Personalisation Technology: Automated Personalisation
So, your business has adopted personalisation, and you’re on the path to creating new bonds with your consumers by understanding their preferences and desires on the macro scale. That’s excellent- even a small investment in the world of personalisation can pay massive dividends, widen funnels and lock down segments. So what’s next?
There truly is no end to the potential innovations of an ambitious, growing personalisation regime, but there is a limit to our own endurance. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities, the breadth of the data provided by this analysis-rich approach to marketing and consumer relationships. That’s where automated personalisation comes in.
Automated personalisation builds out of the framework we’ve established in our previous attempts to reach our customers more personally. It takes on forms you should be quite comfortable with by now- still tweaks the content and appearance of our web and mobile presences to reflect consumer desires and preferences, but most critically, it then applies the insight we might glean from these interactions and improves itself automatically. There will always be a place for human insight in marketing, of course, but the benefit of automation is that it’s both constant and immediate. There is simply no alternative for rapid reaction to shifting market trends- automated personalisation has the capacity to respond to often imperceptible shifts in customer behaviour without any prompting. The potential speaks for itself. Not only does it assist us in the heavy lifting of analysis, adjustment and deployment, it also means that when we do stop to assess what we’ve learned from a campaign or a trend, we have not only the initial data point but an entire process of adaptation that can serve to either confirm or deny a perspective we’d otherwise be just attempting to test ourselves.
More to the point, automated personalisation is the only opportunity for 1:1 marketing at scale, a system that genuinely allows specific interactions with singular customers at their point of entry, and all the way through the funnel beyond. That’s a powerful opportunity, but it’s also a demanding one. But what do we need as baseline from an automated personalisation solution:
1. Transparency: We need a firm hand on everything that is being done with our data and our segments. That means total transparency- not just what is being done, but _why _it’s being done. Are there insights that might not jump out from the raw data? Are there product affinities that might not be clear at first sight?
2. Ease of Implementation: Personalisation and automated personalisation in particular are complex enough without challenges in implementation. That’s why Adobe Target includes visual campaign setup and core services that make sharing creative and test ideas extremely easy.
3. Ease of Configuration: Previously, users could expect to use a relatively simplistic residual variance model for targeting, one still suitable for straightforward campaigns with few variables, but it’s important to have the capacity to plug in other models. Adobe has been working hard to provide a random forest model, an advanced and highly accurate approach that leverages insight on other consumers to help the machine determine the best course of action in the present, and lifetime value model.
4. Ease of Extensibility: Of course, new algorithms are constantly being developed. Adobe’s got some in the works right now. A flexible approach to automated personalisation means being able to update the moving parts when a better solution comes around. Adobe Target allows end users to plug in their own algorithms if necessary, as well as providing a profile API that connects with CRM and enterprise data to determine if it’s relevant and predictive: Extensible automation is robust automation.
5. Ease of Maintenance: It’s important that testing new combinations, adding new options, tweaking existing campaigns and ensuring everything plays nicely together is easy. This is another example of reducing the amount of work on your end- the major selling point of automation.
A great example of a company using automated personalisation through Adobe Target is Sky UK. Their goal for the Sky Shop was to use data to deliver relevant content and messaging to users engaging with the shop in order to drive incremental sales and upgrades on desktop and mobile. In order to do this they worked with their partner DBi and the Adobe Marketing Cloud to accurately identify specific segments of customers and deliver personalized offers and messages based on behavior and product holding. This approach enabled them to deliver 2.7 million personalized experiences and significant incremental sales uplift. The Adobe Target automated personalisation reporting also enabled them to uncover hidden affinities between products that were not evident when manually targeting or analyzing the data. You can hear more about their work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ5Il2-7wBw
Sky UK’s use of automated behavioural targeting moves us closer to our vision of driving real value from our personalisation technology investments: customers get more relevant, engaging content; the business gets more revenue from and clear return on investment; and our people and processes benefit from more time to think about the longer-term goals of our digital experiences, rather than being locked up in creating manual business rules or running reports all day.