No longer an optional extra: Why personalisation and context rules the roost


The last 12 months have been incredibly exciting for digital marketers. The majority of marketers are now fully aware of the importance of customer journeys, the possibilities of data insights and the ever growing need for contexualisation and personalisation.

Marketers now recognise the imperative of omnichannel, contextualised communications with their prospects and customers. The more personalised the experience, the happier the customer. The happy customer isn’t just a customer who wishes to purchase more, it’s a customer that is retained, upsold and – perhaps most importantly – the customer who becomes an advocate for your brand. 

We all know it’s all about mobile and, whether it’s personalised content on a webpage, a mobile push message, a proximity alert or an optimised email, it is now more and more likely to be received and viewed on a smartphone. Brands need to react to that and SmartFocus can help. Mobile has the power of 24/7 access to the ‘remote control’ of your customer’s life and the ability to enable location-based personalised marketing messages better than any other medium. 

Consumers are connecting with brands via multiple channels, which means retailers must do more to drive customer loyalty. With sophisticated analytics at the heart of what we do, marketing teams can harness actionable insights from multiple data customer channels to create engaging and relevant conversations no matter what channel they are using. Advanced email and truly personalised marketing are key to successful campaigns and incremental revenue. 

Every customer is on their own unique journey. Motivations to try, buy or stay loyal change depending on the individual making the choice. A brand marketer can ‘own’ that moment by using technology to harvest and interpret data and create contextualised campaigns that are triggered by customer behaviour; not by their best guess. 

Marketers are looking for a holistic view of their customers that will enable them to deliver even more personalised marketing interactions that increase brand engagement and sales. They are under pressure to process and interpret big data to automatically personalise and contextualise marketing communication that will help their brands to engage and build relationships with their customers, using a host of factors including location, weather, customer age and gender, favourite brands and products, web browsing history, past buying behaviour and abandoned carts.  

Real-time marketing interaction (RTMI) has become mission critical to thecustomer journey. In their new report The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015, Forrester Research, Inc. defined RTMI as ‘enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints’.

To see a key industry analyst affirm, in our view, the market’s shift from omnichannel marketing to marketing driven by real-time interactions with individual customers is hugely encouraging. Customers increasingly expect to be treated as individuals and it is clear that if your marketing isn’t real-time, it’s already out of date. Advanced email and truly personalised marketing are key to successful campaigns and incremental revenue.

That means personalised and contextually relevant real-time interactions are no longer optional extras for marketers.  

Waterstones is one well-known British brand who are already chosen to personalise their marketing campaigns in real-time, as Ed Armitage, Waterstones’ e-commerce director, explains:   “Replicating the bookshop experience when each and every one of our customers visits our website or receives one of our marketing messages is critical to us. As a bookseller, you can't replicate the experience of a personal recommendation received in a shop. It's about recommending the right books to the right people.  

"Our recommendations will also straddle different genres, or suggest a book published 20 years ago – there are connections you can make between different products if you use the bookseller knowledge, so we're working on a platform to lay that on top of the customer data to provide some pretty interesting recommendations, but it's all in testing at the moment." 

The retailer has just embarked on a partnership with SmartFocus as part of that project, integrating its wide suite of products including CRM, email marketing and personalisation technologies onto one platform.

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15 Oct 2015, 2:39 p.m.

Great to read this article by Stephens stating 'the more personalised the experience, the happier the customer', something that we couldn't agree with more at Platform. This statement supports our thinking that listening and acting on feedback from customers is the best way for brands to evolve. There is no doubt with the evolution of omni channel strategies brands have the opportunity to be smarter in their thinking. Creative ideas can now be rolled out across all channels and if brands work hard to personalise their messaging according to both the audience and the channel they're communicating through they can create engaging and innovative ways to interact with an ever increasingly technologically savvy audience. Increasingly we are seeing a lot of brands looking at Customer Experience Centres as a great way to both demonstrate products to customers as well as getting feedback from the people that will ultimately purchase their products. There is huge value in information gained in this way which offers brands the opportunity to mould products based on what their customers actually want and need.