Personalization, also known as customization, involves using technology to accommodate the differences between individuals. Here are some of the avenues that enable personalized customer experience:
Web pages are personalized based on the characteristics (interests, social category, context) of an individual. Personalization implies that the changes are based on implicit data, such as items purchased or pages viewed. The term customization is used instead when the site only uses explicit data such as ratings or preferences.
Predictive personalization is defined as the ability to predict customer behavior, needs or wants, and tailor offers and communications very precisely. Social data is one source that provides predictive analytics, particularly social data that is structured. Predictive personalization is a much more recent means of personalization and can be used well to augment current personalization offerings.
Mobile phones have witnessed an increased emphasis placed on user personalization. Far from the black and white screens and monophonic ringtones of the past, phones now offer interactive wallpapers and MP3 TruTones. Video Graphics Array (VGA) picture quality allows people to change their background with ease without sacrificing quality. All of these services are downloaded through the provider with the goal to make the user feel connected to the phone.
Promotional items (mugs, T-shirts, key chains, balls etc.) are regularly personalized. With the advent of digital printing, personalized calendars that start in any month, birthday cards, cards, e-cards, posters and photo books can also be obtained.
Technology that drives Personalization
While the technology has been around for quite a while, most businesses are still using known CRM database records in their targeted personalization marketing efforts. So while you may be receiving fewer “Dear Sir / Madam” emails, the technology exists to create a digital profile of every user to your website and to deliver improved customer experiences personalized to their unique wants and needs.
More than 70% of the executives Forrester interviewed believed that personalization was of strategic importance to their business.
Most sought-after goals of Personalization
- Increased website traffic
- Better conversions
- Higher revenue per order
Despite this strong desire, only 17% of marketing leaders are going beyond basic transaction data to deliver personalized customer experiences. 80% hope to do better with utilizing personalization capabilities across their digital channels.
86% of Marketers reported challenges in using real-time data to deliver the right content to the right visitor in the right channel at the right time. One example is location-based data which is used by only 13% of those surveyed.
Who can help in this journey?
According to the study, 43% turn to specialist firms in the BI or data space and 35% are turning to Enterprise software companies. But app developers and ad agencies are also places marketers turn to try and solve this problem. While email, call centers and websites are the main channels of focus for marketers presently, they are also looking at mobile sites, apps and social channels in the next 1-2 years.
Most marketing personalization today utilizes stated customer preferences (80%) and purchase history (68%) but in the future, marketers will look to social sentiment (79%), contextual behaviors (77%) and inferred emotional states (53%) in addition to time of day/week (73%) and location information (59%).
The biggest challenges expressed by marketing leaders include content delivery, getting the data right, and navigating the technology required for analyzing the data in real-time.
To meet the needs and expectations of consumers:
- Step up to meet consumers’ personalization expectations.
- Adapt marketing channels to align with consumer behavior.
- Partner with providers, agencies and developers to build the right technology solution.
- Identify your road map. You will need a single customer data repository, real-time profiling.
- Do an inventory of your content by channel and buying stage to map the right content.
- Build support for personalization initiatives throughout the wider enterprise.
According the Aberdeen Group, 75% of consumers want brands to personalize messages and offers. In another study, Janrain & Harris Interactive found that over 70% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content—be it an offer, ad, or promotion—appears that has nothing to do with their interests.
In fact, even in our increasingly privacy-conscious world, according to Monetate and Accenture Interactive, 61% of U.S. consumers think it’s more important to receive relevant offers from companies than to keep their online activity private. Over 50% will share their private data if it will expedite or improve their shopping experience. So, 75% of consumers like personalization and 61% think personalization is more important than privacy. Add that to the fact that according to Hubspot, 69% of those surveyed say dynamic, personalized content is important for their website.
Interactive conversations lead the way
Personalization manages an interactive conversation of optimized content relevant to the customer journey.
Here are a few elements that facilitate this:
- Interactive leverages both responsive and non-responsive customer engagement so as to create an ongoing dialogue (conversation). Interactive enables the learning aspect of personalization and aids in the targeting of the decision management engine.
- Conversation recognizes that personalization is a two-way interaction. Conversations are about listening and responding accordingly. Conversations occur across the entire addressability spectrum and within an integrated environment of channel and media.
- Optimized is the ability to combine many varieties of data types to produce useful models. Optimized models leverage the appropriate content so as to identify key “pivot points.” The key purpose of the pivot points is to provide relevant messages and offers with the highest likelihood of effecting the consumer conversation.
- Relevant represents the part of personalization that speaks directly to the individual. It identifies the person by name. It leverages both explicit and implicit data to present the customer with content and creative that speaks to them directly.
- Journey recognizes that a relationship with a customer should exist beyond a linear funnel; instead, personalization should focus on the development of an ongoing relationship between the company and their consumers. A journey is what drives consumers from a prospect to a brand advocate.