To remain competitive in today’s signal-saturated world, retail marketers need to deliver relevant, personalised content throughout the customer journey. According to a new eConsultancy report, in partnership with Cheetah Digital, entitled 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index: Consumer Attitudes and Trends in Personalisation, Privacy, Messaging, Advertising and Brand Loyalty, UK consumers are rewarding brands that make personalisation a priority. More than half of the respondents said they would trade personal and preference data to feel part of a brand’s community.
At the same time, there’s been a near 50% increase in UK consumers who feel frustrated with a brand that does not recognise their unique desires and needs in its personalisation strategies. Furthermore, real-time offers and content can be 10 times more effective than traditional outbound marketing campaigns.
UK-based Chris Muscutt, Head of MarTech at PepsiCo, recently sat down with Tim Glomb, VP of Content and Data at Cheetah Digital, to discuss the ins and outs of what it takes for retailers to drive more personalised experiences in today’s data-driven, digital environment.
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Perfecting the retail personalisation journey
For years, retail brands have been perfecting personalisation strategies that resonate with consumers and make them feel like individuals. For many B2C brands like PepsiCo, classic personalisation has meant plugging simple forms of data like email, names, addresses or recent purchases into outbound channel communications to ensure touchpoints are viewed as timely, relevant and contextual.
Personalisation marketing tools rushed on the scene more than 15 years ago to help marketers more effectively engage with consumers in digital channels like web, social and mobile. These tools help marketers test out different colours, icons, images and offers on websites to optimise the consumer journey.
However, rarely did they offer any meaningful psychographic intelligence about visitors like their interests, hopes or needs. The cookie apocalypse and browser-based targeting solutions further contribute to the challenge of getting to know the customer, with Google announcing its plans to phase out third-party cookies altogether.
“Marketers have to look at all the different signals they’re receiving from consumers, even the more subtle ones, as the third-party cookie crumbles,” Chris says. “They have to prioritise the data that is useful in their marketing strategies and then focus on developing those data-collection opportunities. With that, marketers can start to build impactful strategies toward improving the customer journey.”
Making sense of data as a retailer
Big retail organisations like PepsiCo have mountains of data, and it can be hard to find and make sense of it all. While the process improves as technology advances, Chris says, it’s still a struggle to secure insights. And he’s not alone. According to a CDP Institute member survey, 63% of marketers can’t assemble unified customer data. Even more, Gartner research reveals that 58% of marketers say integrating customer data is a major obstacle in their multi-channel strategy.
Despite the challenges, getting personalisation right remains a massive opportunity for brands, big and small. According to McKinsey, personalisation as a strategy has the potential to create upwards of $3 trillion in new value.
However, being able to tap into this potential requires a new mindset and next-gen marketing tools and solutions to succeed. These tools go beyond anonymous, digital testing, targeting and optimisation and focus on the ongoing value exchange and customer engagement lifecycle by leveraging first- and zero-party data.
For maximum impact, Chris suggests retail brands need to invest in and bring together three game-changing marketing technologies, including:
- Real-time personalisation: This allows brands to learn more about consumers to deliver a better experience every time. It’s about understanding what the consumer intends to do in that specific moment and includes monitoring web interactions as well as mobile SMS, web, app, social, point of sale, etc. This personalisation strategy ensures real-time data is captured from these touchpoints and brought back to the platform to be appended to the consumer’s profile.
- Journey orchestration: Journeys should be simple in nature; think triggered events or a multi-pronged approach that unfolds over time based on consumer behaviours and preferences. Personalised customer journeys lead to growth in interactions, increasing the likelihood of purchases and conversions.
- Intelligent offers: Offer management is being redefined by modern marketers. Leveraging the power of machine learning and analytics to score content and determine, not only the right offer, but the best sequence of offers, time and optimal context and channel is something that can be greatly automated at scale. This can drive efficiency and efficacy.
The future looks exciting
With all the “buzz”, Tim says the term personalisation is getting thrown around a lot these days, especially with consumers being more aware of privacy than ever before. However, he isn’t convinced that marketers are truly grasping the meaning of personalisation. And Chris agrees.
“There’s definitely room for marketers to improve their efforts,” Chris says. “Making things relevant is one thing, but true personalisation is another journey altogether. There can be pockets of both, but they’re not the same thing. That’s where the gaps come — is it personalisation, contextualised marketing or journey planning? Many brands still have a long road ahead before they achieve true personalisation.”
Listen to the full Cheetah Digital Thinking Caps podcast with Chris Muscutt, Head of MarTech at PepsiCo here.