The Key to Solving CX’s Greatest Mystery: Personalization


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Personalization is an essential part of the customer journey – most marketers agree – and it’s absolutely critical that brands deliver a true one-to-one experience to customers. However, they might not be achieving these outcomes yet because they are struggling with personalization. In that same report, 84 percent of senior marketers say the potential of CX personalization has not yet been fully realized, and as such, there is still a lot of work to be done in this area.

Real thought and effort need to go into the experience to make it personal, relevant and ultimately irreplaceable to customers. This suggests not just an investment in better experience design, but also in the technology and operational processes that enable that journey. This requires a strategic end-to-end perspective of the customer experience, and a sophisticated understanding of the role marketing technologies play in connecting to business objectives. Below are the best practices for brands to establish bigger-picture design thinking that can elevate brands’ CX to new levels.

Start with an Inside-Out Strategy
While the tools to execute personalization are important, the planning and methodology are at the heart of creating tailored experiences for users. In order for a brand to succeed at personalization, agencies should be able to ensure their clients have full line of sight into every touchpoint of the customer experience while ensuring that everything is optimized, from strategy to design to build. Finding and strategizing who you are and who your customers are comes first – then everything will make sense from there. Many marketers also operate under the false belief that technology solves all problems. This is categorically untrue as technology investments are often wasted if they don’t have a place within the overall marketing strategy.

Elevate Your Technology
That isn’t to say that technology doesn’t have a place in improving CX. Far from it. 63 percent of marketers predict that big data/analytics technology will be critical in enhancing their organization’s CX journey. Many marketers anticipate advanced technology, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to be a huge factor in helping their organization to overcome complex CX challenges. In the near future, technologies like AR and VR could be the baseline in how consumers interact with brands and make purchasing decisions. By making use of new technology, brands can gain deeper insights into their customers and better engage with them. Marketers must remember that even though these new technologies are being significantly hyped up right now, they are still only tools and should not be the end goal. Gimmicks are good for short-term sales gains but don’t have staying power.

The Customer Data Problem
One of the key areas that organizations need help with in terms of improving the experience that they offer to their customers is dealing with customer data. While there is an abundance of different challenges being encountered by organizations as they look to improve CX, around 31 percent of respondents named a lack of real-time customer insights as something holding them back from CX optimization, making it the most frequently experienced CX challenge. Overcoming this customer data problem is imperative when thinking about what tools and platforms will fulfill customers’ personalization demands.

Despite my focus on data, it’s always important to keep aesthetics in mind with any marketing initiative. The right offer delivered through a preferred channel and with engaging content and imagery is the recipe for marketing success within the digital world. To enable design systems to effectively deliver personal experiences, however, brands need to use sound data aggregation and analysis practices.

For CX to be great, brands must learn enough about themselves and what they stand for before they can create a personalized experience. Every touchpoint must be connected, measurable and actionable. Beyond harnessing customer data, brands need to have a strategic roadmap that aligns with their business priorities and make an investment in technologies that can eliminate manual processes, uncover valuable insights and optimize every touchpoint. As companies battle every day to find an edge over their competitors, marketers that are able to generate highly personalized customer experiences will be able to meaningfully differentiate themselves from their competitors and reap the rewards.

Keith LaFerriere
From Creative Director to UX thought leader and back again, Keith has taken on just about every industry since he began creating and exploring in the 'digital' world over 18 years ago. At Verndale, he works across all accounts and is responsible for the creative and user experience practices. Keith also spent time working with various agencies including R/GA for MasterCard Global and Arnold where he was SVP of User Experience across accounts including Ocean Spray, Jack Daniels, Dell, CVS, American Eagle Outfitters and many others.


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