Digital DNA @ The Planetarium Round Up: Using Data Driven Marketing To Achieve Personalisation

On Thursday 29th September, Digital DNA held a bespoke event at Armagh Planetarium for 200 Northern Irish businesses.

The event brought together influential thought leaders from business and technology to show how digital can help a business grow and thrive.

Engage were delighted to be asked to host one of the workshops. Despite only having been part of the Engage team for a mere seven days, I took on the challenge of the delivering the 50 minute session at the packed out day-event. (I’ve spoken at a few Digital DNA events in the past and, in a twisted way, I quite like being thrown in at the deep end!)

Our workshop was titled “Using Data Driven Marketing To Achieve Personalisation”.  We were very pleased to hear that it was one of the most popular of the day and received some great feedback on social media.

So here’s a little overview of what I talked about on the day.

An Introduction To Personalisation

Although the title of the workshop seemed quite dense and weighty at first glance, I was keen to show that personalisation is accessible and achievable for brands and businesses of all kinds.

So I started with an anecdote, telling everyone about my daily habit of checking my phone and scrolling through all of my social media apps as soon as I wake up. I explained that every day, from the moment we wake to the moment we sleep, we are bombarded with content from all angles.

Because of this, we have almost become blind to content and we struggle to recall the Facebook statuses, images, links, tweets and videos we’ve looked at during the day.

This of course, is an unnerving prospect for brands. We spend hours every day creating content for our blogs, websites and social media channels, for our audience to just scroll past and not engage with.

And that’s why personalisation is necessary, I explained. Instead of focusing on shouting the loudest and trying to get our marketing messages across to as many people as possible, we should instead concentrate on delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.

The Power Of Personalisation

Personalisation is the idea of providing a one-to-one experience for every single customer and aligning your service with their needs at the exact moment they need it.

Most businesses that use digital channels have used some form of personalisation – usually this is by addressing a customer by their first name in email marketing campaigns.

However, as the internet becomes noisier and as channels become more sophisticated, customers are now expecting a more advanced level of personalisation and in fact, in a recent study by Webtrends, 84% of people said they found irrelevant marketing material to be annoying. When they receive marketing emails that do not include their first name, they immediately see it as spam and delete it.

When marketing is personalised, however, it adds value to the customer. It shortens their journey and simplifies the online purchasing process, saving them time and often money too.

Business Benefits Of Personalisation

As well as enriching the customer’s experience, personalised marketing has some serious benefits for businesses, including:

  • Increased engagement levels - from presenting customers with highly relevant material.
  • Higher conversion rates - by putting the right products in front of the right customers and taking steps out of the online purchasing process.
  • Elevated customer retention levels - by delivering relevant messages to customers before they reach the drop off point.
  • Higher ROI – as personalised marketing is easier to measure and more cost effective.
  • Become more customer centric - personalisation allows for better understanding of customer wants, needs and behaviour.
  • Uncover new markets – continuous customer research helps us find new leads.

Data – The Driving Force Behind Personalisation

Of course, if you want to carry out personalisation and make your marketing efforts more targeted, you need to know exactly who you’re targeting – which is where data comes into play.

Data should be the driving force behind any marketing activity but it’s absolutely fundamental to personalisation. It takes out all of the guesswork and provides you with the hard evidence about who your customers are, where they are, what they want and how they want it.

Businesses should capture data when possible, as the more data you have access to, the more personalised your messages can be. However, if you are unable to capture data, there other ways to gain information about your audience and customer base.

The Three Main Types Of Customer Data

There are three main types of customer data that influence personalisation.


1. Identity Data

This type of data includes personal information about your customer, such as their name, contact details and often location.

It is sourced from any data capture you carry out; either physically in store or online and also from any third parties who have provided you with data.

2. Behavioural Data

Behavioural data is any information you have about how customers have interacted with you; how they found your company online, and how they navigate your website. It will also include any transactional history they have had, any customer service queries they’ve made and any general communication.

This will be sourced through the CRM systems you use and any further customer service channels you have in place, such as Twitter or Facebook. Information will also come from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Inspectlet or any other web visitor monitoring tools you use.

3. Descriptive Data

This is information you have about your customers that you generally do not own. It tells you about their relationship status, hobbies, interests, their career and which other websites they use.

It often comes from your social media channels; through Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics. You can also source it from tools like Google Keyword planner, MOZ or Buzzsumo.

The businesses that succeed with personalisation have a good command of their data and can use all three types in conjunction to identify habits or trends.

However, if you don’t have the analytical skills or the resources to hire a specialist, there are some ways in which you can use data in a very simple but create way to achieve personalisation. This is presented in the following case studies.

Case Study: Amazon’s Custom Landing Page

When you visit the Amazon website and are logged into your account, you’ll notice that your homepage is filled with recommended products based on your previous purchases and web pages you have visited.

What Can We Learn From This?

Personalised landing pages are extremely effective when it comes to increasing conversion rates. The purchasing process is simplified and sped up as Amazon uses your behavioural data to serve you products they know you’re interested in.

It means you do not have to browse the entire site and visit a multitude of pages which you can easily exit from.

By including stock numbers and prices, they create a sense of urgency that compels you to buy as soon as possible.

If you have an ecommerce store or a website with many product pages, creating a customised homepage or ‘recommended for you’ section could boost your sales.

Case Study: Point Defiance Zoo And Aquarium Location Targeting

Point Defiance is a zoo based in Washington that wanted to increase their memberships. To do this, they examined their customer data and found that there was a specific area of Washington which was home to a very large number of the zoo’s most frequent guests.

The zoo decided to target people within this area who were not yet members of the zoo, with Facebook and Google ads. These led to a landing page where users could get an exclusive discount on their membership.

As a result of this, Point Defiance increase their memberships by 13% in the first quarter alone.

What Can We Learn From This?

This is a great example of using identity data to find more leads. If you take a good look at your customer data you may notice common themes or similarities between customers that you can take advantage of.

If you discern that a large portion of your customer come from Fermanagh, then target other people in Fermanagh of a similar demographic.

Case Study: The Travel Departments Personalised Emails

Travel Department Emails

Travel Department is one of our clients at Engage and we used Episerver and Copernica marketing platforms to extract behavioural data to segment their customers and send them personalised emails that go far beyond just including their name.

Once a customer has booked a holiday, they receive an automated booking confirmation email. Two days prior to their holiday they receive a bespoke email which gives details of the weather during their trip. And finally, after returning they will receive a ‘welcome home’ email which gives recommendations for their next booking.

What Can We Learn From This?

These personalised emails add value to the customer’s experience, especially with regards to the second email which provides useful weather information. It’s a small gesture that makes the customer feel like an individual who is appreciated.

In addition, by touching base on three occasions, it reinforces the brand which encourages loyalty and repeat bookings.

Case Study: Remarketing

Boohoo Screengrab

Those of us who are regular online shoppers will be familiar with remarketing and are masters of this.

If a customer adds an item to their basket without completing a purchase, they will firstly receive remarketing ads on Facebook and across the Google Display Network, promoting the products they browsed.

If they do not return to make a purchase after 24 hours, the customer will then receive an email with a discount to use on their basked within three days.

What Can We Learn From This?

According to Shopify, over 67% of shopping carts are abandoned before purchase. If you run an ecommerce business or online store, this means your sales may only be a third of what they potentially could be.

Remarketing could therefore be a very cost-effective way of recovering those sales.

Business should therefore monitor customer journeys to evaluate if a large percentage are abandoning their carts. If so, you should consider setting up Facebook and Google ads that target users who visit the shopping cart page but do not make it to the ‘thank you for purchasing’ page.

If you carry out email marketing, consider also creating an automated marketing campaign that is triggered whenever a user abandons their cart. Like, you could also offer a limited-time-only discount that urges users to buy now.

9 Top Tips For Personalised Marketing

  • Be personal - When you’re reaching out to people in a one-to-one way, you want your customers to feel like you are a person, rather than a business. So use your name in all correspondence to ensure that your communication sounds conversational.
  • Use accurate data – It’s imperative that the data use is accurate and up-to-date; ideally in real-time and cleansed regularly to make sure you are always targeting the right people with the right messages.
  • Link it together – Businesses receive data from multiple sources, so we must ensure that it is cohesive and linked together so we can get a more holistic view of our customers. It also eliminates gaps and prevents you, for example, from sending an abandoned cart email to a customer who did make a purchase through a channel that isn’t linked to your email system.
  • Segment and create buyer personas - The key to personalisation is realising that no company has one set type of customer. All your customers have different needs and interests. They probably come from different places and are at different points on the purchase path. So take a look at your data and segment it. Create buyer personas for different groups of customers and create different marketing strategies for each one.
  • Set goals - Once you’ve segmented your database, set goals and KPIs for each of your audiences. Really think about what you want to achieve - what action do you want the group to take? Having a purpose for every activity allows you to measure frequently and accurately.
  • Invest in technology - If you are dealing with a lot of customer data,  it really does pay to invest in personalisation software and technology which is more accurate and removes a lot of the time and effort. At Engage, we are a proud Episerver partner and we use this platform to deliver an advanced level of personalisation for our clients and their customers. 
  •  Be Wary Of Sensitive Information – Do not overstep the mark and advertise to customers in a way that is intrusive or uses personal details that customers may deem too personal.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment – Personalisation often requires trial and experimenting to learn more about customers. You might want to start by targeting men and women with different ads and evaluate the impact on open and click through rates.  The more you try, the more you learn.
  • Test, test and test again - If you are running ten different Facebook ads for ten different groups of people, that’s a lot of information to organise and there’s a lot of potential for getting things wrong. So make sure you test all of your campaigns and make sure every ad is going to the right audience and the right landing page.

If you want to learn more about how personalisation can boost your business’ performance,get in touch with us.

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