Marketers are increasingly focused on personalising customer interactions — everything from emails to product recommendations to in-store and online experiences. SmarterHQ reports that 51% of digital marketers
say that personalisation is their number one priority, and 92% of marketers have reported using personalisation
Why? Because personalisation is impactful: 88% of U.S. marketers
have reported seeing measurable improvements due to personalisation, with more than half reporting a lift greater than 10%.
But marketers aren’t the only ones driving the use of personalisation; consumers are beginning to demand it. Accenture reports that 91% of consumers
are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. And Epsilon research reveals that 80% of consumers
are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalised experiences.
However, there’s often a disconnect between marketers and consumers about what enables the personalised experiences people love. Although consumers enjoy and have come to expect some level of personalisation in the ways brands interact with them, many don’t understand that they must provide personal data in order to receive personalised experiences.
Why does this gap in understanding exist, and what can we do to close it?
Do consumers understand sharing data = personalised experiences?
Evergage reports that 55% of marketers
don’t feel they have sufficient customer data to implement effective personalisation. This is due, in part, to consumers’ unwillingness to share the data.
Depending on geographical region, age range and other demographic factors, people have different levels of understanding about data privacy and varying levels of tolerance around sharing their personal data. That’s what was discovered when Microsoft Advertising conducted a recent survey with iProspect of consumers across 16 countries in North America, South America, the European Union, Asia and Africa. Our findings are summarised in the whitepaper, In Brands We Trust: The Intersection of Privacy and Trust in the Age of the Empowered Consumer
When are consumers more willing to share their data?
Consumers are more willing to share data in exchange for free services or products, personalised rewards and pricing, and less likely to share it in exchange for others such as automated product reordering or personalised notifications. The operative word here seems to be — you guessed it — “free.”
Nearly two-thirds (57%) of survey respondents said they are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalised rewards or discounts on frequently bought items and services. Receiving personalised pricing, free or upgraded shipping options, free samples of products and services, and free access to services were also cited by more than half of respondents as good reasons to share data.
Convenience, however, doesn’t seem to be a key driver of consumers' willingness to share their data. Survey respondents reported being much less willing to share data for things like automated reordering of frequent purchases, access to purchase history, access to service data, or personalised alerts and notifications.
Across various demographics, there were striking differences, as well. For instance, respondents in Latin American are more willing to share data in general. By contrast consumers in North America tend to be less willing overall. Millennials see more value in personalisation and expect to get more from agreeing to share their personal data than consumers in other age groups.
The varying degrees of understanding about data privacy and the use of data for personalisation creates a conundrum for forward-thinking businesses. When consumers choose to opt out of sharing data, marketers are limited in their ability to personalise experiences, products, and services. But if consumers don’t understand that sharing their data is required to create the personalised experiences they love, businesses won’t be able to deliver them and consumers may think the brands don’t understand their expectations.
What’s the solution?
Start with clear communication about the value exchange
Clear communication about data privacy and the reasons they’re being asked to share their data is critical to bridge this gap and raise awareness among consumers about the value exchange.
Here are some critical steps to take:
- First, make sure your customers understand why data is needed and what they get in return. If your customers can’t see the benefit — you need to rethink what you’re doing.
- Clearly articulate and demonstrate to your customers how you’re using data to create a more personalised and better customer experience.
- Make sure that you really are using the data you collect to meet customer expectations.
- Ask for feedback — and keep asking for it. Customer feedback is critical for keeping you on track and continuing to meet changing customer expectations.
Make personalisation purposeful
Personalisation can be a powerful marketing tool and enhance the customer experience. But using your customers’ personal data to personalise every aspect of the customer experience simply because it’s possible is both inefficient and ineffective. Too much personalisation can seem intrusive and even creepy, leaving customers feeling as if their privacy was violated.
For personalisation to be impactful, it must have purpose and add value to your customers — and that requires understanding your own brand, its values and its purpose. Knowing what your customers expect from the interactions with your brand and what they find valuable will help you make data-driven decisions about how you engage. It will help you fine-tune not only your interaction across touchpoints along the customer journey, but your products and services, as well.
When you can tailor personalisation to meet consumer expectations at every touchpoint, you deepen your connection with your customers, strengthen their loyalty and trust, and ultimately, achieve better business outcomes.
Learn more about data privacy trends and purposeful personalisation by reading our whitepaper