Why Personalization Matters

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.