Delivering Digital Personalisation: How One Leading Media Company Nailed It

As Europe’s leading entertainment and media company, Sky has 22 million customers that each receive engaging, personalized experiences.

by Rob McLaughlin

posted on 08-08-2018

Personalisation doesn’t just drive a better customer experience. It also drives business results. Companies that deliver personalized experiences reduce acquisition costs by 50 percent, increase revenues by 15 percent, and improve marketing spend by 10-30 percent.

The stats are a compelling enough reason for companies to focus on personalisation, but achieving it is where many brands often falter. At Sky, we have 22 million customers across five countries. When you have that large of a customer base, personalisation is no easy feat, but we’ve managed to deliver personalized experiences across multiple channels thanks to a key internal initiative supported by several Adobe technologies.

Here’s how we create and deliver personalisation, and incremental annual revenue to the tune of millions of pounds. They’re best practices you can use too.

Activate your customer data

Sky has always had deep intelligence across CRM, viewing and digital platforms, holding rich insight into the desires, likes, triggers, and intents of our individual customers. In July 2017, my team kicked-off a program called “Decisioning in Digital” with the singular vision of activating this intelligence to deliver inbound personalized experiences across our digital channels.

Initially, we chose to focus on three use cases with clear business objectives for personalisation: product recommendations (revenue), in-life engagement (retention), and service messaging (cost to serve).

To recognize our customers across our digital channels, such as Sky.com, the MySky app, and Skysports.com, we leveraged the concept of customer identity that we already had in place for building behavioral customer histories through digital analytics. For this purpose, we used Adobe’s device graph technology, which allowed us to identify customers across devices — without the customer needing to log in — to deliver targeted messaging to these audience segments no matter which digital device they are using.

Integrate your data for real-time personalisation

We use Adobe Target, which enables the creation of cross-channel personalized experiences as our real-time decisioning platform and to deliver relevant decisions specific to each customer. We also worked closely with the teams behind the various digital channels in our organization to create a pioneering API-driven approach to deliver decisions into the customer experience, while allowing the platforms themselves to remain in control.

To further improve personalisation, we brought together several data sources to allow relevant customer data to be available to Adobe Target in a variety of near and real-time feeds. To do this we imported to Adobe Experience Cloud our customer intelligence data from a variety of viewing and digital platforms and offline sources. Our team also used existing customer segments and traits available within our DMP, Adobe Audience Manager. We then ingested propensity scores, sports, and genre preferences from our data science group.

We ran two tracks of decisioning: rules-based, which uses a straightforward “if this, then that” method, and also a less constrained artificial intelligence (AI) approach, which uses the latest aspects of Adobe Sensei, the AI and machine-learning framework embedded into many of Adobe’s products and tools. This approach allowed us to classify rules and algorithms as either “exploration” or “exploitation” as we sought to optimize performance against an array of control groups.

Expand your efforts across channels

Using Adobe’s marketing stack has allowed us to act on the customer data we already have. Personalized product recommendations alone have driven £10.5 million in annual incremental revenue. We will continue to develop our approach to product recommendations and in-life engagement, broadening the data we make available for decisioning and refining the rules and models.
In the coming months, we will expand our personalisation endpoints to interactive within a set-top box and begin integration into our contact center, enabling agents to leverage these personalized decisions and triggers in their conversations with customers.

We plan to deliver targeted and personalized experiences to drive service efficiency and effectiveness. As part of this effort, we plan to bring inbound personalized experiences together with our approach to outbound targeting by using Adobe Campaign as a solution for cross-channel campaign management.

At Sky, our focus continues to be on delivering capabilities that drive immediate business value, while strategically building our marketing technology stack to gain more insights from our customer intelligence to improve campaign performance and the experiences customers have with our brand.

This initiative has taught us that it’s critical to be clear about your business objectives and then engage technology that allows you to achieve these specific goals. Far too often, organizations work in the reverse — focusing on technology enablement first, and then their core objectives. But that approach is like putting the cart before the horse.

Another important thing to remember is that your personalisation strategy must be holistic. It can’t just focus on one channel at the expense of others. You must consolidate data from various online and offline sources to gain a 360-degree view of your customers. Then apply these insights in a way that gives your customers a seamless experience across channels and platforms. With the help of machine learning and AI, we’ve become more capable of achieving this level of personalisation, and delivering experiences that differentiate our brand. What we’ve learned is that even with 22 million customers, the right technology solutions can help us drive personalisation at scale.

Read more stories about artificial intelligence in the enterprise here, and read more about Adobe’s relationship with Sky UK here.

Topics: Digital Transformation

Products: Audience Manager, Experience Manager, Target