Personalisation is the latest industry buzzword but marketers need to think carefully about whether this is really their best strategy – and they can only do that by investing in the required analytics and asking hard questions about their data quality and capabilities.

Writing in the current Admap, the focus of which is personalisation, Christian Polman, chief strategy officer at Ebiquity, acknowledges how the marketing landscape has changed dramatically in recent years so that “mass personalisation at scale is now a reality”.

More brands are doing it and many report higher ROI as a result, but many also conceded that “bad data” has prevented them from providing suitable, personalised experiences.

Before investing heavily in personalisation, Polman recommends that marketers invest in analytics – including econometric modelling – “to understand when, in which media, and what scale of budgets they should put behind personalisation”.

“Getting analytics right overall is more important to CMOs than personalisation,” he adds: “if you don’t get the analytics right, then you won’t know how effective personalisation may be.”

Questions to ask include:

  • How good is the data you are using to personalise your brand’s customer experiences?
  • Do you have the capabilities to deliver truly personalised communication?
  • Is your central brand idea sufficiently flexible to stretch in multiple different ways?
  • Do you have the right people in place to handle personalisation, both at your agency and in-house?
  • To what extent do customers in your sector value and act upon personalisation?
  • What’s the alternative to personalisation for your brand?
For some brands it will make sense to pay dearly to reach the right consumer at the right time in the right place, says Polman.

But he also notes that “often, cost-effective reach is much more important than – for example – using AI to target individuals with dynamically-served, tailored creative”.

Ebiquity and Radiocentre’s Re-evaluating Media report detailed how marketers frequently overestimate the ROI and impact of highly-personalisable, digital media channels, while underestimating the ability of traditional channels including TV, press, and radio to deliver mass audiences, at scale, and more effectively than micro-personalisation.

Personalisation can fail to deliver the promised returns because it fails to account for all the input costs, Polman warns. “Meantime, wastage in mass marketing isn’t nearly as significant as many – including those in the personalisation business – claim it to be.”

Sourced from Admap