Personalisation in the digital era

Personalisation in the digital era

It’s time enterprises overhaul themselves to align with customers in a digitally transformed world.

Personalisation is essentially a concept dating back to the brick and mortar era, where loyalties around products were built through retailers who would have a personal connect with consumers. But in a hyperconnected world where much of the commerce is shifting from the real world to the virtual, personalisation comes with its own challenges. According to various estimates, about 90 per cent of mailers sent by Indian banks, insurance companies and retailers ends up as spam as marketers carpet bomb those who they think are potential customers in the absence of quality data on each customer’s requirements.

Everyone is talking of elevating customer experience to a new level in a digitally transformed world, but they are unlikely to succeed unless they figure out how to personalise shopping experiences in a digital space characterised by clutter and competition. While marketers are trying to make sense of unstructured data, most of them are still experimenting. Even the tools that social media vehicles like Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram offer to profile personas and target the right demographic are inadequate to personalise marketing messages.

One of the biggest challenges faced by enterprises in delivering personalised shopping experience is the scale at which they have to do it. It’s a daunting task in a country like India that already has 500 million Internet users (a lot more than the entire population of the US) and where Internet penetration is growing by more than 20 per cent annually.

There are two issues that organisations urgently need to address in order to have meaningful customer engagements and provide personalised customer experiences. One, traditional approaches to marketing, sales and customer engagement no longer make sense. They will have to overhaul organisational structures to align with customers in a digitally transformed world. Customer-centricity and the ability to deliver personalised customer experience will distinguish the winners from the losers.

Two, there is technology available today that can help marketers gain deeper insights into customer preferences. AI, machine learning, deep learning, cognitive computing and prescriptive analytics are some of the technologies that have the potential to help marketers gather accurate data, get actionable insights and deliver personalised customer experience. These are technologies that every enterprise that aims to stay competitive in the digital era should adopt and apply to provide superior customer experience.

The other area that marketing organisations should seriously re-examine is their approach when reaching out to the customers. Most of them are still using the old school marketing approach that involves identifying demographics and bombarding them with messages however irrelevant they may be to those receiving them. There is a dire need for marketers to first deploy relevant technology to get real time customer data, deploy analytics to get accurate insights on customer needs and preferences and drive appropriate messages to customers at the right time and in the right context.

The other aspect that marketers should consider is that the world is increasingly embracing mobility. Online today is more about mobility as people are increasingly using their mobile phones the way they used computers earlier. This is a huge opportunity as well as a challenge. Marketers will have to think out-of-the box and come out with innovative personalised campaigns.