Delivering personalisation, despite the roadblocks

Customers expect perfectly personalised digital experiences. Businesses are keen to deliver. So what’s the problem? Well, while personalisation may seem automatic to the customer, it’s a different story behind the scenes. Without the right tools or expertise, businesses run into roadblock after roadblock as they strive to get personalisation right.

The imminent loss of third-party cookies, evolving privacy laws, disconnected software, difficulty accessing data, pressure to use high-tech tools without necessarily having relevant expertise on hand – these are all-too-common barriers, slowing uptake for many businesses, preventing genuine personalisation and making others give up altogether.

If any of that rings a bell for you, it’s time to look at some new options.

Cookies are crumbling

Third-party cookies collect customer data across multiple websites and browsing sessions, creating a big pool of visitor data that advertisers can rent. They have been a primary source of data for personalised ad targeting for years, but that’s about to change.

Apple has already retired their use of third-party cookies, and Google has announced that it will follow in 2023. For businesses, this change is forcing a new approach to targeting and personalisation. For you, this might mean rethinking your paid advertising mix, and looking for new data sources within your business.

Your website, your sales records, your email database – you may have access to more data than you think.

Next step: talk to your ad or marketing agency about data sources, paid options and what needs to change.

Expectations vs limitations 

A personalised experience goes like this: when customers browse your website, interact with your online ads or use your app, they get targeted content that matches up with their activity. For example, a person who has looked for shoes on your site might receive ads or promos for that category. Someone who has bought with you already might get a series of targeted emails a set period of time after the initial purchase.

These days, customers expect this level of personalisation – in fact, if they get messaging that conflicts with their needs or reflects a lack of customisation, it may be irritating. Think: a series of ads about a product they’ve already purchased, or pushy emails that don’t reflect their level of engagement with your brand.

The challenge for many businesses is in accessing the data – and the tools – needed to deliver that level of personalisation. Data may be inaccessible, not up to date or available in real-time, siloed across different business areas or difficult to transfer between systems.

Next step: talk to your software provider or IT team about data sources and accessibility.

Privacy problems

As we shift more and more of our lives online and targeting becomes more sophisticated, consumers are increasingly aware of their digital privacy. And laws are following suit. All over the world, new rules and regulations around data privacy are popping up – these cover things like how to store sensitive data, how long it can be stored, and informed consent when you’re collecting browsing data.

Too often, Kiwi business owners take a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. While that has its place, it’s not an option when you’re talking about privacy. If you don’t cover your privacy bases and meet regulations in your area, you could face hefty fines and damage to your reputation. Customers understand that businesses need to collect some data, but they’re also acutely aware of privacy breaches and leaks – they need to trust that you’re looking after their information responsibly.

Next step: ask your web provider or IT team about privacy considerations for your website and database – and get advice from a lawyer if you’re not sure of the implications.

Are high-tech AI tools going to help?

You may have heard about advanced analytics tools and machine learning or your agency may have recommended them. In the world of digital marketing, there’s a huge amount of pressure to keep up with the latest tech and use the most advanced tools if you want to compete – but it’s not always quite that simple.

Advanced analytics and machine learning can make accurate predictions about customers’ likelihood to act (or not act), helping you get targeting down to a fine art. But they need to be backed by a constant flow of clean, up-to-the-second data and corresponding software to automate your response. You also need a team of experts to keep the whole thing running smoothly – it’s not exactly a set-and-forget option but good marketing never is.

Breaking down the barriers with a CDP

The road to personalisation is scattered with obstacles – we almost wouldn’t blame you for giving up. But there are solutions. A Customer Data Platform – or CDP – can help you get over many of the issues that come with personalisation, pulling data together from multiple sources, centralising consent management, standardising the customer experience, and enabling real-time activation based on your data collection. Better yet, those cutting-edge machine learning models can be integrated, helping you deliver a super-precise level of personalisation.

With personalisation now a must-have rather than a bonus add-on, a CDP could be a game-changer for your organisation.

Ready to talk personalisation with New Zealand’s leading CDP consultants? Click here to book a chat.