Report: '80% of marketers to ditch personalisation by 2025'

Gartner has predicted that 80% of marketers will abandon personalisation efforts by 2025 due to lack of ROI, the complexities of customer data management or both.

First Move Direct Marketing handles many personalised mailing projects
First Move Direct Marketing handles many personalised mailing projects

The research and advisory company made the prediction as part of an analysis by Gartner for Marketers, which provides information on marketing trends and strategies to business leaders.

Further research by Gartner found that 27% of marketers believe data is the key obstacle to personalisation, and that personalisation’s success is also threatened by a continuing decline in consumer trust, increased scrutiny by regulators and tracking barriers put in place by tech companies.

However, many in the industry questioned the likelihood of demand for personalisation declining.

Personalisation is a key part of many cross-media campaigns. In the print industry data personalisation enjoys widespread use in direct mail, something First Move Direct Marketing managing director Rachel Smith can’t see slowing down.

“On the level of basic personalisation, if you’re just using a customer’s first name on a letter or something very simple, it doesn’t have the impact it used to.

“However, personalisation can be as complicated as you like, in direct mail and elsewhere – I guess you could call it hyper-personalisation. And I think that has more relevance than ever.

“It’s proven that if you use personalisation as part of your marketing mix, it improves response rates; so I would say it’s vitally important and likely that more detailed, complex personalisation will continue to be used, in our industry and beyond.”

Personalisation is also used across various other areas of print, where experts were surprised by Gartner’s report.

Prime Group owner Jon Tolley said: “We’re seeing all of our growth coming from personalisation, without any question. It’s not slowing down in any way, shape or form, and won’t slow down.

“[Personalisation is] definitely not going to be abandoned, but it will become more standard. I think it will be more mainstream and accepted than currently.”

TheMagicTouch managing director Jim Nicol added: “Something like personalisation in greetings cards might be on the decline because the days of people sending greetings cards is very much in question.

“But in general, I don’t see personalisation going away. Everyone’s doing it, it’s part of the CRM era that we’re involved in – this gathering of data and profiles of customers in particular – and that isn’t going to change, even with GDPR.

“The reality is, if you were my target customer and I made you a personalised sample, say I printed even just your name or logo, there’s more chance I’ll get some sort of return, or some sort of contact.

“[Personalisation is] only going to increase because the more people that get into this, the bigger the market will get. We don’t see it changing by 2025, that’s for sure.”

PHD Marketing & Strategy managing director Jo Stephenson, meanwhile, acknowledged threats to personalisation in print.

She said: “The challenge to personalisation has always been the impact on supply chain complexity and the associated costs. Creating individual SKUs to market 1:1 rather than 1:many creates inordinate challenges for brands unless handled very carefully.

“On top of that is clearly the creativity of the campaign; simply putting a name on a product no longer stands out.

However, she also predicted personalisation’s ongoing success in the print industry.

“With the growth in digital printing across the packaging industry, the likelihood of personalised products continuing to feature in brand marketing campaigns is likely to continue.

“Excitingly, there is also truly late-stage customisation of packaging now available too, where real-time events, information, marketing messages or promotions can be applied to packs at the literal point of packing or sale in store. This is enabling brands to become more relevant than ever.”

Gartner is based in Stamford, Connecticut. A member of the S&P 500, it advises and informs more than 15,600 organisations worldwide.

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