The emphasis on relationship building and the very concept of relationship marketing was first described by Leonard Berry (1983) as “attracting, maintaining and enhancing customer relationships”. In the Digital Age with more crowded channels of communication, it has become increasingly important to not just reach new customers and audiences, but also to establish lasting relationships. A satisfied customer who is valued and engaged is much more likely to be loyal, and likewise it is less costly to maintain a current client than it is to seek a new one. The days of ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ are long ago left in the past, and personalisation has now become a real industry focus.
Before today’s advancement in technology ‘personalisation’ merely meant the inclusion of a person’s name throughout a communication. As technology has evolved along with data mining so too has the ability to further segment your customer base to maximise on interactions. Pure360’s research suggests that basic personalisation as in a retail brand addressing a client by their first name, results in a poor return of just 8% of customers being willing to engage. So accustomed are markets to personalisation that there is now an expectation for businesses to understand their needs and provide relevant and tailored information. Failure to do so results in poor click-through rates and ultimately loss in revenue.
So, if executed well, what kind of results can personalization produce?
Personalisation can increase ROI. One way of achieving this is through product recommendations. Amazon is adept at this method of maximizing customer knowledge by displaying previously purchased items, similar products to match known tastes, and items purchased by other buyers of that item.
Personalisaton raises customer engagement. Marketers have found that using personalization in campaigns has wide ranging positive effects. 82% have linked it to an increase in open rates, 75% to higher click-through rates and 40% attribute it to a decrease in unsubscribes.
Overall, personalization enhances the ‘customer journey’. Gone is the era where the call to action was to ‘Visit our store’, now clients can purchase from a range of platforms within apps and social media without ever visiting the physical or online business itself. The goal is to be personal, seamless, across channels, and on demand especially now in the ultra-competitive world of retail.
The likelihood of success of any personalized campaign depends on the quality of the data. It must be current and accurate with skilled data management tools and list scrubbing processes to ensure accuracy. Likewise, campaigns need to be evaluated to measure success which can all mean increased effort and expense. However, it would be unwise for any business to ignore both the demand and benefits of tailoring its communication to drive revenue. After all, the customer is king and it’s time to get up close and personal.