How to create a personalized digital marketing strategy

A few years ago, personalization meant the local greengrocer knew your name or even better kept the best veggies aside for you. In today’s ‘always switched-on’ digital age, personalization gets a bit more complicated. 

We are all part of the “Me Culture” and everything that is digital around us aims to give us a personalized experience. Alexa, Siri and Google Home are as good as people. They deliver relevant personalized content based on how we interact with them. With ample amounts of information at our disposal, as consumers, we look for value in all our transactions. We wish to be remembered, listened to and understood. 

What is personalization?

For a digital marketer, the term personalization means reaching the right people in the right place at the right time. It involves using the data that is at your disposal to create a meaningful experience for your users. This helps you to promote your marketing messages in a better way by leveraging the customers’ data thus reaching customers individually rather than pushing a single message to the masses. Just addressing customers by their names in your emails is not enough. You have to deliver tailored messages to thousands of customers in multiple interactions. Thus, you interact personally with all your customers. In short, it’s not just personalization, but personalization at scale.

Why should personalization at scale matter?

When done correctly, personalization can drive growth, create impact and improve user experience. Personalization plays a vital role across the entire customer lifecycle. Personalization, when fully implemented can bring about significant value – such as 10 to 20 per cent more efficient marketing and savings and a 10 to 30 per cent uplift in revenue and retention (McKinsey). Consumers ask for personalization in all their interactions. They want companies to show them products and services that are specific to their needs. Thus, adopting personalization as a practice can have long term positive effects on customer satisfaction. 

How to get started with personalization?

With advances in technology and analytics marketers are well-equipped to create personal and ‘human’ experiences for consumers. Though the future of personalization looks promising, most marketers feel unequipped to deliver. To win, businesses should build up the necessary skills and respond to the shifts associated with personalization. One of the main things required to put up a strong personalization operating model is commitment. Company leaders should place personalization on their high priority list and encourage their teams to try and fail and succeed. So, how to get started? Read on to find out:

  • Invest in customer data and analytics: Data collection is the first step and it has to be at the heart of your thinking. Once you’ve made personalization a priority, you have to come up with a strategy to build the right foundations and operational capabilities. You need to set up a centralized customer-data platform (CDP) to unite paid and owned data from different channels. However, while striving to achieve a full 360-degree view of the customer, companies should keep in mind that they can find real value by using the data that they already have. You can start with basic information on past behaviour instead of going on a long quest for perfection.  
  • Marketing and IT/Technical teams have to join forces: Data collection requires coding, configuring analytics software, customizing URLs, and testing. Accomplished marketers are struggling today since they have to deal with the technical side of their industry. Hence product management teams should have both marketing and IT personnel to build and refresh the organization’s ‘martech’ (Marketing+Technology) roadmap, develop use cases, track performances. Once personalized experiences start expending, the cybersecurity systems will have to keep up and ‘martech’ engineering would play a vital role in this.
  • Hire advanced talent: Personalizing spaces, moments and ecosystems require modern skill sets. Marketing teams will require ‘analytics translators’ to communicate business insights to stakeholders and produce data-driven outcomes. The need for AI talent will also escalate to drive creative problem-solving. The companies who respond to this need will have a competitive advantage in developing cutting-edge personalization capabilities. 
  • Improve training: While building up the technical talent for personalization, companies should also improve training for people throughout the organization. For eg: Call centre agents, salesforce etc should know how to use the new personalization tools to make data-driven decisions and support customers. Knowledge sharing will be particularly important in improving organizational proficiency.
  • Build agile, cross-functional teams: Personalization at scale will not work in siloed teams. It requires agile, cross-functional teams dedicated to specific customer segments. Such agile teams should be able to respond fast and focus on performance measurement, testing success rates and creative boldness. To stick and scale, all teams within the organization should collaborate and solve problems.
  • Protect customer privacy: In the wake of recent data breach incidents, customers want increased government control on data security. Dealing with customer expectations, data-security lapses and legislative control has become increasingly difficult for marketers. Organizations need to put in extra efforts and make it clear that they take data privacy seriously. Informing customers about how their data will be used, limiting the processing of personal data to what is necessary, implementing security systems are some ways in which organizations can promote data governance. Privacy issues form the crux of the relationship between a customer and a brand. Companies should not consider them as part of incident management.
  • Get started: You have the required data, you have the talent as well as the technology. What next? Now comes the hardest part – getting started. Most companies already have enough data and talent to get value from their personalization efforts. Companies can get their agile teams to focus on specific use cases – preferably the low hanging fruit and apply a test and learn approach. Cross-functional teams can easily gain hands-on experience and expertise using this approach. However, you should not lose sight of your end goal to plan effectively and make better decisions. 
Cross-functional team

Conclusion

As our society grows increasingly narcissistic, consumers demand valuable personalization from the brands that they wish to associate with. Rather than considering personalization strategies as a way of improving ROI, marketers should focus on learning more about customer behaviour and profile, segmenting this information and creating opportunities for better communication. To ensure success, senior leaders of the organization should make personalization a top priority. If the company’s leaders show engagement and enthusiasm to complete the transformation towards personalization, the team members would also be empowered to work towards the common goal. 

Has your organization made the move? Do you have any valuable insights to share? We’d love to hear from you! Save the Robots is the leading digital marketing and web development company in Adelaide providing customized and effective solutions to clients across different industries. Contact us for help on any of your digital endeavours.