Personalization has evolved beyond simple customer recognition and into the delivery and management of “personal” customer experiences: Experiences that are always-on and flow from channel to channel, and that deliver and manage one-to-one relationships. Personalization is never defined by marketing technology; instead, personalization should be a strategy focused on delivering seamless customer experiences across all channels and throughout the entire journey. To that end, every company should look at several criteria to define a customer’s interaction with its brand.
1. Customer Experience.
Dynamic customer experiences should be at the forefront of personalization, with a focus on continuity and optimized interactions. Your goal should be to create an experience that delights, satisfies, and engages the customer at every stage of the journey — at every manageable moment. This is how you make it personal.
2. Journey Optimization.
Journey development should not focus on mapping, but instead on the optimization and improvement of an experience as the customer moves throughout the entirety of the relationship. From awareness, to consideration, acquisition, and finally, into loyalty, journey optimization should deliver a conversation in real-time.
Personalization is not about being part of a larger audience. Personalization is about interacting and engaging with a company that delivers a one-to-one dialogue – an experience that is personal to that one individual. Segmentation may be where it starts; however, segmentation begins with a one-to-many conversation, which moves to a one-to-one conversational relationship as the customer interacts and engages.
Personalization is about listening, understanding, and positively interacting with the customer. Whether a customer is responsive or non-responsive, your brand should understand the interactions and respond (whether in real-time or next-time) accordingly.
5. Always-On Engagement.
In today’s world of ever-growing communication channels and the consumer expectation of constant availability and engagement, a company must support an automated environment that responds and engages with the customer when, where, and how they want. Being always-on should apply to all channels, as customers define their time and place – not the company, brand or marketing.
6. Copy and Creative.
Personalization is far more than simply calling out the customer by name. It requires modular copy and creative that dynamically changes as the customer moves throughout the entire journey. For your brand to truly deliver “personal” experiences, responsive modular copy and creative are critical to providing a conversational experience. Copy and creative that changes as we engage, learn more, and move them forward.
Personalization does not end at acquisition or purchase. It is only beginning there. The focus is on developing a strong affiliation between the customer and brand with an end goal of cultivating a positive (even advocational) relationship.
8. Audience, Content, and Contextual Data.
The delivery and management of personal experiences, throughout the entire customer journey, requires far more than the traditional demographic and transactional data. It requires all forms of structured and unstructured data including, but not limited to: motivational, product, campaign, creative, interactive, and contextual data. Reviewing and understanding what data is needed and used for the delivery and management of personal experiences is essential.
9. Robust Insights.
From attribution to anomaly analysis, analytics need to look at more than what happened, and more to what is and what will be occurring – what is the next best experience. Insights are institutional in understanding what is and is not working in relation to both personalization and the delivery of personal experiences. The right analytics provide you with the ability to optimize your programs, ensure one-to-one relationships, and even understand the workings of the artificial intelligence running the program.
10. Artificial Intelligence.
Powered by technology and data, AI is the only means by which your brand can manage the delivery of an always-on personal experience within an evolving omni-channel ecosystem. AI is the orchestration of a conversation that ensures that the necessary components are integrated together so that customer interactions are directly related to personal needs, interests, and engagement. AI automates is the only way to manage, deliver, and respond in a real-time manner to your customer in a truly personal manner.
If anything, a personalization program should be recognized as far more than technology, creative, channel, or a line of business. A personalization program is the defining relationship / continued experience that a customer has with your brand. Powered by artificial intelligence enabled by technology and the right data, personalization ensures a cohesive conversation between a brand and consumer.