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Back to basics: How to make your marketing personal in seven steps

Here’s a scary thought – research shows many companies have personalisation at the top of their agenda and have already started on research, strategies and testing. It’s hardly surprising when personalisation has been proven to uplift sales and create barriers to competition.

It’s also one that takes some thought and time to implement well, so if you haven’t made a start, here’s some handy tips to help you to catch up.

Channel 'the friendly shopkeeper'

Always bear in mind how you would behave in a face-to-face situation with your customer and it’s a fantastic start to a strategy and plan. Start by breaking your customers into personas and thinking what they might look like, what their needs and goals might be and what information and products you might show that person if they walked into your shop.

Expect them not to buy

Remember, this is about creating a relationship that gives the customer the freedom to walk away, yet remain engaged with your brand to come back when they feel ready to purchase – perhaps with a little timely persuasion from you. Think about how you can capture an email address to stay in touch – perhaps with a discount for signing up to the newsletter or exchange an email for a valuable piece of advice.

Start with the basics

Step away from the database. Your customers are not a demographic segmentation, they are real people with complex lives. Look at the remarkable demographic similarities between Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles and it’s clear data is not your friend. Your customers want to be shown relevant products, advice, reminders and complimentary items and services in a timely fashion.

Allow for change

The digital wall is always obscuring our view of real behaviour. I’m sure you’re all sick of Amazon targeting you with related products to a joke gift you bought a friend one Christmas. It can also be quite upsetting if you get targeted on something that has changed in your life, or you wanted to keep private. Be clear on your policies and give customers the option to update and opt-out.

Technology on your team

Data analysts, designers and marketers are currently all working together to test content against the business goals, but research shows finding the right technology is a block. Your strategy, your budget and your expectations will all help you to find that technology faster.

How Twinings are doing it

Twinings started by building personas of their typical customers, examining the journey to plan a mix of content and loyalty rewards to attract and retain customers. They chose the Kentico system for content management and integrated marketing all under one login. During the busy Christmas season, Twinings are concentrating on analysing customer behaviour, so that they are ready to offer a unique journey based firstly on their persona type, then by real interactions with the website and automated email campaigns.

Refine over time

Expect your personalisation strategy to build and grow. Start simple, continually test, measure and refine. You’ll soon learn what your team can manage, what your customers appreciate and what makes the most impact on the business.

Simon Lassam, managing director and founder, Ridgeway

Tel: 01993 899000

Web: http://www.ridgeway.net/

Twitter: @ridgeway

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