Understanding personalization

A study co-conducted with market research and insights company Ad Perceptions revealed that 73% of agency and brand-side marketers agree that personalization represents the future of digital. But if you spend any time at industry events or reading the digital trades, it seems that there are as many definitions of personalization as there are vendors touting such capabilities. Many of these definitions fall well short of the standards needed to create genuine individual relationships with consumers.

Our “no compromises” definition of personalized marketing codifies the commitment and investment necessary to cultivate those relationships:

PERSONALIZATION: A comprehensive and ongoing one-to-one communication approach that individually calibrates brand messages and media based upon known facts and predictions about the needs, interests and behaviors of each person in a target audience.”

There are seven “must haves” to execute on this approach:

  • Individual User Profiles & Insight
  • Single View of the Customer
  • Genuine Personalized Creative
  • Individualized Message Delivery
  • Omni-Channel Reach and Scale
  • Individualized Media Investment
  • Ongoing 1:1 Relationships

Individual User Profiles & Insight: Personalized marketing is fueled by rich, anonymized user profiles that provide an individual-level understanding of a given consumer. By aggregating all customer data and interactions in a single profile, a brand has the information necessary to understand, reflect, and anticipate consumer needs.

Single View of the Customer: You should be incorporating as much user information into these profiles as possible. The richer the profile, the richer the insights. While there is a tendency to focus strictly on measuring online behavior, most purchases still occur offline. Therefore, you need to incorporate both online and offline transactions and behaviors.

Genuine Personalized Creative: Personalized creative is the hallmark of a true one-to-one marketing solution. By uniquely calibrating the aspects of every message to its intended recipient, you can establish a deep bond with the consumer while adding value based on the needs and habits of that individual. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of creative versions may be necessary to deliver the best and most personalized messages to all of your customers and prospects.

Individualized Message Delivery: After creating a personalized creative message, you need the technology and visibility to deliver that message to the right individual, at the right time, on the right device. While it’s gotten easier to reach millions of users with a blanket message, it’s far more difficult to reach particular individuals with  personalized messages.

Omnichannel Reach: In today’s multi-device world, you need to be able to reach an individual wherever and however they spend their time, meaning you must be able to deliver messages across all of an individual’s various devices.

Individualized Media Investment: Since every individual offers different annual potential revenue value for a business, the amount of money invested to market to each person should adjust to that potential. Leveraging exchange-based media and individual profiles makes this possible.

Ongoing 1:1 Relationships: The true value of personalization is not only in pleasing someone today, but also in anticipating their changing needs and attitudes. Through persistent profiling, we are better able to predict those needs and attitudes and deliver the highest value messages to consumers.

As you can see, personalized marketing is a much more involved concept than many are making it out to be. Make sure that a potential partner’s solutions live up to the true meaning of personalization.