While many of us are marketers who understand firsthand the nuances of creating personalized marketing strategies, we are also consumers that expect to be treated as individuals when it comes to the brands with which we do business. Each one of us has our own preferred channel of communication, our favorite method of interacting with a brand, and even preferences for how often we want communication sent to us. Add in the complexity of keeping up with changing preferences that evolve over time, and a digital marketer’s’ job of keeping up with personalized marketing strategies can become very challenging, very quickly.
Personalization capabilities across all industries have become so woven into the way brands do business that consumers now expect a certain level of personalization by default. They want the organizations that they do business with, whether daily or annually, to remember them and treat them accordingly. But marketers often struggle to accomplish this. According to a VentureBeat article, a recent survey taking into account data and responses from 506 marketers and 27 vendors found, “…80% of consumer-facing companies simply don’t understand their customers beyond basic demographics and purchase history.”
Below, we’ll explore several reasons why the increasingly customer-focused marketplace demands this type of personalized marketing approach, and why organizations must catch up to meet expectations:
Trading Data for Personalization
Consumers today are constantly providing personal information to brands with which they do business. They sign in to their favorite apps and online services using their email address, they fill out forms to download whitepapers, they take surveys in order to get a discount on e-Commerce purchases, and they don’t hesitate to ‘check boxes’ to indicate their favorite items or preferences.
But all of that valuable customer data comes at a cost to brands. When a consumer interacts with a brand and supplies sensitive data about who they are, what they do, and what they enjoy, they expect that those organizations will respect the privacy of their actions. And they expect that brand to not only protect their data, but to use it to create incredible, personalized experiences every time they come back.
Expecting Consistency Across All Channels
Today, consumers can interact with a single brand across any number of channels: in-store for retailers or service-oriented companies, online, through email, via social channels, by phone, and even via apps. In fact, a consumer might interact with a given brand across ALL of these channels in a single day.
In past years, consumers may have looked past inconsistencies across a brand’s various channels. They would have expected slight variances among the in-store experience, the app experience, the email communications experience, and so on. But as expectations of brands and organizations of all kinds, no matter the industries they serve, personalization and consistency have become critical components to consumers’ satisfaction.
Wanting More Than a Personalized Email Experience
Segmented and personalized email has been done exceptionally well by many brands for years. Email was one of the first channels to truly adopt segmentation, personalization, and even dynamic content. Consumers have now come to expect that all email they receive is relevant to them, but these expectations have moved far beyond just email.
While some brands are incredibly experimental, trying new methods of personalization such as Bluetooth, advanced profiling algorithms, and even machine learning and AI, most are just starting to work out the fundamentals. However, in order to stay competitive and relevant to consumers, organizations must continue innovating to improve the journey for those that interact with their brand, even if just starting to test personalization strategies that reach beyond email.
Personalized Marketing Is No Longer a “Nice to Have”
Consumers expect that the organizations and brands that they provide so much information and data to begin treating them like unique individuals with evolving preferences. The organizations that invest in true personalized marketing strategies will see a competitive advantage in terms of brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.