7 steps towards 360° personalisation

28 April 2020George Lamptey

Being relevant is far more important than being everywhere. Fact!

There’s an important distinction to be made between 360° marketing and 360° personalisation. When we talk about 360° marketing, we’re referring to campaigns that reach customers at all possible touchpoints. We know that customer journeys are far from linear and that customers will expect to find us on their device and channel of choice – web, mobile, TV, social etc. So, you hit all those customer touchpoints; now you can sit back and rejoice. Right?

Wrong! And this is where 360° or hyper-personalisation comes in. You need to be asking yourself these critical questions:

  • Did your customers care?  
  • Were they truly engaged?  
  • Did they think it was for them? 
  • How targeted and personalised was the content?

360° personalisation leverages real-time data and artificial intelligence to ensure that your messages are relevant to each customer. Let’s look at a scenario. Meet Sue, from Clapham who runs a new home delivery café concept, PinPoint. She works with local home-based chefs and delivers healthy salads and light lunchtime bites to professionals, who now find themselves working from home, in South West London.  She’s also a part- part time yoga teacher and runs online classes three times a day. She lives with her partner Tim, who works in IT and their 4-year-old son, Noah.

This morning her virtual assistant device woke her up and, while bringing her up to speed with the morning’s news, told her about a new wellbeing product from a company that she’d purchased from last week. It's a paprika and almond smoothie, a pre-workout shake, and she can order in bulk for home delivery.

Next, she’s getting ready for her first yoga session of the day, logging into her portal, when she spots a pop up ad for a new design of yoga mat, with a 25% price promotion if she orders branded versions to sell on to her clients. She buys into the promotion which will then appear on screen, periodically, for her clients to see as a promotion from her. This is personalisation for Sue on two different levels.

  1. Products personalised and targeted at her to improve her wellbeing, something she really cares about.
  2. Products she can target and personalise for her customers from her own business.  

Now this may seem like a pretty futuristic scenario. But let’s look at how quickly so many businesses have responded to the COVID-19 crisis. At a global, national and, yes, very local level. This is not about the future – this is about winning strategies for today in our ‘new normal’.

At every point she has been delivered a relevant experience that really resonates with her; a truly 360° personalised experience. How does it work?

What really needs to be put in place to achieve 360° or hyper-personalised marketing? Your priorities will depend on where you are on your hyper-personalised journey and the time and resources you have to invest to make this happen. Here are 7 steps that will get you moving in the right direction.

Segment your customer base and understand what it means

Do you know your customers? Have you really done the homework to create a valid segmentation with the data that you have? And do you understand what motivates those segments? All your data is worth nothing without meaningful analysis that creates credible audiences and targets them effectively. Document your key audiences and map attributes against them. Once you see them laid out, you begin to build a true map of your customer segments.

Create exciting content and experiences

The messaging you present to your customers, even if you think it’s personalised, won’t resonate if it’s not engaging and exciting. This is where the combination of customer insight and creativity really matters. You have a short window of opportunity to capture attention, so be bold and make sure its meaningful. And ask yourself if that snippet of content is truly personalised. Test different versions on different segments, until you get it right. It’s an iterative process.

Integrate your data for a single customer view

Many companies focus on the holy grail of the unified profile by trying to capture every bit of data they can lay their hands on from every channel. While this is a valid ambition, with so much data in the picture, it often remains siloed at a channel level. Start small and focus on integrating key data points, rather than trying to bring all your data together.

Un-silo your workforce

Just like your data, you’ll need to unify operations to achieve personalisation at this level. Digital transformation has largely focused on technology and the integration of disparate systems, content and assets. However, 360° personalisation is not possible without 360° operations and governance. Your business units and internal channel stakeholders need to speak, connect and exchange information to get an holistic view of the customer. How do you do this under current restrictions?

  • Build spaces to exchange information – virtual catchups, enablement hubs or an internal portal
  • Have dedicated sessions on the 360° personalised experience and build in KPIs that benefit, not just individual channels, but all channels, so stakeholders have to work together to achieve the same goal
  • Bring customer journeys to life (real ones, in the way that I have done above) so it becomes tangible for your teams – show them what you want a truly personalised customer journey to look like

Experiment with machine learning and AI

You’ll have to make your data work really hard to achieve hyper-personalisation. You’ll be looking at how your customers are behaving in real time and responding quickly to target them in the moment. You can’t do this without baking AI into your ecosystem. This is how you’ll achieve the iterative testing processes that I mentioned above and how you’ll ensure that your content hits the mark at the right time on the right channel. Test out new concepts over a finite timeframe to know what works and what doesn’t. And, as always, start small. Explore automating manual processes for speed. Or identifying cross-channel journeys and feeding that data into the AI so that it can begin to recognise and respond to similar journeys in future.

Understand compliance

Of course, reacting and responding in real time has implications for compliance. You really have to understand what you can and can’t do. Become true experts in compliance and the laws around GDPR, CCPA, or those pertinent to your region. And take a lead on understanding what you can ask customers, how you can ask them, what data you can capture and how long you can keep it. In addition to this become a leader in understanding the journey and motivation of the anonymous customer.     Report, learn, repeat  Success in hyper-personalisation hinges on data and your use of data. So it’s imperative that you report on your activities, so that you and colleagues can learn, not only from customers, but from each other. Getting this right is not easy and where decisions are data-driven, you’ll want to be able to prove that. And when you succeed, you’ll want to be able to share it.

Talk to us about your personalisation strategy and how we could help you to put the technology, people and process in place to achieve it by emailing us now

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Author: George Lamptey
Published: 28 April 2020
AIcustomer experiencepersonalisationdigital transformationcustomer insight

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