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Personalisation is about more than just putting a name in a mass email

Personalisation is about more than just putting a name in a mass email, says Jason Talbot, and it requires B2B marketers to be at the top of their games

We all know that personalisation represents the future of digital, but most of us are still struggling to take a firm grip of one-to-one. We’re getting lost in a deluge of tactics, channels and platforms, which makes it hard to maintain a top-level perspective.

If we could fly above the turbulent air of marketing noise we'd emerge into a calm consensus about where we should be directing our efforts towards personalisation going forward:

  • Providing an integrated experience for customers.
  • Finding opportunities to engage with them in real time.
  • Treating customers as real people – seeing the person not the persona.
  • Building sustainable relationships to create long-term loyalty.
  • Personally I also still crave big ideas, but maybe that’s just me showing my age?

The idea of real time and personal can transform brands into authentic and trustworthy guides along the customer journey.

Being in the moment

In the real world, every conversation is personal – and mostly in ‘real time’. The magic of real-time and personal marketing is the ability to be genuinely conversational – to transform momentary insights into content that’s useful and relevant because it’s tailored both to an individual and a particular circumstance.

(And just in case you were wondering, sticking someone’s first name in a mass email isn’t personalised marketing. Sorry.)

Ultimately, it’s about the ability to tailor imagery, products, offers and response mechanisms to the particular needs of the individual and the moment. As marketers it requires us to be at the top of our game – experts in what we do and able to pull a number of skillsets together. It requires creative imagination and craft – strategy, data and technology will only take you so far.

I’m geeky and I know it

In the past, simply getting the data was a big deal. Now many of us have to deal with too much of the blinkin’ stuff – we’re literally drowning. (The idea of data lakes makes me laugh. Man overboard!)

Luckily we have access to amazing technologies that enable us to tame the flood and use it to power our real-time and personal ambitions. Data management solutions can provide real-time data for immediate campaign optimisation and triggers. Marketers can tie anonymous audience data with known customer data across channels and devices to achieve complete and connected customer profiles.

Don’t even get me started on predictive analytics.

It’s really, really cool stuff. There’s no avoiding tech and data going forward – not new news I know – but you need to recognise where you sit on the technology curve before you can fully understand your ability to win in real time. I’m just saying.

Dream big

Intrepid marketers are increasingly investing time and energy in unlocking the potential of real-time and personal to deliver growth.

It relies on the premise that to provide great experiences we must know the individual and provide marketing, products and services that fit them and their needs in the moment and at scale. For many marketing departments it’s an ongoing transformation journey using technology, data and creativity to ultimately make their marketing more, well, human.

Take steps to realise this opportunity and trust me – your working day, your planning cycles, your momentum will capture the imagination of the rest of the business.


Embrace your instincts. Don’t fear failure. We’re in marketing for crying out loud – enjoy it!

B2B Agencies Benchmarking Report 2017

B2B Marketing's definitive run-down of the leading B2B marcomms and PR agencies in 2016-17. We reveal the definitive rankings of the UK's top 75 B2B marcomms agencies, as well as the sector's top 40 global agencies, its fastest-growing agencies and leading PR agencies. 

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