What Is Personalized Marketing?
Personalized marketing is the superlative form of targeted marketing that creates messages for individual consumers. It is not exactly a new phenomenon, but with the power of data and revolutionary machine learning tools, brands are now able to deliver tailored shopping experiences to drive engagement and customer loyalty.
Personalization is most often an automated process, using computer software to craft the individual messages, and building customer-centric recommendation engines instead of company-centric selling engines. Personalized marketing not only applies to customized promotions but is also can be applied to the products themselves by using a configuration system that allows customers to choose individual specifications for the products they’re interested in. Businesses are far more likely to convert online visits to sales, by offering personalized products to consumers.
Lack of contextual understanding for consumers’ behavior has previously limited the effectiveness of personalization, but marketers are finally starting to be able to understand it. Everyone from retailers to advertisers, marketers and product designers now understand the benefits that personalized marketing can bring to their bottom line. Businesses have become better at understanding how they can use data to fuel cutting edge innovation in personalization which ultimately improves one-to-one experiences.
Who Implements Personalized Marketing?
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, delivering relevant consumer experiences is no longer a “nice to have” — it is an expectation. Consumers today are gravitating toward brands that feel like they listen to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific wants and needs. That’s where personalized marketing comes in. It is a way for brands to contextualize the messages, offers, and experiences they deliver, according to each individual’s unique profile.
More and more companies are implementing some level of personalization into their marketing campaigns nowadays, with Internet-based companies leading the way. Other companies are leading the way in terms of product personalization. Product personalization has become one of the hottest trends in the retail sector.
Designing a Successful Personalization Strategy
Retailers often focus on tactics that impact the top of the funnel but don’t necessarily turn shoppers into loyal customers. The key is to create moments of impact across the entire customer journey that surprise and delight customers. First and foremost, in order to successfully implement personalization, make sure you have the right technology in place. A personalization strategy will only be as successful as your data set. So it is important to breakdown the silos and starts filling in the data gaps. After proper collection and segmentation of data, one must spread the ‘Personalization Love’ across all channels.
Whether it’s through email marketing, on-site promotions, or external ads through social and search channels, sending timely and relevant offers create stronger brand relationships. Personalizing the post-purchase experience is just as important as making the sale. For instance, when a customer purchases something online from Sephora, she receives a branded delivery tracking page that tells her everything she needs to know about her shipment. She also gets educational content, deals, and recommendations so she remains excited about what she bought.
Lastly, use payment data to personalize offers to abandoned shoppers. This might help win shoppers back. Personalization boils down to creating a seamless, easy buying experience for your consumers. Making a customer feel like one in a million can be the secret ingredient to forging a lasting bond between consumer and brand.
Brands Implementing Personalization
Amazon comes out as the leader when it comes to personalized content. The extent of their targeted messages goes from personalized on-site content to personalized emails and offers. Amazon’s powerful algorithm created personalized homepages, tailored product recommendations based on purchase and search records.
Personalization is a key factor behind the success of Spotify and Netflix, where user libraries evolved with user activity on the app. The users receive personalized recommendations based on content prediction achieved by their algorithms.
Nike’s efforts to engage consumers include their Nike+ loyalty scheme and the SNKRS shopping experience, and their product personalization app NikeID. Dell has also achieved success for years through its customizable products.
A loyalty app was used by Starbucks, whose personalization attempts included a personalized menu. The use of AI let Starbucks send unique, highly personalized messages to customers. The messages were based on customer preferences and app activity.
Cadbury launched a campaign for Australian consumers where customers could download a “Flavor Matcher” app, where a Cadbury flavor was matched to the user based on data including age, interests, and location. The users would then receive a personalized video that was shareable to their Facebook profile.
The world of technology changes rapidly. It’s no different with personalization technology. With each passing day, advances are made that can help marketers better understand their customers and prospects and deliver more relevant experiences to them. Marketers are likely to find the equilibrium between the balancing of personalization and privacy. Collaborations between marketers and data scientists will continue to deepen to innovate customer journeys.
Consumers will no longer tolerate an influx of irrelevant, intrusive digital ads, preferring instead ads tailored to their interests, preferences, and recent behaviors. Successful organizations will no longer rely on AI and machine learning for one-time, one-dimensional projects. Instead, it will always be running behind the scenes – with several in-line analytics models embedded. Over the next 5 years, physical spaces are likely to be digitized. Machine learning is getting much better at reading and reacting to emotional cues. This could help marketers communicate with customers in a way that’s tied to specific moods, offering specifically curated content. Brands from different sectors will use ecosystems to improve customer service and expand the quality and array of solutions offered.
In the age of the hyper-connected consumer, delivering a personalized experience is key. Customer experience already seems to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Personalized service has always been an element of small businesses and local stores, where people know their customers by name. Now database technologies are equipping larger businesses to personalize as well. Personalization will continue to be an important strategy in the years to come. The retail landscape will get even more competitive, and those who can connect with customers on a personal level are the ones who will thrive. Poor personalization can, in turn, lead to lower customer engagement and bad brand experiences.
Musarrat Sarwar Chowdhury