Personalisation: it seems to work, yet more than a third don’t bother

The coming of the New Year brings with it an annual rush of predictions on the trends and technologies that will dominate the next twelve months for those businesses keen to use digital channels to expand and improve the way the talk to – and do business with – their customers.

In the latest of these predictions, Tech Radar said last month the key trend for retail technology in the next 12-months would be the rise of ‘hyper-personalisation’. Instead of looking at portfolios of individuals, customer management would instead be looking at customer persona as a way to drive innovation and keep shoppers engaged.

“Only by serving the changing needs, preferences and behaviour of the customer,” it said, ‘will retailers and brands be able to meet today’s hyper-connected consumers on their terms, across all channels of interaction.”

There can be little doubt personalisation is the hottest trend for marketing and customer experience in 2015. After all, good customer data can really help retailers provide relevant messaging and gain market advantage. But despite the obvious wins that personalisation can provide, and the seeming ubiquity of personalisation as the topic of the moment, not all firms are either yet convinced about it’s effectiveness or taking steps to implement personalisation features into their messaging programmes.

More than a third of companies have not brought any form of personalisation into their marketing activity, according to a new report from Econsultancy

The Conversion Rate Optimisation Report said that despite a vast majority of companies reporting an uplift in conversion rate after adding personalisation features to one or more of their marketing channels, a staggering 38 per cent of respondents said they still hadn’t added any form of personalisation to their campaigns.

Of those firms that personalise some aspect of their marketing, the report said four out of five were doing so with their email campaigns. Although, the report warned the level of personalisation most companies were running through email was likely to be very basis – perhaps even just name and company.

For agencies who run campaigns on behalf of clients, the report suggested they were more likely to run some personalisation features across web properties and social media, than if a company was running it’s own marketing campaigns, but even still the levels were quite low.

It seems almost incongruous. More than a third of firms don’t use personalisation, but those that do say it’s really effective.

The survey claimed that every marketing channel that firms had personalised in one way or another recorded an uplift in conversion rates – that includes search engine marketing, SMS, offline, e-mail, websites and social media.

So, personalisation works; even when it’s as minor as adding a name to an email. But before 2015 can really claim to be the year of ‘hyper-personalised’ communications, before messaging can become the slick operation people expect it become, a huge proportion of businesses community still needs to be convinced that experimentation of this kind is worth the time and money. And that isn’t going to come quickly.