Personalization is a major focus area for digital marketers with mobile, cross channel marketing and marketing automation. According to a recent study, one-third of marketers said that personalization will be a key component in the future.
Customers have a lot of information on products with less time to focus and decide. So, it makes sense for marketers to deliver a marketing experience that’s personalized and relevant. This means personalized messages, offers, products, communication and more.
We have already written about the importance of personalization, not just in generic marketing, but also in cross channel marketing. Cross channel marketing is closely tied to personalization because of the changes in the way users are doing product research today (read on for more on this).
Now, for the ‘must have’s’…
The way you have segmented your target audience plays a vital role in formulating your personalization strategy.
Your target audience comprises of several different aspects, each of which plays a role in determining marketing effectiveness. Identifying each of these aspects and tailoring them to suit your audience is at the heart of personalized marketing. The more granular your understanding and the more personalized your approach, the more effective your marketing will be.
For example, your customers may come from different regions – the US, Canada, France etc. and personalizing your marketing to cater to different languages and cultures can increase ROI. From within the same market, different individuals may have different information needs. Knowing what each individual in your audience wants enables successful personalization.
Data is central to understanding an audience. A robust and comprehensive database of prospects/ customers is extremely important while preparing a personalization strategy. Marketers recognize this – recent eMarketer research shows that marketers are increasing their efforts to gather customer data. Marketers also are broadening the boundaries of their data collection. Working without data makes marketing ineffective.
Every bit of data can help fine tune personalization further. So, it’s important to meticulously gather information on a variety of aspects such as:
- Demographics and zip codes
- Loyalty membership
- Device/s used
- Referral sources such as websites, social network sites, ads, email campaigns etc.
- Keyword referral data
- Site search data
- Past browsing and purchase history
- Email campaign responses
For example, using techniques like geo-targeting, you will be able to target prospects with offers personalized to their location. Add tracking codes on your website that allow you to follow prospect trails through your website and gather information about prospects’ likes and habits.
Prospects have a plethora of channels at their disposal today and they use all of them for product research. Tracking prospects can help you follow the digital footprints they leave through channels they use. In the hands of a savvy marketer, these footprints are like gold nuggets!
If you analyze your business’s data, you will spot many opportunities for personalization. The more relevant data you get, the greater the likelihood of fine tuning your personalization.
The customer journey offers many important cues for personalization especially in terms of personalizing information and offers.
You want the customer journey to be smooth and quick but that doesn’t happen often. Understanding who gets stuck and where and for what reasons – this forms the basis for developing an appropriate personalization strategy. You may need to repurpose your content or develop fresh content to help the prospect get over his information road blocks or even reconfigure your offers to make him get over his inertia.
Before implementing your personalization strategy, you need to check if your technological capabilities match your strategy requirements. If you aim to collect prospect/customer data such as those mentioned above, you need to ensure that your website and marketing campaigns use technology and tools that enable collection and unification of such data. Infrastructure normally follows ambition. So, once you know your destination, you can acquire the appropriate technologies in a phased manner corresponding with your marketing readiness.
Keep a close eye on the cost of building and implementing your personalization strategy. Some tools and technologies required can cost a lot. Build a basic personalization strategy that fits your budget and then make changes or retain the same depending on the availability of funds. As mentioned in the earlier point – set a high ambition in terms of where you want to reach in personalization, but get there based on what’s possible.
Product Suite/Service Offerings
Your product/service spread determines your brand’s relevance to your audience. There will be people with diverse tastes and preferences in your target audience. While it’s not possible to have products for each one of them, the more relevant products you have, the more relevant you will be to individuals in your audience. This helps a lot of customers migrate across products as their requirements evolve or prospects to try out an entry level model. It’s this relevance that can lead to higher effectiveness.
Personalization is an integrated process of constant fine tuning. You can keep adding dimensions and improve on what you are doing, but these 6 pointers should set you firmly down the road to success.
Are there any other important pointers to consider while putting together a personalization strategy? Let us know through your comments below!