Gartner: Personalised marketing on the out

Published on the 05/12/2019 | Written by Heather Wright


Gartner_Marketing personal targeting

Consumers rejecting brands overtures…

It’s been a mantra for marketing, hailed as an essential strategy for every brand, and big bucks have been spent in an effort to attain personalisation in marketing.

But just like Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality, the quest for personalisation appears to have failed – at least according to Gartner. The research company is forecasting a massive 80 percent of marketers will abandon their efforts to personalise marketing over the next five years.

The reason? A lack of return on investment or the perils of customer data management – or both.

“Consumers have developed an increasingly jaundiced eye toward marketers’ efforts to embrace them.”

Predicts 2020: Marketers, They’re Just Not That Into You says 27 percent of marketers believe data is the key obstacle to personalisation, highlighting a weakness in data collection, integration and protection.

A similar number – ‘more than one in four’ – say technology is a major hurdle to personalisation, which currently comprises 14 percent of marketing budget according to Gartner’s research. Among the technology issues are the tracking barriers erected by tech companies.

Charles Golvin, senior director analyst in the Gartner for Marketers Practice, says while personal data has long been the fuel that fires marketing, consumers are increasingly jaundiced about personalisation.

“Their increasingly cluttered email inboxes and mobile phone notification centres may lead them to ignore even the most carefully personalised and contextualised message,” Golvin says.

In an age of increasing concern over data use, They’re Just Not That Into You also highlights the increased scrutiny by regulators and the potential public relations disasters resulting from data ethics failures, noting by 2023 one-third of PR disasters will be as a result of those data ethics failures.

While personalisation may be one of the holy grails of marketing – HubSpot says personalised CTAs achieve 202 percent higher conversion rates – it’s no secret that getting it wrong is a great way to alienate your market. From the ‘Hi {firstname}’ ‘personalised’ emails to excessive remarketing, there are plenty of ways personalisation can fail. Not to mention high profile user-generated content fails, such as Adidas’ personalised Arsenal shirts which allowed Twitter users to create customised shirts but was quickly hijacked by trolls creating offensive shirts.

So what’s a marketer to do?

“Marketers must really adopt the basics when it comes to test and learn before investing in personalisation technology and new tactics,” Golvin says.

It’s hardly earth shattering advice, but Gartner recommends developing a pilot or proof of concept with vendors before investing in personalisation technology, focusing on strategic planning, use case development and consent management as part of the personalisation roadmap, and collaborating with cross-functional teams to align personalisation efforts and increase momentum.

“Sharing control of personalisation efforts can lead to shared insight and expand collective impact and ROI,” Gartner says.

But it’s not just personalisation that’s failing, according to Gartner. The company is also predicting  a decline in influencer marketing, with budget allocation decreasing by a third as consumers lose trust in brands and entities they don’t personally know.

Instead, Gartner is predicting companies will turn to increasingly to behavioural science and ethnography with 25 percent of marketing departments expected to have a dedicated behavioural scientist or ethnographer on their full-time staff by 2023.

Come 2024, Gartner says artificial intelligence identification of emotions will influence more than half of the online advertisements we see.

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