As digital marketeers, we notice the shift from pushing general content and non-personalized campaigns to delivering personalized experiences and understanding what our customers want. One-to-one personalization is the approach that will give you competitive advantage right now and, in the future, will be a ‘must’ for all companies dealing with the customers. It is bound up in cross-channel strategy and in an integrated view on the customer.
Let’s dive a bit deeper to understand personalization strategy and how to start planning it.
No matter how big or small your company is, customer-centric marketing approach could be right for you. Personalization strategy is not something that can happen overnight. Like any other business initiatives, it should start with the purpose and the value of a process, its comprehensive definition and potential benefits it could bring, team assignment, KPIs, stakeholders, etc. Strategic perspective means you consider this initiative to be a long-term one. An approach to achieve a quick win is certainly possible, where you can build small simple personalized campaigns to get the results and see performance in a short-term period, but in order to achieve bigger goals and move on a higher level, you should define a clear personalization strategy.
If you are already delivering some personalized experience to your customers, it should be considered in your personalization strategy with consideration of its extension. If there is no one in place, an initial research should be held with a roadmap where you state how your new personalization initiatives will be built and developed based on already existing processes, and also how they are rolled out in your main business and marketing strategy.
Each strategy should have its clear goals and measurement of success. Remember, “you can’t manage if you can’t measure”. Some common goals to achieve are improving the conversion rate, increasing retention, reducing the bounce rate, increasing average order value, etc. Your company might face some specific challenges that personalization initiative could support. You should think of that to get a clear overview of any problematic point that you want to address.
The answers for the questions you prepare about your future personalization strategy will lay in the data you have. Your data could tell you a very impressive and long story about your customers, about your opportunities and pain points. Continue with data analysis to find new areas for improvement. Poor data analysis will bring you to poor personalization insights, so pay high attention to it.
To deliver personalized experience it is essential to have the right technology to support it. There are plenty of personalization platforms and tools on the market to choose from. But, obviously, I will sing my praises to a leader in 1-to-1 personalization – Salesforce Interaction Studio (previously Evergage). This customer data platform (CDP) has joined the Salesforce family in February 2020. Supported by white box machine learning (ML) algorithm (Contextual Bandit), it enables B2C and B2B companies to leverage industry-learning ML to automatically determine and deliver the optimal offer, promotion, image, action or complete experience to individual website visitors, application users and email recipients. In my next series of articles dedicated to personalization, I will uncover further functionalities and campaign building aspects with the new Salesforce Interaction Studio.
Last but not least, a crucial component for planning a personalization strategy is the Team. There should be dedicated roles for selected individuals who will support the strategy on ongoing basis. Main Personalization Team responsibilities will include planning and managing the personalization campaign calendar, design of personalization experiences, its testing and support, etc.
Planning, maintaining and evaluating personalization strategy is a big deal which will bring you big results. Establishing one will create significant competitive advantages for your company. On the other hand, “businesses that fail to provide personalized experiences to their customers will be at a disadvantage. So it’s time to invest in personalization now.”
Story to be continued.
P.S. Inspired by an empowering book ‘One-to-one Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning’ by Karl Wirth and Katie Sweet, Evergage, Inc.