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Avoid the personalisation trap

This is a guest blog written by David Boyle, Director of Audience Strategies. He is passionate about helping people make evidence-based decisions: leading organizational changes and building the capabilities that put customer data/insight into the heart of decision-making.

David Boyle’s article was included in the MOST CONTAGIOUS REPORT 2019: Contagious’ annual review of how the important shifts from 2019 are turning into the biggest opportunities for 2020, plus their round-up of the 25 Most Contagious campaigns of 2019. You can download the complete Most Contagious report HERE.

Personalisation is a wonderful thing. But not when it comes at the cost of strategic understanding. As discovery, trial and consumption race towards digital channels across every industry, companies face unprecedented opportunities to personalise every consumer experience. However, many companies invest in tactical personalisation at the expense of the strategic guidance that an Audience Strategy offers.

An Audience Strategy will answer questions such as: Which customer types can you more deeply engage? What are their needs? Which customer types are you failing to engage? Why? Only once you can answer these questions can you be sure you’ve come up with the right products and communications to fuel personalisation that will drive growth. Without this strategic guidance, you may find that personalisation runs short of fuel or is being fed the wrong type to drive growth. The best part? These Audience Strategy questions can be easy to answer, with the right tools.

Find a middle ground between personalisation and mass audiences. Focusing on individual personalisation is very precise and accurate, but it doesn’t easily offer a way to step back and see the bigger picture. Conversely, treating your overall audience as one big group of people is simple, but means you will have huge wastage in any communications. We need to focus on the middle ground.

David Bole - Find a middle ground between personalisation and mass audiences

Clustering the individuals that make up your audience can reveal hidden patterns of groups of consumers with similar needs. Each cluster can be easily studied to get answers to the Audience Strategy questions above. This way you can build the kind of understanding of your audience that you need in order to fuel growth from personalisation efforts with the right products and communications.

Many companies fall into the per- sonalisation trap of perfecting tactical optimisation at the expense of strategic guidance and they miss out on growth opportunities as a result. But with the right tools, strategic guidance in the form of an Audience Strategy can be easy to achieve. We find that cluster- ing consumers according to needs will quickly get you a long way towards a good Audience Strategy.

Header photo by oakie on Unsplash.

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