Customers already expect your brand to be present across the different channels and devices they use. Your current challenge is to deliver right-time experiences that satisfy individual customer needs the moment they arise. To stand out, you must meticulously map the customer journey and identify – moments of experience/ truth etc. along the way where you can deliver helpful, personalized offers in near real time that fit a specific context. This requires insight into customer profile information, including preferences, – interaction history, and social media connections, as well as location data.
Personalization hinges on mapping customer purchase paths and creating compelling offers that meet consumers in the moment and invite them to take the next steps on their journey. Here is a four part framework, which describes a set of capabilities and approaches that facilitate personalization: Customer context, personalization engine, code of honor and offer and content execution.
As buyers interact with your brand, they leave behind a rich trail of “digital body language.” You can use these cues to build a unified view of their interests, preferences and social connections, as well as their interactions with your brand and the outcomes of those activities. Companies often face several obstacles in realizing this objective. In some cases, they are simply not capturing the right kinds of data to enable effective personalization. More often, however, demographic and behavioral data is siloed in disparate databases, or companies lack the ability to integrate enterprise customer data with third-party sources. The goal in solving these challenges is to bring relevant data streams together to understand each step of a customer’s purchase journey better, so you can take steps to improve that process incrementally over time.
Another core capability involves the use of a personalization engine, which combines advanced analytics and proprietary algorithms to generate the most attractive, contextualized offers for each customer in real time. E-commerce giants have pioneered the use of predictive analytics and machine learning to curate personalized product recommendations based on a complex set of factors. Companies that have led the way in micro-segmenting, including Amazon and Netflix, are now reaping the benefits. For instance, 35% of sales revenues from Amazon Marketplace can be attributed to its sophisticated recommendation engine.
You need to link the ability to generate compelling offers based on customer context with the technology to automatically deliver those offers across multiple channels, formats, and devices. In particular, application programming interfaces (APIs) are critical to this capability. Delivering the right offer to the right customer at exactly the right time—in a format tailored to that person’s physical or virtual location in the buying journey—requires seamless integration of back-end and presentation-layer systems. In addition to APIs, companies can use marketing automation tools, digital content repositories and service-level agreements with partners to mitigate the complexities and costs of optimizing offers for each channel and device.
To provide content and offers that align with customer expectations for relevance and trust, you need to balance personalization with the inherent risks in managing large amounts of customer data. First and foremost, your organization must be transparent about how it collects, uses, and manages customer data to personalize the shopping experience. Further, you need to give consumers control over what data is used, and go beyond current regulations to ensure the highest data security and privacy standards. By establishing and adhering to a clear set of policies and practices, you can ensure that your personalization efforts are perceived as helpful, not intrusive or inappropriate.
Personalization shouldn’t be the domain of digital channels alone, and companies shouldn’t have to limit themselves to one partner, technology, timeline or approach to get there. Are you searching for a partner with expertise in helping companies across a range of industries build better, more personalized customer journeys to boost sales and foster long-term loyalty.