Last year, with much fanfare in the marketing press, Gartner predicted that 80% of marketers will abandon personalisation efforts by 2025. They cited this was due to lack of ROI, the complexities of customer data management, or both.

We live and breathe personalisation every day. We see that more brands are looking to increase personalisation rather than abandon it. Many are looking for the technology to help them do it. So, this announcement from Gartner – who provides advice and information on marketing trends to business leaders around the world, took us all a bit by surprise.

We decided to dig into it a little bit more and see if marketers are really moving away from personalisation. After all, a prediction’s only worth anything if it comes true!

The Gartner personalisation prediction

Let’s look at some of the things the Gartner personalisation report said:

27% of marketers believe data is the key obstacle to personalisation. The success of personalisation is threatened by a continuing decline in consumer trust, increased scrutiny by regulators, and tracking barriers put in place by tech companies.

The first thing to state is that Gartner wasn’t only talking about online personalisation, where a brand might serve up a different landing page or different content based on a visitor persona or individual browsing behaviour. They were also talking about the customisation and personalisation of products and services.

It's a shame the marketing press failed to point this out in all their headlines!

As for the statistics and what they say, marketers rightly point to data being the key obstacle to personalisation. Marketing today is more data-driven than ever before. We have systems now that allow us to capture, track, and measure customer data, and use that data to deliver better experiences – both offline and online – which can turn browsers into customers and customers into long-term brand advocates. That’s the power of personalisation!

Without customer data, without the technology to capture and track it, to implement personalisation appropriately, and measure success, personalisation is but a pipe-dream.

On the product personalisation side, supply chain complexity and often prohibitive cost has always been the major challenge. Creating individual products to market one-to-one, rather than one-to-many, can create huge challenges for organisations unless handled carefully.

But whether it’s printing a name or a logo on merchandise, providing specialist colours for a car, or showing products that you probably want to buy, the chances are that brands offering customisation and personalisation will get some kind of positive return from it.

What do other reports on personalisation say?

A report from Evergage states that 88% of marketers say their customers expect an experience that’s personalised to them.

91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them, says a study by Accenture.

Salesforce’s 2nd edition of State of the Connected Customer research report shows that 84% of customers expect to be treated like a person, not a number.

According to research conducted by The Relevancy Group for email personalisation vendor Liveclicker, almost nine in ten retailers now use personalisation in their marketing efforts, with those using advanced personalisation generating $20 in ROI for every $1 invested.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous reports out there with real data and anecdotal evidence that personalisation is not only wanted by consumers, but that more brands are realising its significance. And it is growing.

Maybe Gartner has got it wrong?

The future of personalisation: Our view

It’s been proven time and again that brands using personalisation as part of their marketing mix get improved response rates, and that personalisation can positively affect the bottom line. We’ve seen it with our own customers.

We’re definitely seeing growth in the market for personalisation, and we believe it will become standard practice for organisations small, medium, and large over the next five years.

More consumers want a personalised shopping experience, whether this be in retail, financial services, B2B, legal – or in fact, any industry. However, marketers must work hard to educate consumers that they need to hand over some of their personal data in order to receive the service and experience they desire. And this must go hand-in-hand with data security. Brands must be open about what kind of data they are collecting and how they're using it. It could be that we see more organisations putting a focus on data, privacy, and safety in their advertising and comms in order to reassure consumers and help deliver that fantastic personalised experience they desire. 'This brand is data safe’ could be the new calling card that makes the difference!

Digital transformation on the technology side will continue unabated. We believe more brands will see the benefit in moving their websites away from simple content management systems that are not delivering for their business or for their customers, to powerful digital experience platforms that drive personalised online experiences, can merge seamlessly with their CRM system, call centre technology, and offer the potential for ecommerce.

These all-in-one digital experience platforms are financially no longer out of reach for even the smallest organisation. Platforms like Sitecore are affordable, powerful, and can help drive personalised, individual experiences that delight visitors, turning them from simple browsers into lifetime customers who return time and time again.

Sitecore and Personalisation

We’ve been designing and building websites on Sitecore since the platform began. At the heart of Sitecore is the ability to personalise content and journeys for visitors, to better aid them in what they might be looking for, and to move them down the path to purchase.

Whether it’s using geo-location, visit history, entry point, campaign channel, browsing path, or real-time visitor behaviour, Sitecore personalisation is extremely powerful.

Sitecore is the world’s leading digital experience platform software. It offers content management, analytics, email, marketing automation, A/B and multivariate testing, a 360-degree view of your customer and their interactions with your website, and the ability to add ecommerce and a content hub if your organisation needs it.

Personalisation isn’t going away. Consumers are accustomed to it and organisations will need to offer it. But data and the technology to capture, harness, and use that data is the key to effective personalisation. Organisations need to invest in a secure platform and technology that allows them get personalisation right. And if they do, they'll find that their investment will reap returns.

Personalisation is here to stay!

We've helped many customers from a variety of industries harness the power of Sitecore personalisation. If you’re considering how to offer personalisation to your customers, and you’d like to know more about Sitecore, get in touch.