Personalisation at scale: 3 capabilities brands need to acquire

December 29, 2022 06:00
Photo: Reuters

In Hong Kong, customer expectations are set by the best brands globally who pursue the highest levels of customer satisfaction. This creates a market where the bar on delightful customer experiences is always rising. At times it can seem like an impossible task for local and overseas companies to continuously delight customers and provide them with something unexpectedly personal when browsing an app or traditional website, including a helpful hand, a highly relevant coupon or offer, or a seamless customer support experience.

But delight in attaining a personalised experience is precisely what consumers (73%) and business customers (87%) want from a personalised experience, according to a recent report by Forrester Consulting, who sought to understand what companies can do to deliver a first-rate experience to all of their customers across every step of their journey.

In the study, respondents reported that their personalisation initiatives have exceeded targets and expectations for revenue (68%), customer experience measures (67%), and conversion rates (67%).

One travel and hospitality director in the context of a B2B customer campaign reported, “Personalisation led to an additional US$46 million in top-line revenue per campaign, an increase credited to higher conversion from personalisation.” Another director from a financial services firm said, “Based on our personalisation strategy, we have seen a 40 percent reduction in calls and a corresponding 1-point increase in measured customer loyalty.” These remarkable results are available to every company with the will to commit.

Companies that are top of their game are termed by Forrester “Experience Leaders”. They practice not just personalisation but also “personalisation at scale,” a strategy to consistently deliver value to all of their customers by leveraging data to create connected, contextually relevant experiences for every customer across all interactions and channels.

To execute on this strategy, Experience Leaders are adept at organising across teams and departments to keep the customer at the centre of their strategy, having mastered advanced capabilities in data and insights, content supply chain and modular assembly, and omnichannel journey orchestration. These capabilities and practices are within reach of every organisation in Hong Kong. All roles — marketing, digital, insights, technology, customer care, and product development — has a part to play in bringing the full benefits of personalisation at scale to life.
So, just how does a company go about achieving personalisation at scale. Three capabilities come rapidly to the fore.

1. Create a Data Foundation
It’s difficult to deliver a comprehensive experience without a unified and shared customer data platform that ties together data from web, commerce, mobile, customer support and social channels. Experience Leaders put knowledge and insights about their customers into a shared customer data platform, a resource that every channel and touchpoint owner in the organisation can use. Naturally, privacy plays a critically important role in this, particularly the need to protect personal information. So, make privacy and preferences need to be made clear and transparent.

2. Build a content supply chain and assemble personalised experiences on the fly
What good is having 30 microsegments of customers if a firm only have three distinct messages or assets to serve them? That’s why it’s important to generate a substantial amount of content with ongoing investment. Create a common content repository (in Chinese and English) to facilitate content reuse by all teams and touchpoint owners. Additionally, a digital asset management platform lies at the heart of successfully engineering content at scale. Assets, sometimes the tens of thousands of them, must be tagged with the right metadata. 70% of Experience Leaders tag content with relevant metadata by using a mix of manual and Artificial Intelligence (AI) automation techniques.

3. Orchestrating the experience along a customer’s entire journey
The more a company knows about a customer’s goals and context, the better able it is to give them just the right nudge or assistance in the best moment and channel. This alignment — helping the customer whilst improving the firm’s outcomes — is a win-win. Experience Leaders achieve this by orchestrating personalised journeys across every channel and touchpoint in an omnichannel experience. They use AI/Machine learning (ML)-based decisioning engine and predictive models to determine and deliver next-best actions.


The yardstick for personalisation at scale will continue to rise as the best brands evolve to be better Experience Leaders and the complexity will continue to increase as customers adopt new platforms, channels, and virtual experiences. For firms wanting to keep abreast of developments they should adopt the three capabilities outlined above. Additionally, they are also urged to map out a strategy -- including teams, scenarios, weaknesses and measures of success -- as well as a roadmap for building out their capabilities. All the while committing to investments in software, data and content technology to ensure personalisation at scale.

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Managing Director, Greater China, Adobe Inc.