I am not a number. Case Study: Using dynamic content to increase click-thru rates

The word ‘personalisation’ is a part of every marketer’s lexicon, and it’s constantly drilled into us how important it is, but do we really take any notice? There are lots of pieces of advice that we know are ones to follow, but does that actually translate into action? Eat your 5-a-day… go to the gym… personalise your emails. We know it’s a good idea, we know we should do it, but with everything else we’ve got to focus on, it’s not exactly top of the list. So we make a token effort – we stick the recipient’s first name at the top of the email and think we’ve got personalisation down-pat. But do we?

We’ve all had junk mail in the post – it usually has our name at the top of the letter. Do we feel we’re getting a personalised experience that’s been designed especially for us? Of course not – we’re annoyed at being bothered with a proposition that has nothing to do with us, and the fact that they’ve got our name in their database just makes us feel weird. Why is that?

The uncanny valley

The answer lies (as it often does with marketing practices) in psychology. The concept of the uncanny valley is simple – we like interacting with real people (our colleagues, our friends, our account manager). We’re also happy interacting with machines and computers, even human-like ones, as long as that’s clearly what they are (Siri, for example, or R2D2). However, there is a point at which the artificial experience is NEARLY human, but not quite, that fills us with revulsion and is anything but a positive experience. The reason for this is because it’s an experience that is clearly not human interaction, but is so close to being one that it becomes ‘uncanny’ and unsettling, as shown in the graph below.

Graph of familiarity


The implication for marketers is clear – if you’re going to use personalisation and expect to see your results improve, you need to do it properly. Don’t be a zombie – don’t fake a personalised experience, give a real personalised experience.

Case Study: Brakes

One of our most advanced users of dynamic content for personalisation is Brakes Bros, a supplier of food and groceries for the catering, hospitality and education sectors. Brakes are dedicated to not only personalising their emails, but offering their audience a truly personalised experience with every email they send. Take a look at this extract from one of their designs below:


Brakes dynamic email content

This design goes far beyond the normal tropes of personalisation; it doesn’t just act like it’s personalised for each person by sticking their name at the top and pretending that the message was personally designed for them, it actually was designed for them. They can see products that they’ve purchased in the past or are closely related to what they’ve previously purchased, and receive differentiated offers based on their history as a client. This is just one example of many campaigns which truly value the relationship between Brakes and their customers and strive to treat everyone as a valued individual.

So what is the benefit? Yes, it’s nice for the person receiving it to feel valued, but is it worth doing all that extra work just to give people that feel-good factor? What will you get in return? According to Brakes…

“The success of this new approach and utilisation of the tools provided by CommuniGator is self-evident when looking at the results of our recent campaigns. Prior to implementation of the new template and dynamic content, our campaigns were seeing a typical click rate of between 0.5% and 2%; this has now risen to over 15% on average.”

Fifteen percent. What would you do to bump your average rate up by that much? Hire more staff? Buy a new marketing solution? No need – all CommuniGator customers have exactly the same tools and functionality at their fingertips. All it takes is the knowledge of how to use it.

To start personalising your email content, check out the following help articles:



Plus you can read the Brakes case study in full here.

For more information on how you can use these tools with your campaigns, speak to your account manager today to book an advanced training session: 01483 411 911.

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