What marketers need to know about real-time personalisation

(c)iStock.com/Linda Bullens

50 years ago, a unique, real-time personalised customer experience was the norm. You loyally entered your local store, were served by a brand who knew your preferences, offered help, and could reserve, deliver or sell goods in a way that suited you. Today, consumer expectations haven’t changed, but their purchasing channels have.

Real-time personalisation goes further than the personalised email marketing you often find from brands online. It means being able to serve relevant, compelling information during a live interaction with a consumer that is only milliseconds long. Real-time personalisation has the power to encourage consumers to complete the purchasing process and develops a loyalty that pays dividends long term.

To ensure a real-time personalisation strategy becomes a successful reality, marketers must utilise all the data at their disposal, from every different source available, and ensure that they have the infrastructure to turn this data into the customer experiences that drives real business gains. Below, we look at five top things all marketers should know – and be putting to use – about real-time personalisation.

Do you actually know what real-time personalisation is?

There are many perceptions of what real-time personalisation is and not many people are fully aware of everything it encompasses. It goes a step beyond basic personalisation and not only makes future decisions about what a customer wants to see but also what they want and need there and then. So many brands claim to give a 360 degree view of the customer but can’t actually come up with the goods – real-time personalisation is about being prepared to interact with a consumer in a split second as if they’re stood in front of you asking a question face-to-face.

Why personalise in real-time?

As more brands want to exceed their customers’ expectations, real-time personalisation is an avenue to the next level of connection with consumers. The results of properly executed real-time personalisation speak for themselves, with businesses seeing an increase in sales and revenue, online conversion rates rising and a boost in customer loyalty and retention – the golden nugget of delivering a great customer experience.

The rise of deal-hunting consumers in the digital age has increased exponentially as brands inundate consumers with attractive new-custom offers. The problem with this is these consumers are likely to only stay with a brand as long as you have the best offer on the market. Many have their heads turned by gimmicks and flash-in-the-pan offers designed to encourage sign ups. That’s why it is imperative brands offer the best experience while they have consumers’ attention. Real-time personalisation enables a two-way thought process that sees the consumer driven by engaging content the brand presents them with.

Maintaining a consistent conversation

Continually interacting with consumers enables brands to create a conversation across multiple platforms and channels. Whether they’re browsing on a mobile during a commute, on a desktop whilst at work or on a tablet at home – the important thing is they’re engaging.

Imaging speaking with the same person daily and on each occasion them acting like they’ve never met you before – you’d quickly become frustrated. Consumers feel this way about brands on multiple platforms – add the fact that they’re giving you their money - the least you can do is remember who they are.

Improving each single interaction will result in a better overall customer experience and ultimately achieve a better overall marketing result.

Personalise at every step of the journey

It’s one thing to deliver a personalised experience to a returning customer, however anticipating what a new customer wants is a different ball game entirely and doing that in real-time is even trickier.

The most effective solution is leveraging information (how are they behaving from the moment they arrive at the site) and identity (have they visited before, demographic, interaction history).

If both these are considered then marketers can’t fail to deliver a great real-time experience that will delight consumers and have them coming back for more – time and time again.

Give consumers what they actually want

Personalisation in the digital and physical world is about knowing your customers and delivering them an experience based on their individual preferences. This includes knowing what channels are most suitable to them and offering them the most engaging content at the right time.

When they’re on a site they are continuously interacting with your interface so it’s the brands duty to make sure they are listening and responding accordingly. Be ready – any time on any platform to react with the correct messaging. 

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