Creative thinking that delivers results

10 Aug

The personalization conundrum – What marketers should know

Category: Digital marketing
Written by: Ian Turner
marketing personalization, personalization, marketing strategy, analytics, big data

Marketing personalization continues to be a focal point for many marketers as we strive to better engage with our customers and deliver them the offers, promotions and messaging they want when they want it. The challenge however continues to be how best to make this happen, and to achieve this at scale. So what can be done to make this more successful? Here are a few suggestions we’ve compiled.

1)    Integration with loyalty programs

One thing that many brands fail to adequately do is to fully integrate their personalization efforts into their loyalty program. Loyalty has long been a repository for invaluable personal information on your customers, and in recent years marketers have provided additional incentives to encourage their customers to share more personal data with the companies they’re regularly interact with.

Companies need to fully tap into their loyalty programs and ensure it is capturing the right information on your customers, and also doing so in a consistent manner.  Brands like Starbucks and Loblaw have done a great job of leveraging their loyalty programs and using them as a conduit to enhancing their personalization efforts. What can your business do to make the most of its loyalty program?

2)    Retailers optimize personalization in-store

Many traditional retailers struggle with the concept of using one of their prime marketing tools – their storefronts – as a means to enhance customer personalization. This is a huge gap and more importantly a lost opportunity for many. Unfortunately for most businesses, the technological investment for personalization in-store (i.e. beacons, interactive terminals, etc.) can be cost-prohibitive.

Where retailers can build a more meaningful personalization play in-store is by using their loyalty programs or CRM to track customer preferences and sales, and to then use this information to create customer personas based on their purchase behaviours and the way they engage and shop with you. Offers and promotions can then be created to drive customers into your stores. A test and learn system can be used to determine how best to utilize this knowledge to drive the desired business results.

3)    Level up via ecommerce and your website

Another way retailers can enhance their personalization efforts is by leveraging their website, and in particular their ecommerce site to deliver more relevant offers and communications to their customers. Tracking client purchases, browsing history and product interest via Wish Lists and Profile details can help brands get a clearer understanding of their customers and how best to communicate with them.

You can then use your ecommerce site to feed your CRM, building deeper and clear personas on your clients. This can help you to develop a more accurate picture of who they are, what they value from you and how you can communicate with them on a more one-to-one basis that will resonate with them. After all, personalization is really all about connecting with your customers on a more meaningful level.

Another great way to embody personalization via your website is by encouraging your customers to provide their comments and reviews here, which can ideally be linked to their customer profiles. This information is known as ‘unstructured data’, which is more subjective in nature than structured data but which delivers highly personalized insights that are difficult to capture elsewhere. These invaluable insights help marketers build even more robust customer personas that aid in the creation of more meaningful and relevant marketing messages and content.

What’s next for marketing personalization

The sky truly is the limit when it comes to marketing personalization. However, there are a number of limitations that are preventing brands from tapping into this phenomenon. As technology evolves, it will continue to close the gap and make marketers more capable of .delivering the highly personal, relevant and customized messages that will benefit all parties.

Brands need to realize that when it comes to personalization, it all starts with having a better understanding of your customers and their needs and wants. This then requires building the capabilities and capacity to somehow elicit, gather and collect this more detailed data, whether it’s through loyalty, CRM or another solution. Just make to ask for their consent prior to collecting this data.

As the cost of personalization tech begins to fall in the coming years due to AI, and as its functionality also improves, marketing personalization will become a more viable option for many more marketers and their businesses. Only then will it be able grab a stronger foothold and play a more meaningful role in the marketing mix across a variety of digital and traditional channels.