Make no mistake, businesses are operating in an environment where marketing noise is loud and trying to get genuine cut through with clients and customers is a challenge, even at the best of times.
How do you break through that buzz and get your users to hear you, but more importantly hold their attention? Personalise their experience. Care about them and what they want, then find a way to show them.
In January 2016, a Forbes Insights & PwC Content Survey of senior-level executives found that 94 per cent of respondents said that delivering personalisation is critical or important to reaching customers.
So, what are some obvious and not so obvious uses of personalisation that work?
A simple example of this is the current Red Cross Blood Donation text message campaign by extending the donor experience and engagement after leaving the donation centre. Each donor receives a real-time text telling them exactly when and where their donation is going to work.
The campaign showed just how quickly and effectively your donation is being utilised in a hospital by a patient in need.
What’s the measurable outcome for the user? A true sense of pride in making real impact creates a sense of loyalty to continue donating and providing support to the organisation.
This has also seen donors share their experience (via a simple screen shot of their phone) on social media, spreading the donation message on behalf of Red Cross.
On a larger more visible scale, the iconic #shareacoke campaign started in Australia but ended up going global to 80 countries. They had a very simple and brilliant idea; take their most valuable asset, their logo, and make it accessible to users by printing 150 of Australia’s most popular names on cans and bottles.
In addition to transforming their logo, they re-created their billboard advertising to include text message interactivity, built an app as well as customising kiosks that toured the country personalising cans and bottles with any name, resulting in users lining up for hours.
This campaign reversed an 11 year decline in sales for Coke.
So how can your business have more meaningful conversations and personalised interactions with your customers and users?
Treat every touch point as an opportunity
Every time you interact with your users – via any medium – is a chance to build a relationship, not market or sell a product. Personalisation will count when it’s unique and it’s treated as an opportunity to connect, understand and extend the user experience, not push a gimmicky sell. It’s an opportunity to ask meaningful questions. Challenge your users. Understand them and seek to build that relationship that builds brand loyalty.
Be consistent. Always.
Messaging should be clear, simple and consistent. Branding and experience should transcend all platforms and allow users to interact and experience as they choose. Check the feel is always the same and engages the user in a way that they want to interact. This way you’ve set the scene to tell your story.
Don’t be grand and don’t be ‘creepy’
Be genuine. The smallest details can make more impact than you realise. Be honest and transparent. Users can smell you trying too hard a mile away. Be relevant and differentiate. Remember, there is a level of personalisation expectation in the market already. Using mail merge to put a user’s name at the top of a bulk email doesn’t count anymore. When staying in a hotel there’s an automatic expectation your name will be on the TV screen providing an obvious arrival message and welcome to the property. Go beyond ‘what’s expected’; make it meaningful and show the user you’re invested.
Be unique and creative and take a leap to connect with your users in a way they’ll appreciate and enjoy. The results will speak for themselves.
Emma Thomson is a PwC Senior Event Consultant