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Brands are failing at personalised marketing: Study

About 61 per cent of consumers are less likely to make future purchases following less-than-satisfactory personalised experiences, according to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting for hybris, a SAP company. About 91 per cent of marketers are prioritising personalisation but only 16 per cent have the ability to capture customer intent and deliver real-time, behaviour-based marketing across channels.

Following an in-depth survey in the US, EMEA and APAC regions of 1,200 consumers and 200 advertising and marketing professionals at organisations with 500 or more employees, the study uncovers a distinct gap between consumers’ expectations of personalised marketing and what marketers are actually delivering.

Pointing to this disconnect and the need for brands to contextualise each customer engagement, the study highlights that while 66 per cent of marketers rate their efforts at personalisation as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, just 31 per cent of consumers report companies are consistently delivering personalised, cross-channel experiences.

About 40 per cent of consumers say most promotions don’t deliver anything of interest while 44 per cent of consumers say they receive too many offers and promotions. Around 37 per cent of consumers say they delete most email offers and promotions without reading them and 40 per cent of consumers have unsubscribed or opted-out because they feel overwhelmed.

Because consumers are sharing so much personal data with brands, they expect value in return – in the form of transactional perks and improved customer experience. While most marketers seek to improve personalised customer experiences from this customer data, their strategies are immature and their marketing efforts are falling short in this regard. Many still rely on segmentation methods that target certain demographics, such as a specific age group, which is not nearly enough to engage customers.

According to the study, 70 per cent of consumers surveyed said they are aware that companies use personal information to send them targeted offers. About 74 per cent of consumers are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very comfortable’ with companies using data about them to provide personalised experiences.

While 66 per cent of marketers use demographics to create targeted content offers and 44 per cent say they use demographic categories to create at least some level of personalisation for unidentified prospective customers, just half are using more sophisticated methods, such as leveraging data extracted from loyalty programs (52 per cent) or behavior-based data (48 per cent). The study highlighted that 91 per cent of marketers surveyed are prioritising improving customer experience through personalisation over the next year.

“Consumers today are bombarded with more marketing messages across more channels than ever before, and the vast majority of these communications are irrelevant. For this reason, it’s paramount that organisations are able to break through the noise and engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. To make this a reality, marketers must go beyond traditional personalisation and towards contextualisation by leveraging real-time signals of customer intent at the moment when the customer chooses to interact with the brand,” said Charles Nicholls, SVP Product Strategy, Marketing Solutions at SAP Hybris.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.