Never mind Gartner’s doom, personalisation’s rare now

data_2Gartner’s controversial prediction that brand owners will abandon personalisation in their droves by 2024 has been blown out of the water already, with a new study claiming two-thirds of marketing campaigns are not even tailored at moment.

Late last year Gartner raised more than a few eyebrows with its prediction, but according to research by Rakuten Marketing, UK marketers estimate just one in three campaigns (33%) currently embrace any element of personalised messaging. This leaves the vast majority still reliant on content that cannot be changed to suit the needs of specific consumers.

The report reckons this is is all the more pertinent as the continued migration away from cookie-based advertising in 2020 is pushing marketers towards new, rich media channels.

These include video advertising (29%) and in-app advertising (26%), which make use of GDPR-compliant first-party data – and are claimed to generate greater engagement and connection – but may require greater investment.

Crucially, marketers are aware of the risks of inertia. Conducted among 600 marketers in the UK, France and Germany, the study reports a third (32%) of respondents place “consumer fatigue with online ads” among the greatest threats to marketing in 2020.

Rakuten Marketing UK country manager Nick Fletcher explained: “Marketers are increasingly struggling to reach their entire target audience across all channels at all times. The truth is it’s unsustainable. Marketers have to rationalise their approach, making data-led decisions about who it makes sense to speak to, when and via which channels.”

Nine in ten marketers are already responding to this need for better engagement by opting to create more relevant campaigns orientated around major sales moments in the calendar. At a European level, core seasonal peaks such as Christmas (51%) and Cyber Weekend (32%) are now joined by Prime Day (18%) and Chinese New Year (15%).

Uptake of these less locally celebrated shopping days is particularly strong among luxury fashion marketers, 22% of whom are planning to launch campaigns for Chinese New Year in the UK. This underlines a desire to capitalise on the strong appetite for UK luxury brands in APAC, the report maintains. These marketers also have plans for Prime Day (24%) and Singles’ Day (20%).

In France and Germany, days including Chinese New Year and Singles’ Day are a growing focus for marketers within the travel sector. A quarter of travel businesses in France and 20% in Germany will launch Singles’ Day campaigns, while 21% of travel companies in France and 20% in Germany have planned campaigns around Chinese New Year.

Choosing which moments to jump on is important not only because marketers are attempting to engage consumers across multiple channels, but because they are addressing so many more regions, the study says. In France, Germany and the UK, marketers estimate at least a third of their company’s sales are now generated by overseas shoppers.

The number of campaigns aimed at international shoppers by UK marketers has grown by 35% over the past two years, with the highest growth reported by luxury fashion marketers at 42%. Importantly, one in ten UK marketers are now working in regions such as Singapore, Brazil, China, Japan and the Middle East.

Fletcher concludes: “Going international with marketing campaigns means making fundamental alterations – from language to pricing and messaging. In some cases, price competition and discounts are essential to driving cross-border commerce, but they should not be seen as a substitute for great customer experiences. To ensure brands can replicate their success in new markets, experiences that feel personal are a must.”

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