Since the beginning of time, one thing has remained the same when it comes to consumerism: we naturally gravitate towards personalized products and services. It’s why most of us would rather buy a shirt with a logo or design, verses a generic tee. It’s why some of us would even go so far as to have a shirt custom made if we can’t find what we’re specifically looking for.
Our never-ending quest for personalization is exactly why e-commerce sites like Etsy have experienced such explosive growth in the last decade. Around 1.5 million vendors use Etsy to sell just about any product you can imagine, from custom engraved hammers to personalized pet pillows. As of December 2014, nearly 30 million products were being sold on the site with nearly 20 million people buying.
There’s no denying that businesses today are competing in the age of personalization. And thanks to technologies like cloud, mobile, social and big data, the word “personalized” has taken on an entirely new meaning.
Just consider how marketing strategies have evolved over the last decade to better engage customers. Whereas generic billboards and radio ads once sufficed, today’s CMOs are conducting predictive analytics that feed anticipatory engagement; A/B testing to win better conversion rates; and customer experience targeting to capture customers’ online behaviors at detailed levels. Whereas personalization once meant including a customer’s name in an email, it now means knowing customers so intuitively that you can actually influence their behaviors.
So, what should your personalization strategy look like in order to drive revenue, brand relevancy and retention? We can’t give you an end-all solution, but we can suggest ways to build a go-to strategy that achieves personalization success:
- Manage increasing customer expectations: The bottom line is that nearly one third of customers expect higher levels of personalization when engaging with companies. The tools you use must enable rapid responsiveness among your teams to ensure customer expectations are continually being met. Even more, they must enable management to guide employees as needed to drive real-time decisions that lead to customer-centric outcomes. We can think of a few tools that help in this area.
- Master customer data: This doesn’t mean just collecting data, but knowing how to effectively use it to drive contextual customer experiences organization-wide. There’s so much we could say on this topic, so go ahead and check out this blog to learn all about the importance of data management and how to expertly overcome some of today’s greatest data challenges.
- Link personalization to business outcomes: Research shows that only 28 percent of decision makers are investing in personalization to improve their customers’ experiences. As an initiative proven to yield return (nearly 60 percent of customers say personalization has a notable impact on their spending), more leaders need to correlate personalization efforts with hard business outcomes.
- Personalize at every touchpoint: As we’ve mentioned before, the average contact center processes data captured through at least eight different channels. Be sure you’re leveraging this valuable data to truly personalize every customer interaction at every touchpoint. Better yet, make sure you know which communication channels will best meet your customers’ expectations.
Harnessing the power of personalization is of course easier said than done. These fundamental tips, however, can help get you where you need to be.