Four reasons why SME brands are still struggling to adopt personalised marketing

To solve the four critical problems and to design personalised marketing campaigns that delight customers, marketers need to be equipped with the right tools that reduce the amount of manual labour they need to do.

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Tracking matters because you need only measure if a particular personalisation initiative worked if the campaign results improved.
By Pranav Ahuja

Over the last year, I have spoken to over 100 marketers working at SMBs and at enterprises. Most of them spoke about doing marketing personalisation. According to the Evergage 2018 trends in personalisation survey, 98 percent of marketers believe that personalisation has some impact on advancing customer relationships.

Across the industry, we have been talking about doing personalised marketing for many years. Yet in reality, most brands of all scales from SMBs, MSMEs and even enterprises still struggle to do marketing personalisation. After spending over 2,000 hours speaking to over 100 marketers, I identified four key reasons why brands are still struggling to adopt personalised marketing.


But before we talk about the four challenges, let me walk you through a marketing campaign use case. Say a retail store wants to reactivate their lost customers. Today, they will create a group of customers who haven't ordered for over one year and just send them a bulk SMS or email. Every lost customer is treated the same.

Yet within that group of customers are there are two types: say Jai & Veeru. Jai was previously a loyal customer with over 40 visits and spent over Rs 50,000. On the other hand, Veeru visited just once and spent Rs 500.

jaiveeru
Most retail brands would spend the same budget on Jai, previously a loyal customer and on Veeru, a discount hunter. Ideally, a marketer should spend a different budget and send out different communications to both customers. Yet, marketing personalisation fails because of these 4 reasons.

1. Lack of one customer view
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A telecom company has customer data from their mobile network, their broadband, and their many different apps. A retail company has data from their e-commerce website, online marketplaces and their stores. Even a small delivery restaurant could be two running brands from the same kitchen.

If you look at any company today, they will have data from multiple sources - their stores, their websites and their apps.

Yet the data from all of those sources is lying at different places. Not having all of the information about customers at one single place makes it really hard to understand them completely and reach out to them with marketing campaigns that are highly relevant to them.

2. Disconnected marketing process
All the data that's collected by companies today is managed by the data analytics or the business intelligence team which focuses on different metrics to present it to the management or to even suggest actionables. Similarly, the data team shares insights with marketers too by suggesting 100's of different customer segments that can be targeted. But it is impossible for a marketer to create a 100 SMS campaigns, a 100 emails or 100 Facebook posts. For context, it currently takes more than an hour to create one Facebook campaign. It is so complicated that in the end brands are left with no choice but to send just 2 or 3 campaigns to their entire customer audience from these huge customer segments.

The way to solve this is by using tools that automatically apply the data insights to marketing campaigns, so that marketers can create just one or two campaigns and the machine can create hundreds or thousands of unique campaigns in the background.
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3. Different tools and teams for different marketing channels

CRM

Customers should receive one communication from a brand talking about the same thing, for example, a brand sends me a message about the End of Season Sale (EOSS), an email about 20 per cent off on my favorite brands and a Facebook Ad about the products related to my last purchase with no offer. As a customer, this gets very confusing for me.

Ideally, if a brand is launching a new product or communicating an EOSS the customer needs to see only one communication across SMS, email, Facebook and Instagram. But because of the complexities of the current ecosystem, different marketing channels are managed by different teams. The digital marketing team looks after social media while the CRM team sends out the SMS, email & push notifications.

Ideally, if a brand is launching a new product launch or communicating an EOSS the customer needs to see only one communication across SMS, email, Facebook and Instagram. But because of the complexities of the current ecosystem, different marketing channels are managed by different teams. The digital marketing team looks after social media while the CRM team sends out the SMS, email and push notifications.

Combining all the communication channels on one tool can make it much easier to manage the content overload for customers and ensure they only get the communication you intend for them.

4. Hard to measure campaign results
No marketing campaigns can be improved, if you're not tracking it. If you're reaching out to customers on 4 different marketing channels, you need to collate the data after sending the campaigns to measure the results. In the current ecosystem, it'll take days to just collate the report manually. On top of that, the marketing team is already overwhelmed with a number of things, including different ATL/BTL activities, that they don't have time to understand the report and improve the next campaign.

Tracking matters because you need only measure if a particular personalisation initiative worked if the campaign results improved. Without that tracking, you'll never know if your campaigns are becoming more personalised or not and if the revenue through the campaign is increasing or not.

Ultimately, to solve these four problems and to design personalised marketing campaigns that delight customers, marketers need to be equipped with the right tools that reduce the amount of manual labour they need to do.

Luckily, the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning software can solve these four problems and enable you to create marketing campaigns that delight your customers.

(The writer is the CEO of Xeno, an AI-driven CRM that enables brands to create 1 million unique campaigns to their 1 million existing customers on SMS, email, Facebook & Instagram.)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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