Consumers are creating their own personal experiences online and expect the brands they interact with to provide high personalisation standards and to participate with them in shaping these experiences. People are not just benchmarking against the market leaders in one industry but all the organisations and brands that serve their needs. The online public rightly expects everything to be available on demand and loyalty can be won or lost in a moment.
For many businesses this is where customer analytics steps in, taking marketing to a new level and enhancing ROI. Organisations are all at different stages of development and preparedness, however, an analytics capability is an increasing priority. It sustains real competitive advantage by transforming customer data into actionable insights and facilitates real-time personalisation. IBM’s Global Survey of Marketers in 2013 found that the top 20% of Leading Marketers surveyed were leveraging the power of real-time personalisation, adjusting real-time offers based on context by a factor of 2.6 compared with all other marketers.
With the availability and choice of so many different points of access – mobile, online, call centre, retail, etc. – customers need to be engaged at every touch point with the same intimacy and personalisation, regardless of the channel. Taking analytics further, this means that systems must be able to learn from behaviour across multiple channels and update messages and offers accordingly if they hope to sustain customers’ engagement.
Current consumer-facing technologies that demonstrate a similar type of system learning are the intelligent personal assistants like Google Now. Their attraction lies in the ability to pre-empt users’ desires and needs. The Apple Watch meanwhile uses more personal data, such as biometric health information, in order to create a more meaningful ecosystem around the wearer.
In the retail space, according to Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland, M&S is trying to improve website personalisation and aspires to be “increasingly connected”. They constantly look at new channels that are “popping up”, like the Apple Watch, to see how they can be used for improved customer engagement.
Clearly, there is no turning back now, real-time personalisation is a continuous journey of assessing, evaluating, determining and learning.
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