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Keeping it Personal: Why Treating Customers as Individuals Matters More Than Ever

  • 16 June 2020 / By Steven Shaw
  • Connect Martech Modernisation

As part of the Kin + Carta FWD2020 digital summit, I spoke with Charles Bell from Sitecore to discuss why personalisation is still very relevant for marketers and an essential tool for engaging your customers.

In this article we cover some of the key takeaways, you can also watch the webinar on demand hereOpens in a new window

80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a brand offers a personalised experience.

Epsilon

Communicating during Covid

Nearly every aspect of business has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Companies are looking for ways to communicate and engage but some have found it a challenge to deliver the basics – something as simple as a statement about how the company is dealing with the crisis.

We’re all becoming more accustomed to messaging about being “in it together” with the continued goal of creating the elusive ‘human connection”’ It seems companies are focusing more on having a quality message and honest conversation than trying to deliver highly produced assets and adverts.

Consumer expectations

Results from a Salesforce survey showed that 76% of consumers expect companies to meet and understand their needs and expectations. This means that customers want timely, relevant content and information. This relevance should be driven by similar customer behaviours or knowledge of both the customer and product lifecycle.

A similar survey carried out by Epsilon shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a brand offers a personalised experience. Charles strongly believes this to be part of delivering the right content, to the right person on the right device at the right time. When you are relevant, consumers respond more effectively with intent to purchase.

We’re all becoming more accustomed to messaging about being “in it together” with the continued goal of creating the elusive ‘human connection’ It seems companies are focusing more on having a quality message and honest conversation than trying to deliver highly produced assets and adverts.

Steve Shaw - Technical Director, Kin + Carta

The Personalisation Challenge

Personalisation from a marketing perspective isn’t anything new, but many marketers find it difficult to get started. If you have a company with 5 personas and 10 products, it seems you need 50 variants of content to meet all the needs which often becomes the blocker.

Both Charles and I agree that the best approach is to start small. Choose one of the most popular products and start personalising there and measure its effectiveness before diving into other areas.

Are any companies getting it right?

A lot of people think Amazon is the king of personalisation. And whilst they are an incredible example of a company doing personalisation, they don't always get it right. Amazon is a huge organisation, with a lot of resources so we strongly suggest looking internally and understanding your own consumers and focus there.

The companies that are getting it right are those that are keeping things simple. Using the dynamic capabilities of text content with emotive resources such as images and video make for strong personalisation.

Kin + Carta has helped an automotive business in the UK to get started with personalisation using Sitecore. Together we chose their most popular model from their range and their “Book a test drive” journey. By profiling the model pages and building some simple rules-based personalisation on calls to action, we drove an increase of 20% in online sign-ups.

Using Sitecore to deliver personalized experiences

Sitecore is a digital experience platform equipped with numerous features which can help to deliver personalised experiences. Its core personalisation feature is one in a whole toolset of optimisation techniques that can improve the customer experience and their journey. Amongst the features, there are a couple of items that are essential if you want to use personalisation.

The first is that you have some goals set up on the platform, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of any activity you do. The second is to understand the areas of your site where components are used. This will allow you to identify what sections you can change based on the information you have about a visitor.

The consumer expectations are set, the companies that can adapt fastest to the changing world are best placed to survive.

Charles Bell - Director of Sales Engineering, Sitecore EMEA

Getting started with Personalisation

Put simply, the best way to get started with personalisation on Sitecore is to get started. Don’t over-engineer the approach, choose one thing to improve and ensure you are set up to measure the impact.

The easiest page to look at is the homepage. Even if a visitor has been to your site before, they often just type the URL in the browser and start again from the homepage. So why not signpost it, welcome them back or offer them the ability to pick up where they left off?

Another common journey that you can personalise is the one that promotes a newsletter sign up. What if someone has already signed up? Then why not look for “the next best action” and help them explore something else that may be of interest or relevant to them.

Customer expectations are set, it’s time to adapt

Covid-19 has forced all companies to look at how they operate and communicate with their customers. Those that are adapting fast to this changing world are best placed to survive. Digital marketing will see an increase in investment as social distancing becomes commonplace.

Companies who simplify their content marketing to respond much quicker and more effectively in the future will be ready for the next wave of changes that occur.

Treating customers as individuals is more important than ever as we have seen that customers will commit where the experience is relevant to them. To those that do it well, they can see an increase of 20%. To those that don't, they run the risk of the customer going elsewhere.