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Hyper-personalised marketing: How exactly is it done?

9th Feb 2016
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Personalisation is not a fad. More and more businesses and brands are making the switch to personalised marketing as opposed to the generic, spray and pray type marketing that is all too common and the results coming out of marketing teams, who have taken it on are very positive.

Personalisation is amending your marketing communication based on a customer’s name, location or even purchase history. Hyper-personalisation on the other hand considers browsing behaviour and real-time data, but makes any change in messaging immediately and in the moment. Anyway let’s put ‘what’ to one side for a moment and consider ‘why’, how do you go about implementing a hyper-personalised marketing campaign?

Data collection

The first step to personalising your marketing messages and campaigns is to collect the right type of data. Your attempt at personalisation is only as good as the quality of data coming in. Name and title are good but what if you wanted to send out an email promoting the newest designer shoes in stock that cost £350. You need to know who in your database of customers typically buys £300-£400 shoes from that particular designer to send a truly personalised message.

That added segmentation will ensure that only those people interested in that particular designer who spend that amount of money will see the email and as a result will be more likely to buy the new shoes. But to widen the sphere of customers, you can also send the message to people who have searched for that designer but not necessarily bought. You can also send this particular email to those people who have bought a complimentary product in the past and who may be interested in this product.

Collect as much data as you think you need, but not so much as to annoy your customers. The key is to collect information in a non-invasive way. Use a simple signup process initially and at a later stage collect relevant data using a preference centre or an update email. Use social media to run competitions and push surveys to gather more information about your customers. The more data gathered, the more personalised the message.

Keep it simple

Start off with some simple personalisation. Try segmenting your messages with something easy, like gender or age range. Try changing the imagery in your message to reflect the gender or age of a customer. Test to see what happens when you put some pictures of only men’s products in a segment of only men or sending age relevant products to the right age group instead of sending the same message to everyone.

Once that’s done, you can start doing ‘a bit more’ personalisation. Try creating segments of people who consistently buy a certain product or always buy around the same time of the year or month. Find out the frequency of purchase of certain groups of customers and target them with a message just before they are due to buy again. So if you know that a group of your loyal customers always buy in June and again in December, start sending them personalised messages with the types of products they buy in June and November to start to get them thinking of buying again.

Time for a deeper dive

Measure the results of your initial personalised campaigns and based on the results, start to do analysis into the data gathered. Start to do even more personalised messages based on this additional data gathered. Also, start looking into the social media data gathered and include this into your newly personalised messages. See what customers are saying in surveys and what results you can get out of competitions to include. Measure the engagement rates of the initial campaigns sent out, see which message resonated the most and see how you can further segment the initial segments created. Once that’s done, start to use it all in future campaigns.

The next stage of personalisation is to start segmenting based on purchase data. See who is buying what products and when and push those messages out to your customers.

Use an automated marketing tool

Personalisation done manually is a very hard thing for marketers to take on. There is mountains of data to comb through and hundreds of messages to be designed and built catering to the hundreds of newly created segments based on individual tastes and behaviour. Using an automated marketing platform makes this task much, much easier. Also most good marketing platforms these days come with advanced reporting capabilities making the job of analysing the data gathered and measuring the engagement levels of customers much simpler.

The icing on the cake that any good marketing software platform should provide is real time marketing. This turns personalisation into hyper-personalisation and makes your marketing truly relevant and contextual. For a marketing message to really resonate, it should be able to change in real time depending on for instance where a customer opens it or change content depending on the weather for instance.

Don’t forget context

Personalisation, true personalisation, isn’t complete without context. Start to look at segmentation based around location, the weather, what people are searching for or time sensitive offers and make marketing messages even more relevant. Or use an advanced marketing tool to send contextualised emails that change their content depending on when or where they are opened or change what products are featured in the email to reflect what a person was browsing on a website.

Hyper-personalisation is the next phase of digital marketing; emails that change content based on where a customer is and even when the email is opened, context based messages and segments of one all tie into building more relevant communication with your customers to push only those messages they want to receive and in turn get them to spend more. Batch and blast is dead, the era of true personalisation is here.

Az Ahmed is a senior marketing consultant for SmartFocus

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