Achieving personalisation: how connectivity and big data optimisation is essential

Nov 21, 2019 · 4 min read

Personalisation is no longer just about emails addressed with people’s first names. It’s about leveraging the power of big data to create personalised experiences across all channels.

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In fact, studies show that consumers are no longer impressed with the hackneyed old methods of personalisation. Just 8% of consumers said they would engage with communications that address them by name, and only 7% said they would engage with a birthday email.

However this doesn’t mean consumers don’t want personalisation, they just want better personalisation. And, importantly, they are willing to trade their personal data to get it. Research shows that 57% of consumers are willing to share their data in return for personalised offers or discounts, and 52% in exchange for personalised recommendations.

So how can we use data to implement better personalisation?

External and Internal Systems

Firstly, it’s important to gather as much data as possible from across a number of sources including key internal systems like the booking engine, property management system, CRM as well as how consumers interact with the brand through external systems like social media, website and mobile traffic.

There are huge quantities of data available, that when consolidated and optimised can give you a comprehensive profile of the buyer. Then using advanced analytics to mine this data for useful nuggets, it can be used in creative ways to target customers on an individual level.

To benefit from this level of data visualisation, it’s important to have all data sources connected through intelligent interfaces to exchange and share data in real-time. With increasing number of systems, applications and software tools from different providers, businesses need to ensure there are secure, robust integrations to optimise their performance, and investment.

Benefitting from the data

New software systems and platforms recognise the importance of data, making it accessible, manageable and visual to allow users to act upon the information. Efficiently ingested and managed data that has been processed with clear visuals will allow you to really drive personalised services, products and offerings.

In order to optimise your systems for big data management, it’s essential to:

  1. Connect your data: Identify all your data streams, the data flows and entry and exit points to ensure that you are not losing data and keeping all user data secure. Collect data into a central depository that can ingest the information and begin to categorise
  2. Store your data: Make sure your data is safe and can be accessed from a central location through the cloud for your entire business and by all your customers.
  3. Sort your data: feed in algorithms and artificial intelligence features to optimise the performance of the data and how it is presented to ensure that your business and your customers’ business can make the most from the data provided
  4. Present the data: make it visual, ensure it is clear to understand and demonstrates the trends and activity that is occurring across the business. The better the user interface the more your customers will use the data and benefit from it.

Sciant’s experience in building industry interfaces and big data solutions for customers in the travel and hospitality means that the right systems and applications can be connected at the right level of data exchange required to meet the commercial aims of the business, while having the power to drive personalisation.

What can be achieved from the data and connections for personalisation?

This doesn’t just mean emails. All customer-facing platforms through the company website, apps, retargeted marketing and social media can be personalised with individual recommendations.

Amazon is the flagship here. Its personalised recommendation engine accounts for over 35% of all sales. But the data required is actually quite simple — users’ purchase histories, items already in their carts, items they have rated or liked, and what other customers have viewed or purchased. It is the magic of the analytics, conducted in real time by an algorithm, that provides the personalised results.

It even occurs before a purchase is made from a new customer, by utilising the data to understand buying intent and preferences.

Search engine personalisation might be the most effective of all, with 39% of marketers reporting a serious uplift from it. Search engines are increasingly becoming relevancy engines with simple key words replaced by complex sets of ‘signals’, including lists of items clicked, lists of categories, time and length of interactions, location, personal information and much more, Many of these are tracked in real time as the user progresses through the system, then combined with statistical models from data research to provide the most relevant results.

As the predictive power and relevancy of search engines increases, instead of waiting for a customer to search for a product, lists of the most relevant items will be sent to them proactively based on knowledge of what is most relevant to them at any particular time — the ultimate in personalisation.

The sales funnel

Interfaces and data insight allow the business to better target its market and create an improved sales funnel that supports acquisition of new customers, driving purchases from those with high intent, optimising revenue from existing customers, and building the long-term-value of each customer.

A study found 44% of people will ignore all future communications that don’t target them correctly.

Personalisation should always be about making the customer feel more, not less, comfortable.

The place to start — ensuring your systems have access to the right data.

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