Using a data-based approach to tailor a personalised offer to individual prospects by using data, can encourage them to purchase.

The trick is how you define personalisation and what form it takes. Of course, it’s not like buying a made to measure suit – no one could possibly tailor their product or service to every single individual, so in this context, personalisation targets groups of specific individuals. And of course, this is quite a versatile tool.

Most markets are fully, if not over, saturated. As the saying goes, there’s nothing new under the sun and our in-built cynicism makes us think that they are just after our money. And sometimes they are, so as consumers we get burned.

Companies collect data on customers which they can then use to tailor their offers to genuinely interested potential consumers. Take recommendations – for example, Netflix showing us what we might like to watch based on what we saw last, or Amazon telling us what items are frequently bought together by other users. It’s easy, and convenient, and sometimes we might even buy things that we didn’t know we wanted until we’d been recommended them, or indeed, knew that they even existed.

So how, as a business, do we offer people what they need – to satisfy a want or a necessity -rather than what we want to sell them if we don’t have access to the data that bigger companies have?

Firstly, use the data that you do collect. For example, use Google, Facebook or LinkedIn Analytics if you utilise those platforms. It’s usually clearly presented, and you can use the metrics to personalise your offers over time, say, for location or demographics. By tracking this data for your own audience, you can gain an increased understanding of which groups of people are interested in your product. And if your own audience isn’t large enough, then look at your competitors’ – they’re offering the same or similar products after all, so their audience is the same or similar to yours.

Sometimes, you don’t even need data to personalise your offer. Remember the Coca-Cola can with popular names on them? And resign yourself to being patient. You may hit wall after wall even when you’re targeting your perfect consumer and then one day, inexplicably to you, you hit their window of opportunity, and they buy.

They may become a loyal return customer, or you may never hear from them again. And sometimes, no matter how personalised your offer, they will never buy. Nevertheless, you need a strong customer base before you can further tailor your offers.
Yet the more you know about them, ultimately, the more chance you have. You can’t be too personal.