Many marketers still look to clicks, posts, views, downloads, shares and visits on their digital properties as the most important measures of online marketing success.
But a report published In Feburary 2016 by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council titled: Making Personalization Possible shows that acquisition, retention and revenue growth have replaced these standard web or app usage metrics and are now the real benchmarks of customer engagement and conversion success.
So it's clear chasing website traffic and acquiring fans is futile unless marketers start to engage with the audience they're working so hard to attract and convert them to loyal followers, subscribers and buyers.
Engagement, conversion and loyalty in a cluttered, competitive environment has come to rely on one critical (but difficult to achieve) tactic: personalisation.
How to personalise? As a rough guide, to convert users to becoming customers, you use data to figure out who and where they are then create relevant, personalised content that they will engage with. The last step is to deliver this content to them, at the right time, via the user's preferred channel - be it mobile or instant messaging apps, web site, social media, email marketing, online business networks or video portals.
For instance, gather data such as purchase metrics, location, referral source, search query, number of visits, content consumed and device and combine that with digital and social media interactions to create personas - or verticals that can be further segmented - based on geography, purchases, demographics, etc. to create promotional offers for one-to-one consumer engagement.
Gary Dolsen, Vice President of Digital Experience Software for IBM Systems who sponsored the CMO Council study, says the combined forces of cloud, mobile and social engagement is revolutionising every interaction businesses and brands have with their diverse audiences.
He says "When marketers create a personalised and tailored interaction for a specific audience on the right platform, businesses and brands will create emotional engagements, which will grow relationships and encourage loyalty while influencing behaviour or purchase decisions.”
Personalisation offers a myriad benefits to a business, of which conversion is the most importan
Take a look at this comparison by Marketing Charts via Conversant that lists the benefits of personalisation.
Big data analytics helps businesses:
Yet, despite the fact that marketers polled by the CMO Council rate personalised content as the number one way to increase engagement and response rates, research by Demand Metric and Seismic published in March this year showed that few are doing it.
59% of marketers said the reason why they don't personalise content is because they lack the technology that will allow them to do this at scale.
Reasons US Marketers don't personalise content, March 2016. Source: Content Personalization Benchmark Study Report - March 2016
Examples of companies that personalise
Starbucks writes customers' name on their drink and personalise their mobile app and rewards programme.