Nearly every part of your marketing strategy will involve some sort of personalization. At least, it should, because personalization is now a customer expectation.
According to Forbes, “83% of consumers expect products to be personalized within moments or hours” of engagement. While the statistic proves there is a strong consumer appetite for personalization, it fails to answer the question: What does good personalization look like?
As you begin to fully embrace personalization as an integral part of your omnichannel marketing strategy, you’ll discover that personalization works best when it’s framed as a conversation with customers, not just a one-way marketing endeavor.
Personalization Has Evolved
Personalization has come a long way. It’s well past customizing salutations with a first name in a batch-and-blast email. It has gone beyond a one-size-fits-all happy birthday mailer sent to customers. Now, it’s about truly connecting with and understanding your customers’ tastes and preferences.
Humans have evolved as social creatures. We’ve developed social-cognitive skills where we thrive by “communicating with others, learning from others, and ‘reading the mind’ of others in complex ways.” To do so feels, well, more human.
As a marketer, the conversation between you (as the brand) and your customers should work the same way. You want to communicate with your customer to learn more about them, so you can better anticipate or relate to their needs. Your personalization efforts should help facilitate this type of conversation.
For example, notice a customer abandoned their purchase? Ask them about it, don’t just nudge them with a droll email. Use your customer engagement platform to send a follow-up message, but with creative content tailored to invite conversation.
Ask if there is anything you and your team can help the customer with, or if there are questions about the product you can answer. For example, an abandoned browse message like: “Need help deciding on this shirt? Talk to one of our stylists,” opens the door for an actual dialogue between you and your customer.
It could be a subtle difference, but an inviting, inquisitive conversational approach will get a much better result than a commanding: “You must complete your purchase!”
Discover the 4 Pillars of Personalization Used by Top Brands to Accelerate Business Outcomes
Get Over Yourself
Imagine you’re at a cocktail party standing with a group of people. You’ve noticed that, for the past twenty minutes, one person has bogarted the whole conversation. They’ve spent the entire time only talking about themselves, and haven’t even let up to take a breath, save for a quick sip from their martini. No checking in with the others in the group, no asking questions — instead, an endless self-promotional monologue.
Not exactly the best way to win the room over, is it?
Self-centeredness is unbecoming. It’s one of the most unflattering social faux-pas you can make. It signals that you don’t care about what other people think or feel (even if that’s not necessarily true).
Yet, this is unfortunately how some brands act. They view their marketing as a one-way communication, where the goal is solely for the customer to get to know the brand. Every channel becomes an outlet for the brand to promote and focus on themselves.
What if, instead, you used every channel to focus on your customer?
Your website, apps, SMS and email messages, and any other channel you use — these should be customer-centric, personalized when and where possible to the unique individual customer.
For example, if all your data is unified into your customer engagement platform (as it should be for better personalization), you can offer customers consistent product recommendations across all channels, based on their purchase or browse history. That way, when engaging with your brand, customers are shown the kind of products they are most interested in.
The more channels you can personalize, the more attentive you can be to your customers. Getting this right could be the difference between being a brand that is “terrible” or “exceptional” at listening to their customers.
Give Voice to Your Customers
If you’re keen to get the word out about your brand, you may want to consider more subtle approaches.
Send customers to product reviews that other customers have provided. Personalize this so customers see reviews for products they have browsed or engaged with. A resounding rave about your product and/or service will sound much better coming from other customers, opposed to coming directly from your brand.
Also, invite customers to leave reviews on your website or app about the latest product they purchased. Customers want to be heard. All the better when they are excited to talk about your product. Personalized follow-up communications that encourage customers to review their latest purchase (rather than immediately driving them to their next purchase) will do wonders for establishing rapport and a deeper relationship.
Looking to Build 1:1 Marketing into Your Digital Strategy? Start with the 4 Pillars of Personalization.
Personalization is customer-centric. This means, as obvious as it might sound, the customer is an integral part of personalization.
Brands that get personalization wrong tend to focus too much on what the brand wants to say to their customers, and what the brand wants to deliver. To create the true 1:1 personalized experiences your customers deserve, you need to be able to facilitate two-way communication between your brand and your customers. Remember: it’s a conversation, not a monologue.
And because personalization is a customer expectation, if you can’t deliver the personalized experience your customers want, you’re not going to achieve the business outcomes your brand needs.
Of course, there is much more that goes into personalization. If your goal is to create more trusted, loyal, and lasting relationships with customers through channel-agnostic, customer-centric marketing, you’ll need to know all four critical components of personalization.
They’re called the 4 Pillars of Personalization, and you can learn more about them here.
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