Personalisation - it's still high on the agenda

Personalisation has been a topic of discussion for many years but judging by the findings of our recent Digital Marketer Report 2018 (coming soon) it’s a topic that will probably be occupying us for some time yet.

Debbie Oates, Head of Customer Success

Personalisation – what marketers want


The survey behind the report, which we ran December 2017 – January 2018, raised some interesting results around personalisation. We asked what marketers would ask for if they could have one ‘magic wish’. 

The most selected option was ‘Be able to tailor your personalisation more accurately and consistently’ (selected by 26% of respondents). In total, 51% of respondents said enhancing their knowledge of customers’ needs, attitudes and motivations was a top three priority – the most selected option. This shows marketers appreciate the need to understand their customers, however, it’s the ability to use this insight that truly drives value – and that’s where personalisation comes in.

The state of personalisation

Although most marketers are doing some personalisation – 84% are personalising email campaigns - this could be as simple as changing a first name. When we look at other channels the numbers start to drop; 30% personalise retargeting, 28% personalise on site experience and 20% personalise display advertising. Although personalisation won’t be a major priority for every brand/product across every channel, the numbers do lead us to question the sophistication of personalisation being attempted.

What we found was that most businesses were using basic demographic data (55%), geo-location data (35%) and behavioural data (28%) to power personalisation, which means decisions are being made using only data gathered first hand based on interactions with that individual.
Although this data is useful, to truly understand an individual and tailor messaging to suit them, you need to know more than just what you have based on how they have interacted with you. You need the contextual information that helps build that full picture. Geo-location data goes someway to doing this but what about their likely habits, behaviours and preferences?

The big challenges – what’s getting in the way?

As you’d expect much of the answer to this revolves around data and data usage, with 57% of marketers selecting ‘inaccurate data’ as the biggest challenge to personalisation, and 40% saying ‘not having enough data’. Similarly, 42% selected ‘unable to easily access information’ meaning the ability to plug data and information into the system and process to personalise – something that requires the right tech, approach and expertise.


Most surprisingly, one of the lowest selected barriers was lack of budget (35%). This indicates that there is a definite will at every level of the business to get this right. Rather, what’s lacking is the right volume of accurate data and the expertise and technological ability to use it. It is the brands and marketers who figure out how to overcome these hurdles that will be able to use personalisation as a differentiator.

(The findings in this post are taken from the 2018 Digital Marketer Report which will be released in the coming months)

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