2 min readHow far should digital personalisation go?


Personalising the experience offered by brands has been a major trend over recent years as businesses attempt to use the increasing amount of data they receive to engage effectively with customers.

CRM software has made it easier for companies to keep track of this information, for instance by noting which products a particular buyer is especially interested in and changing how this person is interacted with.

However, firms need to be careful how they utilise this information, treading the line between offering a personalised experience and impinging on a customer’s life or acting in an overly familiar fashion.

Michael Smith, marketing leader for mobile and social business at IBM, recently told Marketing Week that brands should be cautious of chasing after digital personalisation “just because they can”.

“Customers want engagement with some brands, but not others. Whatever we do, it has to be with the customer in mind,” he declared.

This is good advice in general when it comes to utilising CRM – not every organisation will need to invest in the mobile element of the software, particularly if their buyers are unlikely to be interested in such a function.

Well-targeted and intelligent personalisation can drive up brand engagement, but attempting to force it upon uninterested consumers will make them frustrated.

Nick Gee, director of consumer marketplace at Auto Trader, suggested that too much complexity is a big turn-off for buyers.

“Our customers understand the benefits of logging in to access previous search history, so the risk for us is not so much about becoming intrusive, but overcomplicating our lives,” declared Mr Gee.

Consumers tend to be willing to give up data as long as they are given a clear understanding of why, underlining the potential benefits and free services that will be offered to them in exchange for this process.

However, they also should be reassured that CRM systems are as secure as possible to allay the risk of their personal information being lost.