Sitecore wonders whether marketers really understand personalisation when email remains the most commonly personalised customer interaction
Personalisation is a common practice among Australian and New Zealand marketers, but it’s a practice that remains simplistic and which is largely limited to email, according to The Role and Use of Personalisation, a new research study commissioned by Sitecore, the global leader in customer experience management software.
The study found 61 per cent of marketers work for organisations which currently personalise at least some of their customer experiences and 20 per cent believe personalisation is a high priority within their marketing strategy. The strong interest in personalisation is borne from success, with two-thirds of marketers confirming that it has been responsible for improving campaign results.
Email is the most common form of personalised customer experience interaction, used by seven in ten organisations.
Of those using personalisation, eight in ten state that the practice delivers significantly improved results compared to non-personalised email campaigns. Only four in ten marketers personalise their main, mobile or micro website interactions, and less than two in ten personalise activity over the staff intranet or secure portal.
Just over two-thirds of marketers personalise interactions using location and contact name, and half of all marketers personalise interactions according to the type of device being used, such as desktop, laptop or mobile device.
While only four in ten marketers currently customer purchase history for personalisation, the survey results highlight that the use of customer purchase history is a key differentiator leading to significantly improved campaign results. Other data sets commonly available but used by less than one-third of marketers include: gender, age, detailed profiling information, browsing history and time of day.
While the majority of marketers say they are confident about their knowledge of personalisation, the limited use of available data suggests not all marketers understand the full potential of personalisation and some are uncertain how to best apply personalisation to improve the customer experience.
The overall tone from the vast majority of marketers (90 per cent) is one of excitement and enthusiasm for the opportunities available through personalisation, but this is tempered by almost one-third who also acknowledge concern about breaching data privacy. Interestingly, responsibility appears to play a role in how seriously marketers worry about the ethics of data breaches, with junior marketers almost 40 per cent less likely to be concerned by data privacy issues compared to their senior colleagues.
Almost half of marketers (45 per cent) blame their organisation’s technology, the use of multiple platforms or disparate data sets for holding back personalisation of interaction. Other significant barriers include budget limitations, lack of time, database inaccuracy and a lack of understanding about personalisation.
One unrecognised limitation may be the marketers’ own attitudes to personalisation. While the practice is enthusiastically encouraged as a marketing tool, more than half of all marketers (54 per cent) admit to feeling cautious about how their personal data is used when they are the consumers.
Another factor that appears to be impeding the take-up of personalisation is the continuing belief that personalisation is most suited to business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions. B2C organisations are almost three times more likely to actively pursue personalisation compared to their business-to-business counterparts.
Over the next 12 to 18 months, content marketing is expected to become the highest priority for more than one quarter of marketers. With personalisation efforts still lagging however, this raises the question of how organisations intend to tailor and accurately target distribution of their new content. Without the ability to get material into the right, most receptive hands, any investment in content risks being diluted.
Robert Holliday, Managing Director, Sitecore, said, “Organisations are telling us that campaigns confirm personalisation improves the customer experience. Yet many marketers still equivocate because they don’t recognise there are benefits for consumers as well as for business. We’re all inundated with information every day but the experiences that cut through are the ones that are relevant. The more you can personalise your message, the better it is received. To be truly effective, the customer experience should be built on all the pieces of knowledge you have about each particular contact.”
About the survey
The Role and Use of Personalisation is based on the results of an online survey of 148 marketers from Australia and New Zealand. It was commissioned by Sitecore Australia and conducted by First Point Research & Consulting in May 2014. The study is the second investigation into the digital marketing sector to be conducted by Sitecore and First Point. The first report, Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing, was completed in October 2013.