In a marketplace flooded with information, brands are increasingly turning to personalization to gain consumer attention. With ad-targeting now commonplace, and companies like Amazon and Netflix offering personalized content suggestions, consumers are coming to expect this level of relevance – and all evidence indicates it is a strategy that pays off.
Data from Forrester Research suggests that personalization improves long-term engagement, with 84% of marketers agreeing that it directly impacts customer retention. Research by Hanley-Wood Business Media also showed that 78% of consumers feel that brands creating unique and personalized content are more interested in building a relationship with them. These figures highlight the need for strategies that incorporate personalization, even for FMCGs.
"It is not a fad. We know personalization is the norm in the digital sphere, but bricks and mortar businesses are catching up. It’s the time for legacy brands to fight back," comments Richard Robinson, Managing Director at marketing consultancy Oystercatchers
Arguably leading the personalization charge is Coca-Cola: the soft drink giant made personalization the linchpin of its memorable "Share a Coke" campaign. In April 2013, the company began printing 150 of the UK’s most popular names on drinks labels, and invited consumers to share their photos with the #ShareACoke hashtag.
Not only did the campaign increase engagement (the UK Facebook following increased by 3.5% following the campaign, and 6.8% worldwide), it also reversed declining sales. According to data from IRI Worldwide, Coca-Cola’s value sales increased by 4.93% year-on-year to £765 million in the 52 weeks to 17 August.
Brands that have recently jumped on the bandwagon include Nutella, Marmite and Heinz. All are offering customers the opportunity to order jars sporting a name of their choosing. Nutella has notably spent £1.7 million on its ‘Your Nutella, Your Way’ campaign, promoting the initiative across TV, VoD, OOH, digital, social and in-store.
According to Rakuten Marketing, customers typically make 9.5 visits to a brand website before buying: spending the intervening time comparing prices, checking the competition, reading reviews and consulting friends. As the path to purchase becomes longer, it's important to maintain consumer attention at every touch point. By using insights and data to tailor and personalize content along the way, brands will increase their ability to maintain customer interest between purchases, interactions and visits.
"Nearly all areas of a website can be improved by personalizing content to consumer preferences, removing irrelevant content and promoting content that fits the consumer’s needs," says Jenny Parker, co-founder and Marketing Director at Country Attire. Meanwhile, Richard Robinson of Oystercatchers feels that the most successful companies will be those that are quick to embrace the right technology: "My prediction is that all brands will adopt personalization. But the question remains how fast can they adopt technology and adapt before they become irrelevant."
With offices in more than 20 countries worldwide, German publishing house Motor Presse Stuttgart uses censhare as a single software solution to centrally manage its workflows and serve a range of different media channels (from print magazines to digital apps) from a central content pool – allowing for scalable production as well as a personalized, 'glocal' approach to content. To find out more, explore our Motor Presse case study .