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Implementing Personalization at Scale to Deliver ROI – 4 Key Capabilities

In today’s Engagement Economy, it is imperative for brands to take their personalization efforts to the next level or risk alienating customers with “old school” personalization strategies that continue to prioritize volume rather than value. But implementing advanced personalization at scale requires transformational change which can be risky. And risk demands a well thought out ROI.

A More Advanced Personalization Strategy is Good for Business

A Forrester Research Study states, advanced personalization increases average order values 1.9x, customer retention 1.7x, and customer lifetime value 1.6x.  And a Harvard Business Review Article states that advanced personalization strategies “can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and can lift sales by 10% or more.” With so much to gain, advanced personalization strategies are worth the risk, with tremendous upside for companies that do it right.

Advanced Personalization Goes Beyond Marketing

Advanced personalization demands an organizational shift to a set of objectives focused on a person first, customer centric strategy. This is the strategy that will achieve positive and long term ROI and business results. To be successful, advanced personalization at scale is not limited to marketing, but should include, customer service, sales, and any other function that interacts with the customer. In other words, it demands an integrated approach across all customer touch points in the organization. The intent is to deliver individualized customer engagement through personalized experiences that meet customers’ need. And today, customers are demanding this. In fact, 79% of buyers only consider brands that understand and care about them (Wunderman) and 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they’re being understood (McKinsey).

An Integrated Approach is Necessary

To achieve the results needed to deliver on customer expectations for individualized personalization, an integrated approach is necessary. But, where do you start? Let marketing take the lead to build out the capabilities needed for precise engagement and expand across the organization from there.

Advanced Personalization at Scale Requires 4 Key Capabilities

  1. Develop a Customer First Strategy by looking at the world through your customer lens. Not only their buying behavior but also their interests, preferences and intent. This requires an in depth understanding of each customer, so you can identify any pain points, solve them and provide a personalized experience based on:
    • Simplifying their options to help them reach their goals
    • Bringing relevant facts to them that help them make decisions
    • Providing relevant suggestions based on their needs, not what others have done in the past.
    • Providing support by tapping into their emotions and showing customers you care.

 

  1. Build Data and Analytic Capabilities: Data is the foundation for advanced personalization. You need to be able to:
    • Collect customer data from across your organization, including both internal and external data, e.g. customer service, merchandising, store operations, web, social, devices, apps… and create a customer data repository
    • Create a 360º view for each customer, including: demographics, online behavior, app behavior, email interactions, social media activity and offline channel interactions.
    • Use predictive analytics to give customers what they want and need: simplify their decision making by offering up the right product combinations, advise them with product recommendations, that show you care.

 

  1. Advance your Technology: Create a platform for real time customer engagement by investing in the right technology. Advanced personalization requires advanced customer management capability, a platform to support streaming data collection, inline analytics, and the ability to orchestrate communications and interactions across multiple touch points.

 

  1. Different Ways of Working: The final capability is perhaps the most difficult as it can come with organizational cultural challenges. It is the capability of being able to deliver on advanced personalization as a collaborative venture. While marketers must lead the way, there are many constituents who need to buy in (CIO, CFO, CEO…), many players who need to be willing to play (marketing, merchandising, customer service, store operations, technology team…), and many find they need to bring in outside experts to coach or pitch hit (agency, consultants, data integrators.)

As stated upfront, advanced personalization at scale is worth the work, process, investment, and time it will take for the organization to adjust to a new customer perspective, strategy, and systems. The leaders delivering advanced personalization at scale are achieving ROI. And not moving in this direction will leave your company at risk, alienating customers who expect a hyper-personalized experience

To find out more about how to implement advanced personalization at scale across the organization, download our latest eBook, How to Implement Personalization Across all Customer Touchpoints.

 About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

 

 

Why Personalization Matters (And 5 Wrong and Right Ways to Deliver It)

As marketers, many of us leverage personalization software to deliver digital personalization in our customer communications.  So perhaps we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that we are delivering the types of personalized experiences our customers expect.   The fact is our customers think otherwise. Gartner reports only 1:5 brands deliver a personalized experience that meets customers’ expectations.

Why Does Personalization Matter?

For the customer, there are many reasons why they will pledge allegiance to a brand that delivers personalization. When you break them all down it leads to a customer wanting a brand to know them and their needs and wants, helping them avoid the rabbit hole of choices, often irrelevant to them, that our digital lifestyles present.

Take the travel industry as an example. The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Knowledge Center has this to say: “Customers face an overwhelming number of choices every time they travel. A simple trip from New York to Los Angeles can present some 65,000,000,000 options for airlines and flight times, hotel rooms and rates, ground transportation or car rentals, and, of course, the myriad offers attached to each interaction at every step of the journey. Anyone who can help cut through the clutter and deliver customers a clear, targeted result stands to benefit greatly.”

For brands, the value of personalization is quite simple – revenue. If you want to drive customer acquisition, loyalty, and lifetime value to deliver topline revenue growth, then personalization matters. The Harvard Business Review whitepaper, How Marketers Can Personalize at Scale, which you can download here, for free, outlines the revenue upside, “Personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales by 10% or more.”

But often the realization that we need to deliver a hyper-personalized customer experience, at scale, leads to a scramble rather than a well thought out strategy that accounts for the current technology, tools, and resources we have available to us, the gaps we need to fill, and the advanced technologies we need to deliver personalization at scale.

5 Common Mistakes Brands Make When Implementing Personalization

Here are the most common mistakes brands make when trying to implement a personalized customer experience:

  1. All data – first, second, and third party – not in a centralized repository.
  2. Ad hoc implementation of off-the-shelf personalization software features without understanding what need marketing is solving for customers.
  3. Poor insights with little data analysis or customer journey mapping to drive personalization implementation.
  4. Lack of rigorous process to hypothesize, test and validate personalization ideas.
  5. Lack of campaign orchestration to automate the many additional marketing messages that support personalization, at scale.

5 Right Ways to Deliver Personalization

Delivering personalization starts with a shift in our thinking and brand perspective – a customer centric view needs to be pervasive across the organization, no matter what channel, or service the individual functions are delivering – marketing, customer service, sales… Only then can you move onto implementing a strategy and integrating the right technology, to deliver personalization at scale.

Here are the steps:

  1. Centralize all data.
  2. Analyze to gain the necessary insights to develop a customer journey map.
  3. Develop a pilot experience/journey. Analyze and revise your journey using in-line analytics to improve real-time decisions and apply advanced analytics, such as machine learning, to segment, target, and deliver personalized messages.
  4. Roll out and perform ongoing optimization.
  5. Orchestrate and automate interactions. Add orchestration capability for the agility you need to design seamless workflows across channels and devices. Armed with the ability to present real time next best action recommendations, you can guide your customers through the various phases of their own individualized journey.

If you want to find out more about why personalization matters and how to deliver it, download, for free, Harvard Business Review whitepaper, How Marketers Can Personalize at Scale, here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.