Personalization has long been a valuable aspect of marketing, particularly in the digital age. It can help marketers resonate with - and target - their audiences more effectively, improve user experience, and ultimately deliver better customer service. New advancements in artificial intelligence and automation have further made it possible to personalize the customer experience in real-time to help marketers drive more sales and grow revenue.
As personalization capabilities develop in sophistication, utilizing such a powerful weapon across different channels becomes more of a necessity. Here’s how prioritizing personalization through the use of marketing intelligence platforms is the best way to approach this challenge.
Personalization shouldn’t be a marketing tactic that’s part of your arsenal. It should be the driving force behind how you interact with each potential customer at every touchpoint.
Especially among the younger generations, there is an expectation of brands to deliver a personalized experience. Consumers won’t pay attention to inbound marketing messages that fail to cater to their unique interests, needs, and preferences. They’re also easily frustrated when their experience with a brand isn’t personalized. Once consumers understand the various ways businesses can serve their unique needs, they expect nothing less than that all the time.
While consumers today are worried about data collection and their privacy, they also greatly appreciate how personalization improves their experience as shoppers. According to Gartner’s Maximize the Impact of Personalization report, here’s how consumers say personalization helps them:
Businesses are smart to do everything they can to meet consumer expectations. The benefits go both ways. Research by McKinsey outlines that personalization can help brands:
There are already numerous basic things marketers can do to personalize their initiatives using their existing systems and data. For example, a clothing store (eCommerce or brick-and-mortar) can utilize a shopper’s past purchase history to send them customized emails featuring clothing with similar styles, colors, and price ranges. They can even create special discount offers for individual customers to encourage them to purchase again.
Even the most elementary personalization strategies are powerful, but the potential goes far beyond this. Through technologies built on automation and artificial intelligence, it’s possible to swiftly respond to consumer behavior with personalization. Rather than segmenting audiences and creating customized marketing content for them after the fact, your strategy can change dynamically. This is a valuable tool for targeting the countless online shoppers who make quick decisions after expressing initial interest.
All marketers today know that personalization is important, though there’s often a struggle to keep up with consumer expectations and competitor strategies. According to a survey conducted by Forbes Insights and Arm Treasure Data, 46% of marketing executives are not where they want to be in terms of delivering personalization. Here’s what respondents say are the top challenges holding them back:
These issues are a massive challenge today because there has been a huge amount of change regarding what kind of data businesses need for personalization and how they employ it. There’s simply too much relevant audience data marketing organizations can use for personalization, namely:
Organic marketing data - Social signals, web traffic, email opens and clicks, mobile app usage, and in-app behavior, etc.
Paid marketing data - Impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement, etc.
Third-party data - Preference information from social media, demographics, interests, and other third-party consumer information.
Offline data - In-store behavior, call center data, location data from mobile devices, intelligence from wearable devices, etc.
If marketers want to get ahead with their personalization strategy as opposed to simply trying to keep up, they need to be ready to harness all this data. It’s no longer enough to focus solely on how consumers interact with your business. You need insights into their full behavioral profile on all channels to truly understand what’s relevant to them.
This is not just so you can market to them better, but also satisfy their expectations as customers. Consumer sentiment is largely against corporations tracking their every move across the web. However, the exception is personalization. People want a customized experience with your brand regardless of what device they’re using. If you can’t deliver this with some amount of immediacy, they’re more than happy to turn to competitors who will.
The key to keeping up with competitor strategies while catering to consumer needs is fully investing in data-driven personalization.
In order to use all relevant audience insights for personalization, having the right data management technologies is critical. All of the data types mentioned above are easily trackable using various tools that are likely already a part of your MarTech stack. However, analyzing different types of audience data in isolation limits its utility for cross-channel personalization.
Using technology on the path to personalization isn’t about monitoring all behavioral metrics across channels and personalizing your strategy for each in isolation. Having a full understanding of the customer journey won’t be very helpful if you’re unable to connect the dots with your messaging.
Marketing intelligence platforms (MIPs) are the solution uniquely positioned to offer a comprehensive perspective of audience behavior across platforms, devices, and channels, all while empowering you with the tools you need to act on these insights.
Marketing intelligence platforms make it possible to unify all your marketing data in one place, whether it be first or third-party data. MIPs integrate with a vast plethora of data systems, including advertising, marketing cloud, and CRM platforms, eCommerce systems, and call center technologies. They also have the ability to read and process any native offline data you want to provide.
MIPs can piece together your marketing puzzle based on behavioral data from various platforms and empower you to better understand cause and effect. Reporting capabilities also offer unique ways to look at and analyze data, such as calculating cost per acquisition based on creative assets. This makes it possible to understand which types of marketing messages resonate the most with audiences so you can maximize their performance.
Having a comprehensive and integrated perspective can help you see which members of your audience first engaged through Google search then go on to convert on a Facebook ad, for example. With new intelligence capabilities from mobile and/or wearable devices, businesses can now understand how customers begin their shopping journey online and eventually convert in-store. It’s not possible to do this using traditional analytics tools and siloed behavioral data.
One of the most beneficial features of marketing intelligence platforms is customizable dashboards for reporting and visualizations. Your audience data is only valuable if relevant teams can access, analyze, and understand it. MIP dashboards offer at-a-glance analytical summaries that internal organizations throughout the business can easily view. This can include reports, visuals of audience composition, cohorts, competitive intelligence, and more.
Dashboards allow decision-makers to gain performance-enhancing insights from personal data derived from demographics, behavior, and consumer information, as well as account and purchase history.
MIPs can reveal cross-channel audience insights businesses can utilize to optimize their marketing investment and nurture leads effectively throughout the customer journey. However, these insights are only worthwhile if you can act on them.
The best MIPs make this possible by integrating with the marketing automation platforms you use to manage your campaigns. Rather than just collecting performance data, communication is two-way, so you can utilize insights to drive optimization decisions. At the highest level, some MIPs have intelligent automation capabilities that can help you create audiences for segmenting, retargeting, look-alike campaigns, etc. As an alternative to just overwhelming your marketing team with personalization opportunities, a MIP can help you effectively execute them across channels.
Consumer data holds all the keys to understanding the needs and preferences of your audience. Failing to utilize these insights to their fullest extent means a lot of potential revenue is left on the table. Comprehensive personalization efforts can help you create more relevant marketing campaigns, improve targeting, optimize customer experience, and cater to audience expectations overall.
Marketing intelligence platforms offer not only a universal view of all relevant consumer interactions but also the tools you need to execute your personalization efforts at scale. There’s simply no other solution out there that overcomes the siloing of insights and efforts when marketers really need to deliver a consistent and customized experience across channels and platforms.