Personalisation is a top priority for marketers, with 99%* deeming it to be important to the customer experience, and 80%* believing it has a significant impact on both customer engagement and brand perception. But achieving true personalisation remains an unfulfilled ambition for the majority of brands. With ever-more channels opening up for consumer interaction, and ongoing fluidity in customer behaviour across devices, personalising the customer experience becomes increasingly complex. A recent study by The Drum, in partnership with Tealium, discovered the key to true personalisation lies in the ability to understand the customer and anticipate their needs through a centralised source of unified data – something many marketers are struggling to achieve.
So why is a centralised, rich source of consumer data so crucial for brands looking to create a more personalised relationship with their customers – and what does the future hold for data unification?
Unified data enables dynamic content delivery
A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer sufficient for today’s information overloaded consumers; they demand relevant, bespoke interactions, powered by unified data. Using contextual signals, such as location and weather, combined with data on demographics, interests and previous interactions, brands can build up a real-time profile of the individual, anticipating their immediate needs and – using techniques such as dynamic creative to deliver timely, relevant messaging – meet those needs and offer true value.
Unified data drives personalisation across all digital channels
To date, marketers have prioritised traditional digital channels such as email and websites in their personalisation efforts, largely because they perceive these to have the greatest value and to drive the most impressive results. However, once brands implement a centralised, unified source of consumer data, this can be used to fuel personalisation across all digital channels, from display and social to search and apps, creating a seamless customer experience.
Unified data allows the merger of online and offline engagement
Unified data doesn’t just allow personalisation across digital channels, it enables the merger of online and offline engagement. The lines between physical and digital are continually blurring as customers demand a consistent experience regardless of channel. Over half of marketers (53%) are already providing a personalised offline experience for their customers, while some brands are using technologies such as geo-fencing and beacons to engage visitors in physical locations via their mobile devices, driving local promotions. Offline data sources such as point-of-sale were previously only used for top-of-funnel engagement, but when unified with other types of data they can be used to build a holistic view of the customer and drive omnichannel engagement.
Although adoption of customer data technologies is steadily increasing, with almost two thirds (63%) of marketers making changes to their analytics strategies over the past year, only 40% of marketers are currently unifying customer data across channels. Even though most brands are only in the early stages of data unification, many are on the right path to personalisation and have already made organisational changes or invested in recruiting internal or external talent. This year we will see increased adoption of data solutions and platforms to build a unified omnichannel customer view, enabling brands to understand their audience and anticipate their needs – delivering meaningful and personalised experiences.
Data unification is increasingly challenging but it is also increasingly necessary. A centralised, rich source of customer data allows marketers to view customers through an omnichannel lens, unifying data from all sources – offline as well as online – to build profitable, personalised relationships.
* The Pressures of Personalisation report – March 2016