Marketing Trends for 2018: Personalisation marketing
As we consider the marketing trends 2018 will see come into their own, we consider the the role personalised campaigns will play in the New Year
As 2017 draws to a close, we can look back on a year in which social media “stories” and live-streaming became ubiquitous, in which “authenticity” became a priority and in which experiences became a new economic currency. These are just some of the trends that have defined the past year and that, looking forwards, will continue to play a role in shaping the marketing trends 2018 will see come into their own.
Among the latter, is personalisation.
What is personalised marketing?
Personalised marketing is a strategy that analyses data and combines it with digital technology to deliver individualised messages and product offerings to consumers. The adverts that appear on the sidebar of your Facebook profile, before you watch a YouTube video, and the products your favourite websites “recommend” for you are all examples.
As the above examples demonstrate, personalised marketing campaigns have been around for a few years now although, crucially, not without their flaws.
The limitations of personalisation thus far can be seen as early as 2013, when an episode of Black Mirror, “Be Right Back”, told the story of Martha, a grieving widow who subscribes to an online service that allows people to stay in touch with the deceased. The service does so by using the recently departed’s online and social media communications to construct a new virtual personality and, while it works to a degree, the “personalisation” misses the mark and the bespoke android lacks certain traits, habits and emotions that hadn’t been registered in social media or online communications.
Obviously, it’s an extreme (not to mention fictional) example, but there are parallels with reality. Think about how many times Amazon/ Netflix/ your online-content-viewer of choice has recommended something to you “based on your recent reading/ viewing/ posts” and has spectacularly misunderstood your shopping/ viewing/ posting habits, and it’s clear that personalised marketing attempts don’t always understand their audiences.
Amazon, for instance, can’t tell that the Barbie I purchased a few weeks ago was a one-off Christmas present for my eight-year old god-daughter and, nearly a month later, is still bombarding me with hot pink Barbie collateral, in spite of my usual, non-Barbie, shopping habits. Nor can most brands differ between frequent purchases (such as clothes) and one-off purchases; a brand new black iPhone in the “based on your recent purchases section” just days after a customer has already bought the silver one is unlikely to result in a sale.
However, all this is changing. Now, as one of the marketing trends 2018 will see go from strength to strength, personalisation marketing comes from brands that in a position to capitalise on new technology, including the rise of artificial intelligence. This will enable them not just to discover and recommend content experiences for their audiences at every touchpoint, but to go beyond this and to start using information to create authentic and influential content that potential customers can relate to.
What personalised marketing campaigns can we expect to see?
This year, personalisation has been all about brands targeting niche sections of an audience, as opposed to applying a one-size-fits-all approach. Yet what makes personalisation unique among the marketing trends 2018 expects to see grow and develop, is the extent to which we can expect it to change.
To start with, consumers can expect to see more recommendations for things they would not have thought of themselves. More sophisticated recommendation algorithms will result in recommendations that think further outside the box than simply suggesting the things a shopper has already browsed or bought.
Moreover, we can also expect brands to adapt to consumer behaviours. This year, McKinsey & Company revealed that a clothing retailer found that shoppers who visited one of their physical stores or the online store were more likely to open and respond to messages that were delivered either later on that same day or exactly a week later. Next year, we can expect brands to tailor their marketing to these behavioural traits, while also earmarking specific events and circumstances that customers are likely to want to know about for marketing opportunities.
However, most of all, we can expect to see personalisation go beyond the realm of the “niche audience segment” and into the realm of the individual. Online, in store and brand communications will all begin to be tailored to each consumer, a strategy proven to be significantly more effective than general marketing in terms of increasing open, click-through, and conversion rates.
In 2018, two centuries after American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as having said that, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”, the individual has finally begun its reign. Next year, rather than expect marketing to pigeon-hole consumers into market segments, we can predict it to increasingly celebrate and, more importantly, play to the quirks, character and choices of each and every one of us.
To find out how the team at Wavelength Media can help your brand, get in touch.