation is not new.

Printing variable data invoices, statements, council tax books and bills were some of the original paper based applications that were highly personalised and customised to the individual.

This form of personalisation has tripped over into the cross media marketing mix. [Cross media marketing] where marketing campaigns can include a PURL, in lay mans terms the PURL is a link that takes you to a website via a QR code or barcode that you scan with your smart phone.

web traffic and personalisation

Good content = increased web traffic = more sales

Content and personalisation has always and will always be king. Good content coupled with a unique and personal buying experience will drive customers to visit your website which is ultimately what we want.

What do you think?

How do you use personalisation in your marketing strategy?

What has worked for you and what didn’t?

Share with us your experience.

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