Claire Cooper

Will personalisation become a dirty word?

As we delve further into an age of digital personalisation, getting our dirty mitts on more customer data than we know what to do with, how will we know (as marketers) when we have over-personalised? When does personalisation become a dirty word for customers?

personalisation We know personalisation works; in fact I was just reading an interesting case study on L’Occitane en Provence, an international retailer of beauty products based in France. 

L’Occitane wanted to boost sales, increase customer retention and loyalty, so they launched a personalised email campaign.

The campaign generated a 2,500 percent revenue boost. This led the company to expand its personalisation into other channels, such as affiliated websites, social media (Facebook and Twitter), paid search, PayPal etc. The figures for the campaign (published in September's edition of Marketing Magazine) spoke for themselves: 

  • conversion rates for personalised email were 17 times higher than prior campaigns, and
  • there was an initial 80 percent in sales increase via product recommendations.

This personalised approach has allowed the company to amass and access customer data, with the ability to view a customer’s entire relationship with the online store; products browsed, carted, reviewed and brought. In this case, no one can deny the value of personalisation.

As a customer, it’s nice to know that when I visit the website they will show me that there is a discount on my favourite perfume. But what if the fragrance I brought was for my boyfriend; or the hand cream for my mother? Do I get the option on purchase to specify whether the item is intended for me?

This is where I believe the power of personalisation gets a little grey.

Recently, I have been having a particularly frustrating time with a website that offers daily deals. Each day you get an email alert with a great offer that you only have one day to snap up.

I absolutely love the concept, and there seems to be many e-tailers jumping on the bandwagon;,,, and many more.

I got an offer from one of these sites the other day for a spa package usually offered at $300, but on special that day for $80. I took the offer, went and had a lovely experience. But now I get an offer for a spa treatment every DAY.

How many spa treatments do they think I need (and how many do they think I can afford)?

I then found out my colleague had received an offer for sailing lessons from the same site something I would have LOVED. I wouldn’t have known unless he had forwarded it to me. I was too busy perusing spa offers I would never buy.

Which leads me to my original question... how do we know when we have over personalised?

We need to give customers the opportunity to change the segment we have slotted them into. On the offer email it should say something like “We know you enjoy spa treatments, so here is an offer for one. But in case you’re looking for something different, here are some other options”. Or as I mentioned previously, on purchase allow me to select if this purchase is a gift for me or for someone else.

The key is to ask the right questions so people are not shoe-horned into boxes they don’t fit-in, and keep data as up to date as possible. It’s an ongoing process of knowing who you are going to target, what your customers actually like, why they are visiting, what makes them return and what eventually makes them stay.

What do you think about the future of personalisation?


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Claire Cooper BULLSEYE Claire Cooper
Position: Account Director
Claire is responsible for driving Bullseye's digital offering in New Zealand with a specific focus on developing new client opportunities. Claire is presently doing a lot of work in the social space. Guiding clients on how to get ROI from social campaigns and how to engage and respond using social media monitoring.

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