Personalization May Not Be Enough To Win In 2023

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Personalization is a popular marketing buzzword for 2023. And in today’s climate of low brand loyalty and tighter budgets, the personal touch with your prospect or customer can make all the difference. But simply using someone’s name in an email or social media response is often too basic a tactic to create significant customer engagement. So how do you build an engaged relationship that builds trust with your customer or prospect? By combining personalization with context (P+C=Engagement), marketers can transcend the current buzzword-driven personalization solutions, build trust, and enhance their understanding of customers and prospects. The question is what data provides this context and what can you do to maximize its actionable insights.

Limits on Personalization

Personalization typically involves using data about a prospect or customer to provide more tailored interactions. These interactions could be for offers, experiences, or services. The intent behind the personalization efforts is to better understand your customers and then eventually be able to anticipate their needs–being ready to present a solution just before they know they need it. These efforts can lead to higher conversion rates and speed up the sales process.

Unfortunately, personalization by itself won’t be enough to win in 2023. Prospects and customers want—and in many cases, expect—to build a more engaged and trusted relationship with your brand. They want relevant interactions to feel that you’re talking to them about their specific problems, rather than simply blasting out cookie-cutter communications. For example, it isn’t enough just to know you are marketing to “Bob,” a male who lives in Honolulu. Having the additional context that “Bob” typically gets breakfast around 8 am by the ocean, most likely after a surfing session, is what makes for true engagement. In other words, demographic, geographic, and behavioral factors can all help you provide better personalization when combined.

Context and the Customer Journey

Overall, context is critical in successful personalization efforts. Contextual data helps marketers and data scientists gain insights into the customer journey, understand prospect and customer preferences and concerns, and deliver personalized experiences that truly resonate with customers, increase engagement, and drive business results. By analyzing data such as online activity history, purchase behavior, demographic information, and past interactions, marketers can then understand what products, services, content, or offers are most relevant to each prospect. This enables them to personalize recommendations, product suggestions, and messaging.

Moreover, with contextual real-time data around a customer’s location, device, time of day, or channel use, marketers can deliver both relevant and timely content. For example, a retail application can send personalized notifications to customers about nearby store promotions based on their location as well as inventory availability, creating an extremely relevant and engaging personalized experience.

Additionally, behavioral triggers help reveal the “why” of customer and prospect behavior. By setting up rules based on specific customer behaviors or actions, marketers can craft personalized messages or offers. For instance, if a customer adds items to their cart but doesn’t complete the purchase, an automated text can be sent to remind them and offer an incentive, increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

Contextual data also helps reveal the most effective channels for personalization. By understanding customer channel preferences, device usage, and engagement patterns, marketers can deliver personalized messages in the channels customers are already using. This ensures that your personalization efforts are both targeted and delivered through the most relevant channels. This approach increases the chances of both engagement and eventual conversion.

An omnichannel approach ensures cross-channel consistency. By sharing contextual data and insights across channels, marketers present their products, solutions, and messages as one brand to their customers and prospects. For example, if a customer starts exploring a particular product online, the same product recommendations can be shown to them on social media platforms or through email campaigns or in store, creating a seamless and consistent personalized experience. This means that customers receive relevant and personalized messages at each stage of their journey, enhancing their overall experience.

Best Practices for Getting Started

In order to recognize the benefits of combining personalization and context, there are foundational principles that are helpful to follow.

The first is to collect and use the data you have available to you. This includes data from various sources such as website activities, purchase and service history, social media engagement, and demographic or industry information. Utilize this data to get a baseline on your customers and prospects. This data can help you gain insights and inform your personalization strategies.

The second step is to segment your prospects and customers based on relevant or executable shared characteristics or behaviors. By grouping customers with similar attributes or interests, you can deliver more targeted and personalized experiences. Segmentation can be based on factors like industry, company size, purchase history, engagement level, or preferences.

The third step is to optimize for omnichannel experiences. Design your personalization efforts to extend across multiple channels and touchpoints. Whether it’s your website, mobile app, email marketing, social media, or offline interactions, plan for consistency in personalization across all channels. This requires integrating data and insights from different sources to provide a seamless and coherent experience.

Finally, keep a growth mindset during this process. You will need to test and iterate throughout the project. Continuously test and refine your personalization strategies based on customer feedback and data analysis. You can use A/B testing to experiment with different personalization approaches and measure their impact.

Personalization alone may not be enough to win business in today’s marketplace. But by combining personalization and context, you can provide highly relevant, timely, and engaging experiences throughout the customer journey, enhancing customer loyalty, building trust, and boosting revenue.

Andy Gremett
As Director of Product Marketing at Treasure Data, bringing together marketing, sales, digital experience, and the voice of the customer is my passion, and creating a valuable customer experience is my North Star when working across marketing and digital teams. During my career, I have driven content and marketing initiatives which have increased market awareness and driven significant increases in leads and account engagement for large enterprises and start-ups.

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