Personalization will continue to progress in 2019. Are you ready?
As marketers, we’ve been able to implement our strategic vision of personalization with the enablement of technology. We’ve shifted from 1:1, a messaging strategy that’s ‘generically personalized’ with promotional offers to 1:You, a holistic customer experience strategy that’s personalized with the best choice for individuals across all points on interactions. Personalization continues to evolve for the modern marketer, and relevancy is top of mind. And, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.
Marketers have advanced their personalization strategies this year by:
Understanding consumer behaviors in all channels
Personalization is an omnichannel strategy and continues to advance online. Several brands have implemented an online advertising strategy to communicate with consumers, which encourages additional purchases. By leveraging data insights captured within the loyalty program and in the online channel, brands have gained an understanding of their customers’ preferences and purchase behavior and can tailor the online ads accordingly, making it personal to their unique interests. They’ve earned incremental revenue from this strategy while recognizing their customers and delivering relevant offers.
Creating and tailoring content to consumers’ preferences
Logistically, it has been difficult to tailor content towards customer preferences. For email in particular, this has been challenging because marketers theoretically have to create thousands of versions of emails. Through automated content selection, however, it has become possible. Marketers can build a library of content pieces that are tagged with criteria to fit their audiences and combined to create truly personalized emails. A basic example of this is when a retailer displays product recommendations based on items that a subscriber has already viewed, often labeled as “products you may like.” We’ve seen an increase in brands who are curating a number of images that reflect different customer interests and life-stages. This proactive approach to content planning, with technology ready to activate content in real time, allows marketers to attain their personalization goals in a planned and timely manner.
Knowing where the consumer is in their customer journey
Marketing efforts, such as email, has always been a relationship channel. Email has shifted from a batch and blast communication strategy to one that puts the customer at the center of the conversation – as a true relationship channel, which email has always been. Marketers who email too frequently or don’t cultivate the relationships with their subscribers are quickly turned off. Part of the personalization hype for email is centered around understanding where they are in the customer journey (Are they just getting to know you? Are they looking to make a big purchase?) and how they like to be communicated to (Do they want weekly updates? Daily updates? Only notifications when big sales are happening?) Having a planned communication strategy for each phase of the customer journey is essential and yields positive results.
Implementing a flexible marketing technology infrastructure to manage consumer needs
To enable truly personalized messages/communications, marketers and development teams have to code a digital architecture that’s flexible enough to handle variable content. For example, instead of creating an individual email that’s personalized for every single subscriber, the email team should create a template in which different images, products and even copy can be placed. Think of the template as the “bones” of the email.
Leveraging opt-in data to create consumer confidence
Because email is an opt-in channel, there are limitations to how marketers can use subscribers’ data. This is actually a good thing! Marketers can build trust more easily in the email channel. And because email is often driven by preference centers and profiles, marketers can use this available information confidently to deliver more relevant messages. For example, if a subscriber has shared their birthday in your preference center, you can send them a special note on that day. By doing this you demonstrate that you recognize the customer as an individual and further build trust and engage in a true two-way dialogue with him/her.
As we approach 2019, we’ll see brands making personal experiences, not just adding personalization. And email plays an integral role. Consumers expect consistent knowledge, recognition and execution across all interaction channels.