The rise of personalisation in the digital world

Sponsored by Mastercard

By Nina Hendy

Personalisation is no longer a perk. Customers expect that the businesses they regularly interact with already know what they want. Our favourite brands and digital companies are working hard to cut out the marketing that isn’t relevant and ensure we catch the offers that matter to us.

Personalisation enables a company to tailor messages and interactions based on individual preferences to deliver better experiences. And it’s more important than ever before, with research showing that the pandemic fuelled a dynamic uplift in digital behaviours. During this time, customers switched to a new store, product or buying method, meaning the pressure is on for brands to make sure personalisation is part of their daily remit.

Today’s customers expect that the businesses they regularly interact with will offer a personalised shopping experience.
Today’s customers expect that the businesses they regularly interact with will offer a personalised shopping experience.Credit: Unsplash

From streaming services to social media to e-commerce giants, our favourite brands have mastered personalisation. In fact, most of us expect a degree of personalisation in our online experiences these days. One McKinsey report found that 71 per cent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions, and 76 per cent say they get frustrated when they’re not met with these more personalised online experiences.

Companies that have actively invested in personalisation are also noticing a big impact. Research from Dynamic Yield found that a whopping 98 per cent of organisations say they believe in the value of personalisation, understand its benefits against the larger business strategy, or have made it the core of their customer experience operations.

Not only does that success differentiate them from competitors, but it has also set a new personalisation benchmark across industries. And when done right, it can help them stand out in a cluttered digital marketplace, growing customer engagement, increasing loyalty, and bolstering revenue.

Top of mind

The balance is in ensuring that your company’s approach to personalisation is right – tailoring content, offers, products and services that are of genuine interest to the customer, rather than forcing them to search through sometimes dozens or hundreds of options, says Donald Ong, SVP of data and services in Asia Pacific at Mastercard.

In addition to the McKinsey research that shows customers feel frustrated when demands for personalised experiences aren’t met, a Mastercard-sponsored study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that 44 per cent of businesses increased revenues over the past two years by bolstering their personalisation offerings.

With the rise of e-commerce and the need for superior digital experiences, the business case for personalisation is clear.


“Brands can deliver better experiences using various types of personalisation strategies, from unique messaging, content, and recommendations to optimised pricing for different shoppers (a new customer vs a loyal customer). It’s no surprise that tailoring product offerings and recommendations are the most used tactics as they drive the highest ROI for a business,” Ong says.

Brands are challenged to use customer data effectively to deliver a personalised customer experience.
Brands are challenged to use customer data effectively to deliver a personalised customer experience.Credit: iStock

One of the key challenges faced by businesses when deploying personalisation is how to effectively manage data from disparate sources and routinely use it to better inform the customer experience.

“One solution is to find a technology partner that can collate actual sales data from customers with broader data sets from different digital touchpoints. Doing so offers clear and actionable insights that can be used to inform personalisation strategies,” Ong says.

The goldilocks zone

Personalisation exists on a spectrum, Ong says. “There’s a ‘goldilocks zone’ between the customer feeling like the experience isn’t relevant to them, and feeling like the provider is too in tune with their preferences. Providing the kind of ‘just right’ personalised experiences customers expect is the sweet spot in the middle.”

And it’s crucial that personalised experiences add real value.

“At the end of the day, your data should be used to make your life easier and richer.”

He continues: “The right technology paired with responsible collection of data and compliant, transparent policies help to ensure the lines aren’t crossed.”

One last puzzle piece, and another major challenge, is in ensuring that there’s talent within the marketing teams responsible for bringing personalisation programs to life. Not all companies have the in-house capabilities to spearhead effective programs.

“This is why solutions that provide helpful automation and guidance around the right methodology is necessary. The key is to find a partner that balances ease of use with scalability,” he says.

“Effective personalisation must happen at scale, and the key to achieving scale is a solution that allows for rapid testing, deployment, and analysis across touchpoints and channels. This will allow companies to better understand and respond to customer behaviour in a way that is fluid.”

Investing in personalisation

As consumer demand for personalisation continues to grow, brands must differentiate their approach in order to provide relevant experiences at scale.

There are a growing number of tools out there for companies to be able to buy off the shelf to offer more personalised experiences, but many are legacy suite solutions that end up being difficult to integrate with newer technologies.

In 2022, Mastercard acquired Dynamic Yield – the leading experience operating system (OS) that helps more than 450 brands around the world algorithmically match content, products, and offers to customers across digital channels to increase revenue and drive loyalty. In contrast to static legacy solutions, Experience OS is open, flexible, and technology-agnostic, which makes broader tech integrations seamless across the board.

Just under a year since acquisition, Element launched – a solution that leverages its proprietary prediction models and aggregated, anonymised insights to deliver greater personalisation within Dynamic Yield’s Experience OS – data which isn’t available for use anywhere else in the market.

It’s time to get personal. By providing personalised experiences and loyalty programs to your customers, you can keep them engaged while also benefitting from revenue growth. Learn more about the importance of personalisation in 2023 and beyond at

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