Navigating the what, when, where and how of personalisation

(Source: MI Academy)

It’s no secret that many companies rely heavily on consumer-generated data to inform many activities, from product development and strategic planning to targeted marketing campaigns. 

Marketers everywhere are talking about it. Heck, I’ve been talking about it almost my entire career and it’s been a while… Yet, despite its acknowledged importance, the intricacies of implementing this concept often leave you feeling like you’re in a new coffee shop without a menu not knowing where to start… 

A study by McKinsey in the US and EU reveals that 80 per cent of consumers not just desire but demand personalisation and with rocky shores ahead due to Privacy laws in Australia ready for a shake up, brands can’t afford to sit back and wait for the right time to start.

You see between that and our inevitable cookie-less future is about to make things a lot harder, so you need to get skilled up about how your approach, implement and evolve your personalisation strategies. Because whilst as many consumers demand it the same 80 per cent say potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits according to BCG. Try navigating that minefield alone. *Mindblown*

In this article, I hope to help you understand the destination for personalisation so that the journey can start to reveal itself. I will cover the what, when, where, and how of personalisation, without spiralling into the black hole of digital jargon, promise!

The essence of personalisation

Picture a scenario, you’re in a department store. A father and daughter venture into the teen’s section, greeted by a sales associate whose approach is as personalised as it gets, engaging them in their common slang and steering them towards attire fitting the daughter’s age. This is personalisation in its simplest form, akin to what we term “reactive personalisation” in the digital universe. It uses basic customer attributes like age and geography to tailor the experience and it’s a wonderful place to start. But don’t get stuck here, you want to use this wisdom to create a personalised touch with the broader experience offered to the known and unknown shopper.

Peronsalisation has maturity levels

Reactive personalisation

This is where our journey begins, personalising a mere 30 per cent of the experience based on observable attributes, leaving the rest to the vast expanse of the unknown – the “spray-and-pray” strategy. It’s a cautious step, acknowledging that while we may know where they are from or their age, the core of their mission remains a mystery.

Responsive personalisation

Ascending to the next level, imagine if our sales associate recognised the duo from previous interaction and knew of their affinity for athletic wear. This knowledge enriches the personalisation, guiding them not just to the appropriate age section but to the treasures of athletic wear they are likely to adore. In the digital realm, this involves harnessing data on past behaviours and preferences, allowing us to craft a more personalised universe that resonates with the visitor’s history and current interests.

Predictive personalisation

The pinnacle of our personalisation journey mirrors the predictive prowess seen in the film Gattaca. With enough data gathered from past and present, can we foresee the purpose of their visit? This level allows for an almost tailor-made universe, personalised to the extent of our predictive accuracy.

What happens when you take personalisation seriously?

Let’s turn the volume up and dive into some examples of how brands are embarking on this journey – the success stories. 

Ark Tarps: The comeback kid

Picture this: Ark Tarps, once sceptic about the personalisation game, skyrocketed its email revenue by an eye-watering 642 per cent in just 90 days. How? The company started by remixing its customer journey with more personalised automations, guided by customer behaviours, or lack there of. This wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder because these results were done without an agency and all achieved in-house.

Whole in One: The breakout star

Then there’s Whole in One, which amped up its email revenue by an astonishing 1000 per cent in 60 days. It hit a hole-in-one, all thanks to the sales of a single product – no discounts, no gimmicks, just pure, personalised marketing magic.

Everything Caravan and Camping: The rising phenomenon

And let’s not forget about Everything Caravan and Camping, which doubled its email revenue with a remarkable 100 per cent increase in just one month. This standout performance showcases the sheer power of personalised email automations, proving that you should be relying on your own team to know your customers without an external agency.

Taking customer data, email marketing and personalisation seriously isn’t just about tweaking a campaign here and there; it’s about reimagining your approach to customers, from the moment they first find you, the first purchase and beyond. These success stories are testaments to the transformative power of email and personalisation. It’s about engaging with your audience on their terms, making them feel like they’re the only ones in the room. When you get personalisation right, the results speak for themselves – chart-topping revenue growth, encore-worthy engagement, and fans for life. So, what’s your next move going to be?

If you want to be the next personalisation success, book a call with MI Academy or apply for a 12 week email marketing accelerator.

  • About the author: Alita Harvey-Rodriguez is the founder and director of MI Academy.