In the competitive world of today, the marketing success of any company is governed by its capability to influence the consumers and reach out to them regardless of where they are, through any network, on any kind of device, and preferably, at the right time.
The initial point in this journey is, of course, the data. However, leveraging consumer data to initiate personalized consumer connections is not as straightforward as it seems. It is the most significant challenge for most of the companies today.
Challenges associated with personalization
The challenge associated with personalization is not just restricted to sorting out the relevant consumer data.
In fact, the real problem arises when marketers convert their insights into their emails, social platforms and online communications.
Today, customers are more skeptical about what channel they use and have high anticipations. They expect customized experiences and wish to be treated as entities. If a company fails to deliver personalized services to its consumers, it experiences inadequate connections and limited conversions.
Consumers today are effortlessly hopping between the internet, mobile and in-store experiences. Therefore, they are on the constant lookout for connections that are appropriate, reliable and above all, pertinent for them.
According to a survey conducted by Salesforce, around 76% of customers criticized companies for not understanding their desires. Around 26% reported that the deals which brands send them through email, social media and text messages are not at all pertinent to their interests. Whereas, majority of the companies (around 53% of marketers) believed that they are delivering personalized consumer experiences to online customers.
Moreover, around 30% of consumers considered email the best way to reach them over the internet while the highest fraction of respondent sellers (28%) informed that they intended to use less email. This discrepancy in customer-company dynamics causes companies to lose clients, oversee opportunities and waste numerous valuable resources.
This disconnect between consumers and marketers is a huge unexploited opportunity for companies as according to a McKinsey & Company report, effective personalization can increase profits by up to 15%. In addition, it can upsurge the effectiveness of marketing expenditure considerably up to 30%. All this holds great significance for companies because although marketing is an imaginative and intellectually stimulating field, eventually it is the revenues that matter.
Ways to attain effective 1:1 personalization
The first step to attain personalization is to fill the gap between manifold isolated databases in order to generate a holistic view of the customer and his/her purchasing history.
Assimilating and leveraging all significant and relevant data is crucial for producing operative 1:1 personalization.
So, how can marketers profitably improve their digital marketing manoeuvres while increasing user involvement and pursuing personalization across all networks?
Here are a few ways to do so:
Focus on behavioral data
The most important way to achieve effective personalization is to focus on behavioral data. The first step in this regard is to group together customers that exhibit similar buying behaviors.
For example; all young mothers who prefer a particular brand for their newborn babies or young athletes who prefer a specific sports brand for active wear. This will greatly facilitate companies in targeting a few segments initially to start their journey of effective 1:1 marketing.
Once segments are recognized, it is important to understand their purchase history. This includes customer interaction with the brands in terms of initial consideration till the final purchase and use of the product.
So, how can companies collect such diverse information?
Well, marketers can collect all this data from internal sources, for instance, through the brand website, by keeping track of procurements at the brand outlet, or calls to their customer care reps.
Moreover, significant information can also be assimilated from external sources, for example, potential customer's visits to a rival’s webpage.
Together, these segments and consumer purchase history generate a large number of smaller segments which lay the foundation of 1:1 personalization.
For example, instead of suggesting hair-care products such as conditioners and hair gels to all, target a small section of customers by reminding them that they are running out of shampoo and their favorite brand is on sale for a limited time. This will prove to be more valuable in terms of increased customer engagement.
Let personalization be a bidirectional process
Personalization or 1:1 marketing is a bidirectional process. Consumers send indications about their needs via actions such as procurements, online surfing, and social network posts. Whereas, brands react to their needs with an appropriate and well-timed message called as a trigger.
In order to smoothen the traffic on this two-way street of personalization, companies are required to undertake vigilant advance preparation.
For instance, their marketing team must cultivate an archive of trigger communications harmonized with consumer indications.
These trigger messages could be in the form of images or brand offers and encompass problem-solving coupled with rigorous analytics. For instance, using AI algorithms to recommend related merchandises activated when customers click on a different product before buying it.
According to a McKinsey report, such tailored triggers are more powerful than blast messages as they can familiarize the consumer with different products. Moreover, they can further improve the customer experience by introducing new methods of communication; for example, online shopping vs. in-store experience.
Utilize a single customer engagement platform
Modern consumer engagement platforms today have simplified the way different data sources are brought together to obtain valuable insights. Fortified with background information from real-world communications and activities, companies can now start personalized and appropriate interactions across any network and on any device.
Utilizing a single platform allows marketers to easily manage electronic correspondences, text messages, in-app messages or forceful social advertising with just a few clicks. Furthermore, marketers can organize entirely computerized multi-step consumer promotions that effectively combine email marketing, social media marketing and other digital marketing techniques to accelerate the customer engagement process.
Many marketers today are annoying consumers in the name of personalization.
Personalization should be about gently nudging the consumers toward appropriate products and services rather than bombarding them with company-centric messages through all possible networks.
Personalization is often viewed as an intimidating task that requires billions in technological investments. However, prosperous marketers often initiate their journey from a small scale, producing top-level influence within a few weeks and self-funding the venture soon after. All they do is understand their customer's indicated predilections and transform them into reality.