Nine out of ten brands failing to personalise effectively

By Greenlight | 08 Sep 2015

UK marketers lack confidence in their personalisation capabilities with nine out of ten (88%) marketers believing that their brand is behind competitors in their use of personalisation, according to Greenlight's Brand Personalisation Index. With European governments working on an EU-wide data privacy law that is expected to bring in tougher legislation on how technology companies can use personal data by the end of the year, there are wide concerns industry crackdowns will curb marketing innovation further.

Personal data hacks send marketers into fight or flight

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of C-suite executives report that their companies experience significant cyber-attacks daily or weekly according to a recent Accenture study. For marketers, this is a worrying stumbling block on the road to innovation.

They face two responses: fight or flight. Marketers must either:

a)     Stand up and provide your customers with reassurance - they need guarantees around how their data will be used and comfort in the benefits they'll receive in exchange

b)    Or embark on a rash U-turn and curb more progressive data strategies.

Andreas Pouros, COO and co-founder at Greenlight, the digital marketing company, shares his advice, "A commitment to continue marketing innovation but also a reassurance on data privacy is the most sustainable reaction to these data hacks. If marketers are to work towards the Holy Grail of true personalisation then they cannot give up on getting a closer customer view. Programmatic advertising will have to evolve and more platforms will be needed to offer up the level of personalised inventory needed. This requires greater access to consumer data - a big ask in a climate of consumer anxiety - but one that is reasonable if there is a clear value exchange."

Marketers must sustain innovation

Marketers are most advanced in their use of personalisation on websites and email with over half (54%) personalising on both these channels. Mobile continues to lag behind with just a quarter (24%) of marketers personalising on mobile devices or in-app but there is some evidence for a new customer data-collection tactics which could help marketers achieve the nirvana of personalisation.

It's out with age, gender and search history and in with location data as where you are becomes the most important data capture for marketers when personalising campaigns. More than a third of marketers (36%) are using location insights to tailor campaigns, with individual purchase history or the purchase history of similar people being the next most important factors when planning.

Looking forward, Pouros advises marketers that, "To serve the customer, we must strike the balance right between useful and creepy. In most cases, consumers are happy to continue being targeted with relevant content by brands that they have a relationship with, however it is a different kettle of fish when unknown brands start entering your online life or adverts feel intrusive (and consumers will be especially sensitive to this in reaction to recent data hacks). As long as you live by that mantra to focus on customer needs over commercial ambitions, you won't cross this line yourself."