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Segmented data is impersonal. Get personalised.

In today’s business landscape it is hard to be a marketer. Consumers are bombarded by content which just overloads their inboxes and, for the most part, gets ignored. So how; consumers are facing information overload so do you get your message across? And via what channel?

Email has long been - and still remains – the most effective communications medium, but too often the message doesn’t resonate with its recipient, usually due to poor targeting or segmentation.

In marketing terms, segmentation is the aggregation of prospective buyers into groups  each of which are assumed to have common needs and so should respond similarly to a marketing action.

In fact, segmenting users by demographic creates an incomplete picture. For example: not every 25-30 year-old female wants to receive information on wedding dresses nor does an online dating-related email, inadvertently sent to a newly single person, provide anything but frustration for the user.

So, segmentation as a marketing tool is inherently flawed. Each of us as, consumers are individuals and have unique likes and dislikes. It is therefore reductive to think we can be simply lumped into groups based on age, gender or socioeconomic factors.  The consumer of 2014 expects to receive relevant, tailored messaging and to be communicated with on a personalised level.  In short:  segmentation is impersonal, get personalised.

Personalisation technology

Luckily for marketers, today’s personalisation technology allows companies to reach far beyond the limits of traditional segmentation. Personalisation technology empowers brands to tailor their communications based on consumer behaviour and not by demographic. The links the consumers click, the time of day they are active, and even the devices they are using have become more valuable than the blunt tools of age and gender. Marketers at the sharp end are increasingly turning to these technology companies to redefine what it means to deliver relevant content to consumers.

When brands deploy personalisation services they empower customers to drive the content they receive, based on previous interactions. Smart technology analyses user behaviour, learns individual preferences and applies that knowledge to inform and shape future communication.

Personalisation technology has already advanced to the point that it is able to easily react to changing behaviour, it can identify when major life events occur; such as marriage, the arrival of children, career shifts, relocations, and adjusts accordingly - creating an instant, automatic and scalable process. Rather than simply speaking to aggregate groups, for the first time, companies can drill down to provide directed and dynamic messaging for each of their customers on a one-to-one basis.

To avoid being left behind, marketers have begun to adapt and early adopters have the chance to gain a significant competitive advantage. After years of bombardment from brands providing irrelevant, impersonal messaging, users are opting out of brand communications at an alarming and unprecedented rate.

To date, most companies have confronted this trend by sending more emails in the hope of breaking through by sheer force, as if with a sledgehammer. But now, with marketers utilising the laser-like precision enabled by behavioural targeting, brands can entice users to listen by simply providing personally customised messaging. Relevance is the key to making an impression and is where the industry is headed. The sooner companies embrace this fact, the greater the advantage they will have in retaining consumer attention. 

As more brands pursue an ever-increasing volume of messaging and embrace a diverse variety of avenues to make their voices heard, only the most relevant communications will penetrate. Companies must stop thinking of their customers as a whole and must begin treating them as the individuals they are. By leveraging the growing amount of data that individuals provide about themselves with every click, brands can reach their targets with tailored communications while protecting and respecting their customers.