“Brands Are Overthinking Personalisation”: ntegrity Director Richenda Vermeulen

“Brands Are Overthinking Personalisation”: ntegrity Director Richenda Vermeulen
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Too many brands are trying to over complicate and overthink their personalised marketing plans, according to Richenda Vermeulen, director of digital marketing agency ntegrity.

One-to-one engagement between brands and customers is where the industry is headed, believes Vermeulen. However, she said many brands get too caught up in thinking about how to personalise marketing messages to such a large extent it tends to become overwhelming.

Vermeulen said it would be better for a brand to start off with simple personlised marketing efforts for all their customers, rather than creating a very complicated and intricate plan targeting seven different personas of customers all at once.

“We think we have to create these uber customised experiences within multiple target groups… I think that’s where brands get lost in the complexity,” she said. “But starting simple and growing from there has been key from we’ve seen.”

When pushing out personalised marketing messages, it can be tricky for brands to figure out which particular customers to target first.

Vermeulen said there is a school of thought in the industry to target online users with a high clout score – the score that determines how influential a person is on social media.

However, that’s a very old-school marketing method in Vermeulen’s eyes. For her, it can be just as beneficial for brands to target users with a small, but niche following.

Referencing a beer twitter group on Twitter, the users tweet out beer recommendations to those in Melbourne. They may only have a few thousand followers, and yet their audience is highly targeted, and highly engaged.

“At the end of the day though, it’s about accepting all of your customers have social networks now,” said Vermeulen. “So giving all of your customers a great experience is important, because they are all part of that word-of-mouth effect.”

Vermeulen also highlighted how many organisations don’t actually have the resources in place to properly personalise marketing to a customer.

“They might be from a complaint perspective, but an actual customised marketing automation one-to-one, there are very few brands that are set-up right,” said Vermeulen.

“Also, there aren’t necessarily agencies set-up right to support that because their approach is so ‘campaign by campaign’ based. So their marketing might be very targeted, but if you look at the actual treatment of one-to-one people in creating customised experience based on a long-term relationship, it’s just not within the marketing structure.”

That’s not to say it’s because of technology not being available, rather it’s that there needs to be a mindset shift in the industry from the big en masse campaigns to simplifying personalised marketing.

“The technology is smart enough, it’s there,” said Vemeulen. “It’s about changing our marketing mindset to say ‘this isn’t just about a campaign and a mass message going out, this is about how we need to change as a department and how we relate to our customer’.”

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