Perfecting personalised marketing – what’s cool and what’s creepy?

Personalised marketing is about treating your customers like people, rather than numbers. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, there are plenty of ways it can go wrong.

When personalised marketing gets creepy…

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1.Knowing too much

Just because you can do something, it doesn’t always mean you should. Some brands can be tempted to throw everything but the kitchen sink at personalised marketing campaigns, however, it’s often the case that “less is more.”

Don’t utilise every bit of information you have on a customer simply for the sake of it. Chances are you’ll look like a stalker, and this is not the aim. To avoid creeping anyone out, ensure that personalised marketing is an integral yet invisible part of the customer experience.

One customer suffered an infamous instance of personalised marketing gone wrong. US supermarket Target distributes personalised vouchers based on customer tracking and statistical analysis. However, when a teenage girl received vouchers for baby clothes to her family home, her parents were furious. In the end, it turned out Target was right, having identified a secret teenage pregnancy before her family noticed. Nonetheless – creepy!

2.Knowing too little

While you probably don’t need to know your customer’s blood type, personalised marketing campaigns need to make an impression. Statistics show that only 8% of consumers are encouraged to engage with a retail brand by digital marketing that addresses them by their first name. It’s hardly surprising – how many marketing emails are languishing in your inbox right now which mention your name in the title?

The problem is that overly-simplistic personalised marketing can appear inauthentic. There’s no point in name dropping someone in an email if none of the content is relevant to their interests and needs.

Even worse, don’t make broad assumptions about your audience. Basic demographics can help to a certain extent, but this can also be overly simplistic and turn people off. Netflix recently spoke about targeting ‘taste communities’ rather than demographics, as age and gender was proving to have little relevance to audience preferences. No one expected Twilight to have such a passionate following of middle-aged women, yet here we are!  

3.Scaring your customers away

Constant chasers are rarely appreciated, especially when your product or service comes with a long consideration stage. For instance, if your brand sells sofas, nobody is likely to be to purchase on a weekly basis. So why contact them this frequently?

In order to make personalised marketing relevant, you need to think about the context of how your products fit within your consumers’ lives. Do they purchase your products based on desire or necessity? Is it a big financial commitment or a fun little treat? Is the product for themselves or their children? This should all impact on your messaging.

What makes personalised marketing authentic…

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1.Offering real value

Demographics like age, gender or marital status don’t always influence how people buy – but their behaviour is a pretty good indicator. The best personalised marketing should offer consumers something they already need at just the right moment.

An overwhelming 50% of consumers are likely to engage with a brand when they receive an interesting offer. It makes sense – people choose to interact when they are offered something they want. Of course, this will differ depending on the individual. Consider what behaviours indicate they are nearing a purchase, thinking about leaving or approaching renewal – then determine what would prove valuable to them at this moment in time. For instance, a frequent purchaser is likely to appreciate product recommendations, whereas newcomers might prefer a discount to sweeten the deal. On the other hand, customers who recently made a complaint probably wouldn’t appreciate an upsell.

This simple tactic has proven results. Research by e-commerce software firm Monetate found that product recommendations led to a 70% increase in purchase rates and a 33% increase in average order value.

2.Being reactive

You can also impress with personalised marketing that shows your brand is human behind its corporate exterior. Reacting to current events means your messaging is relevant and offers something way above what most of your competitors are probably doing.

For instance, every hotel knows when Christmas falls, so sending out seasons greetings doesn’t exactly stand you out from the crowd. However, leaving umbrellas in every room when there’s a deluge forecast, now that’s more likely to stick in someone’s mind.

3.Staying considerate

Birthday cards are weird when they’re sent from your dentist, less so when they’re from your favourite restaurant. My point? It’s all relative.

Consider what consumers would actually like to receive from you. It’s about delighting them, not ticking a box on the marketing checklist. Sometimes, a random act of kindness can have a real impact on the customer experience and their relationship with your brand.

But why would you spend valuable budgets on sending customers random treats? Besides doing your good deed for the day, it can also entice customers to spend more in the long term. Econsultancy found that 64% of companies rated customer experience as the best tactic for improving customer lifetime value, so it really does pay to be kind.

Where to start with personalised marketing for your brand

The best personalised marketing isn’t overly expensive or elaborate. Instead, it’s often the little things that enhance the customer experience. Keep the customer experience at the heart of everything you do as a brand, and increased profits are sure to follow.

Inkpact helps brands to become more human and delight their customers in meaningful ways. We make it simple to send handwritten notes to your audience, blending timeless craftsmanship with the latest technology integrations. Find out more about customer delight here.

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