Personalisation is quickly becoming one of the leading techniques in customer marketing. But it isn’t easy, or easily understood.

In fact, there’s hype surrounding personalisation, from software providers promising double-digit growth to marketing departments drowning in customer data. Here we dispel three common myths about personalisation.

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Myth #1: More is better.

If a little personalisation is good, a lot of personalisation must be better, right? Not necessarily. Some personalisation is expected and does little to differentiate your brand, like using a customer’s name in an email subject-line. More relevant personalisation, like recommendations based on recent transactions, can increase conversion, retention and customer satisfaction—key business objectives.

Use customer data to increase understanding of what level of personalisation is valued by customers and to deliver deeper, more relevant personalisation. But, avoid gathering personal information you don’t plan to use. If you don’t know why you need the info, can’t explain how you plan to use it and can’t show how that use case benefits your customers, then you don’t deserve the information.

Myth #2: Personalisation is a one-size-fits all solution. 

Wrong. The definition of personalisation varies widely, even within a given company. Personalisation can pertain to customised marketing and communication, or it could mean tailored digital commerce product recommendations based on geolocation and location inventory levels. As one Forbes article explains, it could be a business strategy or a marketing tactic.

Start where you are. Use the data you have to understand how personalisation could improve results. Test personalised content, campaigns and offers based on available data, comparing results against a baseline. Use business outcomes to build the business case for more personalisation resources.

Myth #3: Just buy a personalisation engine. 

Maybe. A tool alone won’t deliver personalisation. Successful personalisation takes business strategy and measurable objectives, data and content. A personalisation engine alone isn’t the solution. And choosing the right type of solution is key—from marketing software with personalisation capabilities to personalisation engines to customer analytics tools that enable personalisation.

Start with the business strategy and objectives. What are you trying to achieve? Perhaps your goal is new customer acquisition. If so, your personalisation efforts may focus on targeted advertising, such as lookalike audiences, to reach potential customers with tailored messaging. This doesn’t require a personalisation engine, but rather data, media and ad tech.

Personalisation can be an effective technique for increasing marketing relevance and effectiveness, increasing customer engagement and improving business results. Avoid common pitfalls like overinvesting in data you don’t use or tools that don’t support your strategy, or, skipping strategy altogether.

*This article is reprinted from the Gartner Blog Network with permission. 

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