Using Personalisation to Deliver Greatest Value

by Sarah Pennells

Posted on 06-08-2018

We con­tin­ue our series of con­ver­sa­tions between respect­ed blog­gers from a range of fields and experts from Adobe. These unique encoun­ters will offer insight into how end con­sumers feel about dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, includ­ing how and when tar­get­ing is effec­tive, what makes for an appeal­ing cam­paign, and how mar­ket­ing affects whether these all-impor­tant influ­encers spread the word about spe­cif­ic prod­ucts and platforms.

Our fea­tured blog­ger for this quar­ter is Sarah Pen­nells (SP). Sarah set up in 2009, after becom­ing frus­trat­ed that none of the finan­cial infor­ma­tion online seemed to be writ­ten with women like her in mind. Savvy­Woman aims to help women become a lit­tle rich­er by help­ing them invest, save for their retire­ment and deal with bumps in the road, such as divorce and debt. As well as online con­tent, Savvy­Woman runs sem­i­nars and events aimed at demys­ti­fy­ing mon­ey and invest­ing. The site has been short­list­ed as num­ber five in The Times’ “Top 50 web­sites to save you money.”

Sarah is also an award-win­ning broad­cast­er and jour­nal­ist who reg­u­lar­ly appears on the BBC as a finan­cial expert. She’s writ­ten for a num­ber of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers, includ­ing Styl­ist, Yours and Good Housekeeping.

Sarah spoke to Adobe’s Michael Plim­soll (MP), Indus­try Mar­ket­ing Direc­tor. He is sea­soned, inno­v­a­tive mar­ket­ing strate­gist focused on dri­ving effi­cien­cies and improved return on invest­ment through the bet­ter use of data and ana­lyt­ics. Fol­low Mike @MichaelPlimsoll

SP I’m Sarah Pen­nells and I’m a jour­nal­ist. I’m the founder of a mon­ey web­site for women called I’m here at Adobe’s Lon­don offices as part of a series of inter­views where I talk to a num­ber of lead­ing voic­es in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. I’m here with Mike Plim­soll at Adobe’s offices, and we’re talk­ing about data personalisation.

If you look at adver­tis­ing away from finan­cial ser­vices, so there’s ads that fol­low you round when you’re brows­ing online. A lot of peo­ple say they don’t like them, but then if you look at the click-through rates, for exam­ple, they’re much high­er. So, is there this thing that we don’t like the idea of a com­pa­ny hav­ing all this infor­ma­tion about us, but actu­al­ly nei­ther do we want to fill in the same form 15 times or go through five pages to get to the bit we want to? Is there a bit of a dif­fer­ence between what we say we like and actu­al­ly what we like?

MP There’s absolute­ly a dif­fer­ence between what con­sumers say they want and what they actu­al­ly like. We look at cus­tomer pref­er­ences, where they go, “Oh, I don’t want you to e‑mail me or con­tact me oth­er than once a month.” But actu­al­ly, when you look at it, they like to engage once a week.

So some­times that does dif­fer. There’s def­i­nite­ly this trend that we’re see­ing of con­sumers expect you to know things—if they’ve giv­en you a piece of infor­ma­tion before, they expect you to use that to help them in the future. And this is what I mean about act­ing respon­si­bly with data. If I, as a con­sumer, give my bank some infor­ma­tion or an online retail­er, for instance, I don’t expect to have to re-enter that over and over again.

I expect them to hold that and then cre­ate a bet­ter expe­ri­ence for me but use it respon­si­bly. These ads that track you round the inter­net, yes, I’m see­ing less of it, thank­ful­ly, these days. Many years ago, well, I say many, four or five years ago, all too often you would go on to a web­site, look at a cou­ple of TVs or some­thing, and you would just be tracked round the Inter­net, say­ing here are the five last prod­ucts you looked at.

I remem­ber talk­ing to a lot of com­pa­nies about you know what they’ve looked at. The cus­tomer knows what they’ve looked at. What’s the val­ue of that mes­sage? How you can say you get an extend­ed war­ran­ty if you buy an elec­tron­ic device from us or some­thing like that rather than just show­ing the—

SP I must con­fess some­times when, say, I’d been on a site and I bought some­thing and then it would tell you “you just looked at this”, well, yes, I just bought it, I’m not going to buy anoth­er one! Or else it would say you looked at it and you decid­ed you absolute­ly didn’t want it, no, thank you very much, and then the next half-dozen vis­its there would be this say danc­ing TV or what­ev­er. And then it would just be, hang on a minute, don’t you under­stand what I’ve just done?

MP The worst is when you get an e‑mail or a dis­play ban­ner say­ing that you can get it cheap­er after you bought it. I think the root cause of that—there are a cou­ple of things—is lack of inte­grat­ed data. We hear finan­cial ser­vices and every indus­try going, well, how do we bring data togeth­er to cre­ate true omnichan­nel experience?

We hear about cus­tomer data plat­forms, which is a big buzz­word now, along­side data man­age­ment plat­forms. Because actu­al­ly if you can con­nect those, then you can stop that expe­ri­ence from hap­pen­ing because your data becomes con­nect­ed. It also requires a bit of peo­ple and process skills because it requires, again com­ing back to this notion of the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the mar­keter to under­stand that there’s the right time and the wrong time. And thank­ful­ly a lot of the com­pa­nies I talk to these days under­stand that, and they go, you know what, If a cus­tomer says they’re not inter­est­ed, we’re not going to waste our mar­ket­ing spend going after them again. We’ll lis­ten, and we’ll stop.

SP Thanks very much, Mike. Well, for more insights and to see more of our inter­views, go to

Topics: Digital Transformation, advertising, data, financial services, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA