Digital Cream Singapore: Hyper Personalisation
New marketing techniques seem to appear regularly nowadays and it's easy to dismiss them as just another trend that won't be around for long.
But if you scratch the surface of some of them, you may find that they are actually a new way of providing value to customers and should, therefore, be taken seriously. One recent example of a new marketing technique with potential staying power is hyper personalisation.
Hyper personalisation has already established itself as a way for apps to provide a better, more personalised service to its users. For example, food delivery apps not only remember your login, your name and your previous orders (personalisation) but they also use your current physical location to provide value-add information such as which nearby establishments are open and how long delivery will take.
So, how can marketers adopt hyper personalisation? And are they ready to do so, or do they have some ways to go before they can make use of it.
To find out, ClickAcademy, in association with Amazon Web Services, recently hosted discussions on the topic with dozens of client-side marketers at Digital Cream Singapore. At the Hyper Personalisation table, moderated by Bipasha Minocha, Group Brand & Marketing Director, EtonHouse International Education Group, event attendees shared their views, experiences and struggles to adopt this new and exciting marketing approach.
What does hyper personalisation mean for marketers?
Discussions started with participants defining hyper personalisation and figuring out how it might improve marketing.
Most agreed that hyper personalisation means use artificial intelligence and real-time data to add a new dimension to the customer journey. With hyper personalisation, marketers would have access to more than just a customer's name in communications, they might also be able to use a customer's location, the time of day and his or her shopping history.
With all this data as input marketing communications could then be more context sensitive and crafted so that its messaging and offers are relevant to the customer when they are received.
Everyone felt that being able to communicate with consumers in this way would be a significant improvement over current techniques, so it was agreed that hyper personalisation was more than marketing fad.
Where are marketers at on their hyper personalisation journey?
Having established what hyper personalisation means, discussions then turned to what exactly have marketers already accomplished in this area.
Not much, it seems. Most companies were still in the nascent stages of hyper personalisation. Most were doing some segmentation and targeting but indicated that they were way behind the leaders in this field, such as Netflix and Grab, which built businesses around predictive personalisation and behavioural targeting.
What are the next steps?
Though behind, participants said that they would start with hyper personalisation by answering the 'why?' question. Just because the tech exists, and others were using it does not necessarily that hyper personalisation will work for everyone.
So instead of rushing to adoption, marketers were encouraged to start at the beginning of the tech adoption cycle and identify problems which cannot be solved with existing techniques and systems.
For hyper personalisation, this could mean that the customer was frustrated with the scattered approach of current marketing comms or that a competing firm was already providing a superior, personalised service.
If a problem which could be solved using hyper personalisation was discovered, marketers could then design a customer journey which took advantage of the new approach.
How should marketers start designing a hyper personalised customer journey?
Should hyper personalisation offer marketers a solution to a problem, the first thing they need to do is secure the data that they need to improve the customer journey.
Because marketing now requires many different systems, accessing customer data has become a significant problem for marketers. Yet, for hyper personalisation to work, customer data needs to be centralised and made available to the various systems used to create and delivery marketing communications.
Attendees identified several solutions which can help stitch together disparate customer data, such as customer data platforms (CDPs) and data lakes.
Once a solution has been implemented, marketers will have a 'single source of truth' about customers and their interactions with the brand and the hyper personalisation design process can begin.
Marketers, however, should not start with a large, complicated project, though. Instead, they should identify small, 'lighthouse projects' which can build a showcase hyper personalised customer journey which can build confidence in the approach with senior management.
What are the obstacles to hyper personalisation?
One common difficulty many marketers face when trying to get started with hyper personalisation is that they do not have the skillset or the capacity to launch a complex project using new technology. In this case, marketers should look for resources outside of their organisation for the initial project and establish an in-house/external team to get things started.
Marketers may also face problems with data privacy laws which restrict how customer data can be for marketing purposes. Marketers who work in regulated industries, such as finance and health, should seek advice while designing a hyper personalised journey.
Finally, brands may appear 'creepy' if they use data for hyper personalisation which customers were not aware was collected, such as browsing habits or clothing sizes. Marketers should always use caution, therefore, when using a new, personal data source for the first time.
The future of hyper personalisation
Despite the challenges, though, attendees were certain that hyper personalisation is the way forward and will become the new normal for personalised marketing. hyper personalisation will be the way that an organisation both responds to customer needs as well as learns about their new behaviours, many of which will be directed by more meaningful and contextual marketing communications.
A word of thanks
ClickAcademy would like to Bipasha Minocha, Group Brand & Marketing Director, EtonHouse International Education Group and subject matter expert Fred Goen, Big Data & Analytics Sales Lead, ASEAN, Amazon Web Services for moderating discussions at the Hyper Personalisation table.
We'd also like to thank the dozens of brand marketers who participated on the day, providing insights and advice about hyper personalisation and other current marketing topics. We hope to see you all at future ClickAcademy events.