When we look at a modern, data-driven approach to marketing, website personalization is one of the most successful strategy for connecting with customers on a one-to-one basis.
As a way of 'humanizing' digital marketing, personalization demonstrates that your brand cares about a customer’s individual needs, and that you are capable of (and dedicated to) meeting them.
As customers become more aware of their own digital footprint, and how their data is used for personalization, it’s something they have increasingly come to see as an expectation from all businesses they engage with.
In our recent Data Deadlock report, we found that 63% of consumers find personalized marketing recommendations useful, with 83% claiming they hate irrelevant digital marketing.
Yet despite this growing acceptance of personalized strategies, marketers are still not making nearly enough use of them.
The same study found that four in 10 marketers are not using data to achieve full personalization of website and email content. A disheartening 15% do not even believe personalized marketing is possible.
Given the current state of digital marketing, it’s essential for marketers to stop seeing personalization as a 'nice to have' feature, and begin approaching it as an indispensable part of their strategy.
Every time a shopper goes to Amazon and sees recommendations based on their previous purchases, or receives an email from a travel site advertising a promotion tailored to their previous destinations, they become more aware how brands are connecting with them in a way that better caters to their needs.
The more it happens, the fewer excuses others brands have not to do the same, especially considering that nearly one in five customers say that these personalized recommendations are the most influential when it comes time to make a purchase.
Marketers now have to focus more on the experience than the goal, simply because your customers and clients demand control of how they get from point A to point B. To do that, marketers need to understand the customer journey, as well as find new ways to intervene appropriately, at the best times.
Customers no longer see personalization as a next-generation magic trick.
Even older consumers, perceived as less tech savvy than youngsters, know what marketers are up to: one survey found that 91% of 55-64-year-olds had heard of personalization.
Today, consumers see it as the mark of a brand that knows what it’s doing, and knows how to best serve them. They certainly acknowledge its absence: 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized.
This doesn’t mean that marketers should begin implementing thoughtlessly personalized marketing right away.
Brands dedicated to adding personalized marketing to their repertoire must be ready to do so carefully and consciously.
Not least because taking personalization too far – crossing boundaries of privacy or being over familiar – could quickly have your customers running for the hills. Sure, we grudgingly accept that the pair of shoes we looked at last week will follow us around the internet until the end of the month. However, if those same ads started referring to us by name or suggesting shoes for our children, it will trigger a paranoid tech lockdown as we rush to turn off our mobile phone location services, disable cookies and switch on the ad blockers.
The point of personalization is to demonstrate knowledge of and commitment to a specific customer’s needs.
To be as effective as possible, personalization must consider behavioral preferences as much as it does merchandising preferences.
Personalization is a requirement for customer satisfaction. Innovative personalization is an opportunity for customer excitement.
Ultimately, this is the next step in personalized marketing:
Understanding not just what items or deals your customer might want to purchase, but how and when they want to hear about them.
This, of course, requires a rigorous engagement on the part of marketers with the data they have available to them. It involves asking about and investigating things like, how many devices does your customer use to access your platform? Is there a device they use most frequently? How do they prefer to be notified about deals? When do they want to be notified? Do they prefer shopping online or in store?
Applying these sorts of questions to your data allows you to personalize your marketing beyond the basic standards, providing customers with a brand experience that meets their expectations for how a brand should interact with them, and excites them with the promise that your business is pushing new possibilities when it comes to meeting their needs.
They also ensure that level of personalization meets the customer’s privacy standards. While it’s well and good to know what items a given shopper might be interested in seeing, is your marketing really personalized if it doesn’t take into account a customer’s individual comfort level?
A tailored product suggestion isn’t really personalized if it’s still deployed by means of a one-size-fits-all approach.
As a result, the marketer’s job is two-fold:
To provide customers with the fundamentals of personalization as the bedrock, and to find new ways to personalize that customer’s experience, based on careful examination of the values and behaviors that make themselves known through data.
Personalization isn’t the future anymore; it’s the present. It’s the job of creative and canny marketers to figure out how they want to make the next future.
A playbook for creating an engaging and personalized experience for your customers
This informative playbook looks at several areas of real-time marketing and personalization, including:
- Why you need to create a dialogue with your customers to acquire data for real-time tactics
- The benefits of getting personalization right
- How consumers feel about real-time personalization
- How you can use real-time marketing strategies, including triggered messaging, countdown timers, product recommendations and cart recovery