Personalisation: the most important marketing trend of the century?

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There was no shortage of marketing jargon doing the rounds in 2019 and from the pile, one word rose to the top, according to the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Key points

  • Since 2014, the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has surveyed its members to identify the marketing word of the year. In 2019, the winner was “personalisation
  • An ANA report claims more than half of consumers expect companies to know their buying habits and anticipate their needs, while 50 per cent of marketers plan to increase investment in personalisation technology
  • For marketers and consumers alike, personalisation is a game-changer with some claiming it may be the most important marketing trend of the century


My Takeout

Personalisation when done poorly can be creepier than a clown in the forest late at night, but that shouldn’t mean we stay away entirely. Because when it’s done well, it has the power to enhance the experience for the consumer and deliver massive rewards for brands. I’d argue it deserves more credit than to be labelled as jargon.

This is not about one medium or one tactic versus another. It’s not a case of old broad reach media versus newer more finely targeted approaches. It’s about getting the perfect mix of the two to guide your customer through the purchase funnel. By planning a combination of long-term brand-building, short-term tactical offers and using the data you have to make it relevant to the consumer, you’ll have a far more potent offering than simply running a TV ad campaign and calling it a day.

If you’re thinking that sounds like a great approach for the future, take a look around. Many companies are already on the personalisation journey finding ways to speak to their customers one-to-one through website experiences, app usage, or even ads on Broadcast Video on Demand (BVOD).

The most commonly cited examples come from supermarket giants Coles and Woolies. The personalised special offers these two brands offer their customers are a complete game-changer.

It’s big news but is the approach the most significant marketing trend of the century? Let’s check back in a few years time and if a piece of AI hasn’t become CMO, we can make the call then.

Ben Willee

Over a 20-year career Ben has worked in some of the biggest media agencies in the UK and Australia. As General Manager and Media Director, Ben optimises our fully integrated, no silo approach.