Marketers have been buzzing about the notion of one-to-one marketing since Peppers & Rogers muttered the expression, oh, last millennium. Let’s sober up now. Very few companies have done much more than talk about it. 

The conversation’s shifted a bit too; it’s become about personalization, personalized marketing, or in its most advanced form, hyper-personalization, which we talked about before.

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it’s perfect. But I am saying, however promising, it remains a battleground upon which most brands are losing. Witness this data that reveals a good degree of wishy-washiness:

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Dynamic Yield’s 2019 Personalization Maturity Assessment indicates the majority of companies still can’t say they’re prioritizing as a strategic initiative. On the other hand, in America and APAC, 97% of marketers believe personalization is valuable. Additional data from the study claims:

  • 46% deploy basic on-site personalization.
  • 36% treat all users the same across channels.
  • Only 5% have attained a single view of the customer to orchestrate personalization across channels.

There’s a lot to ouch about there. Now, we’ll get into that “single view of the customer” stuff and the various points you need to hit on your path to personalization, but first let’s look at the reasons to pursue personalized marketing.

The benefits of personalization

To the buyer, mass marketing is largely noise. To the marketer, it’s air cover, at best. Blasting universal messages here, there, or even everywhere, is unlikely to help you achieve any significant business goals. 

Consumers expect more. They don’t want companies defining their journeys; they want brands to design experiences that help them create their own.

  • 51% of consumers expect by 2020 companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact (Salesforce).

  • 78% of U.S. Internet users said personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent (One Spot).

  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations (Accenture Interactive, Making It Personal)

Meeting these types of expectations from the modern consumer can result in:

Greater sales

The most obvious benefit of personalization is it increases sales. Recommending relevant products and offers increases conversion rates and improves average order values. Consider these finding from Segment’s 2017 State of Personalization Report:

  • Impulse purchases—49% of customers bought items they did not intend to due to a personalized recommendation.

  • Upsells—49% of U.S. consumers have purchased something more expensive than they planned to because of personalized service.

  • Loyalty—44% of consumers say they will likely become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.

Greater engagement

Personalized marketing makes people feel understood rather than assaulted. It demonstrates your company listens and cares. You can create marketing people love and build trusted relationships with them. Potential customers are far more likely to:

  • Join your mailing list and communities
  • Share their ideas with you
  • Advocate for your brand

Happier customers

Personalized marketing wows buyers. Every step you take to simplify the research and buying process your customers experience not only helps increase conversion rates and engagement, it makes people happy. People are more likely to take action when it’s fast and easy. And customers that find and buy exactly what they need are far less likely to return it.

  • Personalization reduces acquisition costs as much as 50%, lifts revenues by 5-15%, and increases the efficiency of marketing spend by 10-30%. (McKinsey & Company)

Greater ROI

Personalization reduces acquisition costs as much as 50%, lifts revenues by 5-15%, and increases the efficiency of marketing spend by 10-30%. (McKinsey & Company). It increases your return on marketing investment in many ways:

  • Content you recommend will get consumed more.
  • Ads will earn greater CTR. Marketing campaigns without content relevancy have an 83% lower response rate (Constellation Research).
  • Effective personalization systems further automate and accelerate your marketing.

Here’s a look at some of the many benefits of personalized marketing from the fifth edition of Salesforce’s State of the Marketing report.

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Where do you stand on personalization?

Personalization, executed adroitly, has so far been reserved for elite marketers. Unsurprisingly, stories about powerful personalization tend to highlight the accomplishments of brands such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Starbucks. 

In fact, only 9% say personalization is a part of their company’s DNA, per the findings from the Dynamic Yield study cited earlier. The crazy thing is nearly every brand claims to believe in its value. But wanting to achieve it and doing so are two very different things.

Like most things that promise large rewards, achievement requires taking methodical and persistent steps up a steep path.

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A diagram from WebEngage depicts the process in terms of maturity model where the most accomplished brands achieve omnichannel programs and strive to deliver predictive personalization.

The good news is that the path, albeit steep, is not beyond your grasp. There's plenty we can do to smooth out some of the bumps along the personalization road. The first step is to understand how your knowledge of your customer's journey ranks on our maturity scale. Take this quiz to find out how you're doing. From there, we can identify your best next step. Happy trails. 

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