Redefining Personalization in Marketing

Redefining Personalization in Marketing

The Gist

  • Marketing maze. Though pioneers touted personalization in marketing as the future, results have been lackluster. Here’s why.
  • Customer caution. Despite advancements, personalization in customer experience is often met with skepticism due to data concerns.
  • AI ascendancy. Leveraging AI in personalization offers a glimmer of hope for overcoming traditional barriers and boosting ROI.

Personalization and hyperpersonalization are as old the dinosaurs. In the same year Jurassic Park arrived in our cinemas (1993), Don Peppers and Martha Rogers predicted in their great book, “The One to One Future,” the end of mass marketing and a shift to personalization in marketing.

Marketers, and enterprise software vendors from data and analytics to voice of customer, have spent the past 20 to 30 years trying to work out how to get it right — with mostly disappointing results. We need an honesty jar here. True personalization is unworkable.

Let’s take a look at personalization in marketing

In reality, there are inherent, and regulatory, limits to what you can achieve. It’s impossible to personalize all the details about a person, to understand their personality, tastes, culture and preferences (even with partly understanding their preferences in their online behavior and some shallow preferences), when you don’t know them.

Next, your customers have become your biggest regulators, and they aren’t impressed with just any personalization in marketing. They are also cautious about sharing their data. Add in the fact some B2B, and certainly B2C companies, are still struggling with data management.

Then, the regulators are becoming more stringent on data privacy, and tech companies are building stronger tracking barriers. This all adds up to one thing. Personalization needs to change. I would argue that we’ve been using the wrong framing. What we should be talking about relevancy.

Related Article: Mastering Personalization in Digital Marketing Strategy

Personalization in Marketing With AI and Generative AI  

In this article, I want to take a step back from the glare and wall of noise about personalization in marketing. I’ll walk you through the practical steps you can take to overcome these challenges and personalize customer experiences in a way that delivers value for the customer and the business.

Customers want personalization everywhere — without being invasive — in Europe and North America, in parts of APAC — and in China it’s a different story. But, what are they really asking for? And how do you deliver it? The answers are rooted in AI-powered customer data platforms (CDPs). CX leaders have moved beyond personalization and account-based marketing. They are investing in personalization technology to hyperpersonalize experiences at scale, enhance their credibility with customers, improve efficiency and reduce waste.

A personalized mug with the letters aI sits on the trunk of an olive tree with fronds in the background, suggesting the importance of personalization in marketing.
Brands investing in personalization technology to hyperpersonalise experiences at scale, enhance their credibility with customers, improve efficiency and reduce waste.hadjanebia on Adobe Stock Photos

Before we look at solutions and tactics, we need a deeper understanding of the problem. So, what is missing from personalization in marketing — why is it unachievable as we’ve known it?

Related Article: 3 Ways Ecommerce Brands Can Use AI for Personalization

To Beyond — but Not Infinity

Four factors make true personalization unworkable:

1. You don’t know me — Marketing teams have been using first names in emails and messaging for years. But using a first name doesn’t mean a person will find any value in the message or content. It also doesn’t mean you’re on first-name terms. You don’t know who that person is on an individual level like a friend or family member does. Generalizations, being clichéd or outdated and superficial messaging are also switching customers off.

Personalization in B2B means leveraging insights on what we know, and what we can predict. It means tailoring your offer, content and messaging to meet the needs of customers — in their role and for the company. Relevancy is your strongest currency (more on this in a moment).

2. Customers are your biggest regulators, and they aren’t impressed with just any personalization — Customers expect businesses to do something with their data insights that’s in their interests. They often know what their data’s worth. And they want something tailored, meaningful and relevant in return for sharing it. Using blunt tools often provokes blunt reactions. Brands who overuse personalization or misuse data risk a customer backlash, consent withdrawal or an exodus to competitors who get it right.

3. Poor data management — By their own admission, almost a third of marketers (27%) believe that their data strategy is the biggest obstacle to personalization, according to Gartner. This is not new, but incomplete, vaulted or siloed data is still diluting the effectiveness of personalization strategies.

4. Regulators are getting more stringent, and tech companies are building stronger tracking barriers — This is self explanatory. We all work in regulatory environments which govern the way we use data and protect customer privacy. Browser developers are creating a cookieless world and changing the way marketers do their job. Teams are having to update their data strategies as cookies and third-party data are erased from the playbook. McKinsey calculates that companies will have to spend 10 to 20% more to generate the same returns if they don’t work out how to grow their access to their first-party data. This is a big challenge, but leaders have found the solution.

A CDP can partly help you overcome these challenges. Platforms unify and analyze all of your first, second and any third-party data (historic and real-time). Users have a single, 360-degree view of customers’ offline and online behaviors, interests, needs and preferences. Some CDPs share real-time unified data with execution systems to deliver the right content to the right customers on the right channel. Some save marketers time and effort on the last mile and have added advanced support for personalization, journey orchestration and much more. There are hundreds of CDPs on the market: enterprise, mid-size and SMEs. Later, we pair some of the use cases with enterprise-grade solutions.

Related Article: AI in Marketing: More Personalization in the Next Decade

How to Get Started

If you are evaluating how to add a CDP into your martech stack to drive your personalization plan, here are some steps leaders can take to get started.

Get Executive Buy-in, Build a Cross-Functional Team and Bring Data to the C-Suite and Leadership Teams

Get senior buy-in and align stakeholders around the new CDP/personalization roadmap. CX leaders often appoint a chief data and analytics Officer (CDAO) who collaborates with their C-suite colleagues to build a cross-functional team to develop and drive the change. CDPs ingest data from across the business. Every department with a stake needs to be involved. An effective personalization strategy is about more than enabling technology and being data-smart. What internal resources, skills and processes are needed to design and implement the plan?

Source link