Personalisation set for the scrapheap, Gartner predicts

data bPersonalised marketing is set to go the way of the Sony Betamax, the 8-track and the Dodo within five years, according to a controversial report by Gartner, which predicts that 80% of companies which have invested in the technology will abandon their efforts due to a lack of ROI, the perils of customer data management or both.

Quite what the data-driven marketing industry will do once this mass exodus kicks in is anyone’s guess, but with nearly every marketing discipline – from TV, email, and outdoor to radio, search and online display – pinning their hopes on personalisation, Gartner is certainly sticking its neck out.

Even so, the “Gartner for Marketers report: They’re Just Not That Into You” notes that 27% of marketers believe data is the key obstacle to personalisation – revealing their weaknesses in data collection, integration and protection.

Marketers face other impediments to personalisation success, including the continuing decline in consumer trust, increased scrutiny by regulators and tracking barriers erected by tech companies. While Gartner claims personalisation comprises just 14% of all marketing budget, more than one in four marketing leaders cite technology as a major hurdle.

Gartner senior director analyst Charles Golvin said: “Personal data has long been the fuel that fires marketing at every stage of the customer journey, and the drive to find new forms of fuel and devise new ways to leverage them seems to be boundless.

“However, this quest has failed to meet marketers’ ambitions and, in some cases, has backfired, as consumers both directly and indirectly reject brands’ overtures. Consumers have developed an increasingly jaundiced eye toward marketers’ efforts to embrace them.

“Their increasingly cluttered email inboxes and mobile phone notification centres may lead them to ignore even the most carefully personalised and contextualised message. Marketers must really adopt the basics when it comes to test and learn before investing in personalisation technology and new tactics.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings have sparked heated debate in the industry, with some pointing out that consumers actually prefer personalised communications.

In fact, according to a recent study by Selligent Marketing Cloud, nearly three-fifths (71%) of consumers believe personalisation is very important and over half (51%) are willing to share personal data for more personalised customer experience.

Selligent chief marketing officer Niki Hall said: “Building consumer trust and long-term loyalty is the holy grail for any marketer. Consumers today are more connected than ever; they expect a level of personalisation in their brand interactions and want everything in an instant.

“But because they are also wary of their data being used in ways they may not agree with, brands need to develop a strategy that strikes a relevancy balance – articulating personalised consumer value without being intrusive.

“To successfully do this, businesses need an intelligent platform that provides a complete view of the customer. Having full visibility across all consumer touchpoints will enable brands to deliver an elevated customer experience and drive lasting value.”

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