Let's talk about what hyper-personalization really means. 

About a year ago, I was in a big-box pet store when I said to the clerk:

“You know, I’m here once a month or so and basically buy the same thing every time. Can I order this stuff online and have it shipped to me at regular intervals?”

I got a quick “no.”

“Well can I at least order the stuff online?”

“No.”

The company (a major brand in the business) hadn’t yet created an ecommerce offering of any sort. Shame. They used to get $60 to $100 of my business each month. Now they get none.

From that day forward, Chewy.com has been taking care of all my pet food and accessory needs. They consistently deliver a great customer experience and make it easy for me to find what I need, order, re-order, set-up autoship, complete my purchases, return stuff, and whatever else I need.

Here’s why…

Chewy.com believes in personalization. Uh, make that hyper-personalization. 

Hyper-personalized marketing is…

  • The process of a brand speaking directly to one customer
  • The use of behavioral and real-time data to provide more personalized and targeted products, services, and content
  • The way sellers are more effectively and efficiently meeting the customer’s needs with faster and easier interactions
Hyper-personalization is the vehicle to deliver on these expectations.

Image source: RR Donnelley

Customers expect brands to remember and know them as well as understand and anticipate their needs—which makes hyper-personalization the most important advantage a marketer could have for escalating customer engagement, satisfaction and retention.

Hyper-personalization hyper-motivates buying

I buy from Amazon too. A lot. You’ve heard of them? They are clearly the trailblazers of personalization. 

Thanks to Amazon—and an avalanche of ecommerce aces trying to follow suit—it’s no longer near enough to simply provide efficient service. You and I expect more and reward brands that hold our hands in lovingly personalized ways.

  • Companies that utilize personalized marketing are 5X more likely to see an increase in consumer spending (Source)
  • 60% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that provide personalized real-time promotions and offers (Source)
  • 94% of B2B buyers claim to have chosen a vendor because they demonstrate a stronger understanding of their needs (Source)
  • 77% of marketers say dynamic, personalized content across channels is very important (Source)
  • 78% of consumers will take advantage of an offer only if it has been personalized to reflect previous engagement with the brand (Source)
  • Personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50% and increase marketing spend efficiency 10 to 30% (Source)
  • 57% of consumers are now willing to provide personalized information if it’s used for their benefit responsibly (Source)

Is your brand prepared to hyper-personalize?

Few are. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but rather learn what it’s going to take to become a hyper-personalization powerhouse.

Data will be your engine.

You need to analyze data across multiple sources for effective hyper-personalization.

 

A study by Monetate shows how organizations use an array of data sources to personalize communications. But…

You need more than data. Every brand has a ton of data. What you need is a single source of data you can rely on to interact with prospects and customers in real-time.

It’s no secret your prospects and customers interact with your brand through multiple channels at different times in an unpredictable and non-linear way. As such, the multichannel interactions of the connected customer journey produce piles of disconnected data sets.

Though you may have access to heaps of data scattered across systems, it remains difficult to answer key questions, create useful customer profiles, and clearly understand all the key “digital signals.”

You need a new approach to data collection, aggregation across channels, and utilization.

Journey analytics is the key

Customer journey analytics weaves together every customer touchpoint—across multiple channels and over time. By analyzing any number of data points in real-time, it gives marketers and CX professionals a powerful tool to understand and engage with individual customers at a personal level, at scale. 

Say hello to CDP.

Yes, marketing software fans, we have an important new category of software and, of course, a new abbreviation.

Customer data platform is the full name for this relatively new breed of SaaS, which delivers the data-driven marketer’s holy grail in the form of a unified view of the customer.

According to Gartner, CDPs are gaining widespread attention from marketers because they provide “a holistic view of the customer to help execute and optimize personalized journeys.”

If you like fancy martech speak, go ahead and marvel at the type of things you get from a CDP:

  • Data ingestion & storage
  • Data quality & enrichment
  • Identity unification
  • Data segmentation
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Data actioning

Note a CDP is not a CRM or a marketing automation platform (MAP). If we’re to simplify now, a CDP fuels the hyper-personalization machine. It provides marketers a central location for customer data. And I mean, all customer data.

 

How to think about data collection, customer data platforms and campaign execution

Tech consultants Element Solutions simplifies CDPs in this handy graphic.  

Putting hyper-personalization to work

A white paper from Element Solutions does a nice job of explaining a four-step approach to hyper-personalization with a CDP, which I’ll simplify for you now.

  1. Create a consolidated customer view—This is the work of tech pros whose job it is to combine (and cleanse) as much customer data as possible into the platform and develop an ongoing, automated process for keeping it up-to-date (or up-to-the-second).
  2. Mine the data and take action—AI kicks in here. Using machine learning, the CDP prioritizes what content gets delivered, when, and to whom.
  3. Create content for hyper-personalization—The marketing team must create persuasive content and offers and feed them to the system. CDP analytics prioritizes opportunities and tags the content so it can be triggered as needed.
  4. Deliver experiences across multiple channels—The CDP is connected to the marketing stack and becomes the engine of digital media systems that deliver and track experiences. An automated feedback loop perpetually fine-tunes the system. 

Who’s in?

Hyper-personalization is the next (or should we say, the “now”) phase of digital marketing. Context is introduced across all of the important touchpoints in the customer journey. Customers get messages they want and a user-experience they appreciate and therefore purchase more readily.

While the vast majority of digital marketers understand how vital it is to progress down the path to hyper-personalization, many are running into a variety of hurdles.

The major obstacles that companies face while trying to move to 1:1 personalization

Strategic challenges are amongst the array of personalization hurdles, but technical challenges loom largest, according to data presented in a 2017 Personalization Development Study by Monetate. A subsequent graph revealed only 6% had achieved advanced implementation to date.

“Marketers know that gathering and acting on unified customer information isn’t easy,” said David Raab, founder of the Customer Data Platform (CDP) Institute. “In fact, just a few companies have actually achieved complete integration. The rest are battling with technology, strategy, budgets, organizations, staff skills, and other obstacles to success.

What about the customers? 

Raab promises they don’t know or care about these challenges. If you don’t meet their expectations, they simply take their business elsewhere.

Did I mention how much I love Chewy.com? In the early days, they sent me personalized postcards and emailed special offers based on my purchases. Now they want to get to know more about my dog…

 

Personalization example from Chewy.com

 

I just introduced them to Rio.

 

Rio the mini poodle

 

I suspect Rio and I will soon be offered a treat.

Want happier customers?

Transitioning to offering hyper-personalized service is a seriously significant task, but not simple.

Without the right resources, your on-ramp to the hyper-personalization highway is bound to be bumpy. Smoothing the ride requires a carefully planned strategy, the right technology, and collaborating with a partner that knows the terrain.  

A practical first step is to consult with the experts at Three Deep who offer you deep digital expertise and an uncompromising approach to performance marketing.

Let’s start the hyper-personalization conversation now.

 

Read Next: How journey analytics helps you get the truth about your customers

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