Personalization is more than just putting your recipients’ first name in the subject line of an email address. Truly personalized customer experiences can set you apart from your competition, and help your business develop fruitful long-term relationships with your audience.
True customer personalization is not easy. But executed correctly, and built on tangible audience intelligence and research, it can help you build and improve brand relevancy, loyalty, and revenue.
The Essence of Customer Personalization
We’re long removed from mass markets in which brands simply produce a one-size-fits-all product and surround it with a compelling marketing message. Going in 2017, personalization is key to success.
Every member of your target audience has unique needs, wants, and preferences. They may fit into overarching themes, but still diverge in significant ways. A single stay-at-home person will look for very different features in a new vehicle than a business professional will need for their daily commute.
Naturally, only personalized product development and messaging can equally address both of these needs. Do it right, and you’ll build a loyal customer base through relevant messaging and product development that brings in consistent revenue.
Building Message and Product Relevancy
The more you know about your audience, the better you can personalize your strategy. Account-based marketing is built on the fact that each potential client needs and deserves a customized promotional and sales strategy optimized for their unique buyer’s journey. True customization embraces the same concept.
Brands are beginning to recognize the importance of placing potential customers at the center of your messaging strategy. Caveat emptor is no longer a popular phrase; in fact, in 2017, it’s a sure way to failure.
Personalization, on the other hand, can accomplish increased relevance for each of your customers. And the results, especially as they relate to creating a more relevant messaging and product strategy, are both tangible and significant.
A 2015 survey among marketers found that personalized marketing plays a significant part in driving brand engagement and conversions. Similarly, 94% of businesses in a 2013 survey considered website personalization to be crucial to their business success.
Especially in e-commerce, but ultimately across industries, personalization is key. A 2015 survey of 500 online shoppers found that 3 out of 4 retail emails are irrelevant to consumers’ current needs and preferences. Simply blasting out a promotional email to your entire contact database, in other words, will not lead to success.
Improving Brand Loyalty
Not surprisingly, personalization after the sale can also make a difference in engaging your customers and increasing brand loyalty. In the end, driving repeat purchases depends on two variables: satisfaction with the product, and a perceived brand relationship. Effective personalization can play a significant part in influencing both.
Personalization and Product Satisfaction
As this Forbes article points out, allowing your audience to customize their products speaks directly to their preference:
A Bain survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers found that while less than 10% have tried customization options, 25% to 30% are interested in doing so. While it is hard to gauge the overall potential of customization, if 25% of online sales of footwear were customized, that would equate to a market of $2 billion per year.
It’s a natural effect. If you allow your audience to customize their product, they’ll be more likely to appreciate the result. Because they take ownership in the final product they purchase, they have a stake in seeing it succeed.
In addition, product customization allows your customers to build products specifically designed for their needs. No brand, especially on a larger scale, can reliably offer customized product options for every single potential customer. Customization at the point of sale, then, adds an extra element of personalization that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.
Personalization and Brand Relationship
Whereas product customization is at the core of customer satisfaction, message personalization is the driving force in building a sustainable relationship between brand and customers. The more effectively you can speak to individual customers, the more likely you will be to gain their appreciation and drive them toward a repeat sale.
Numerous studies have shown that personalized messaging results in an uptick in metrics that range from email to app installs. Again, it’s a common sense conclusion: the more relevant you can make your message, the more likely your audience is to respond to it.
After the sale, of course, the impact of that type of message personalization is magnified. Now, you have a large scale of information about each customer that you can use for your messaging relevancy. The type of product bought can result in follow-ups relevant to that product, while the personal information like a birthday can be used for customer-specific promotions.
The result, naturally, is a relationship between customer and brand that ultimately drives loyalty.
Driving Sustainable Revenue
Providing a more relevant customer experience drives loyalty. Repeat purchases, in turn, increase your sales significantly. In fact, 82% of companies agree that it’s cheaper to convince an existing customer to buy from you again than it is to acquire a new customer.
It’s not a stretch, then, to conclude that customer personalization can be a significant tool in helping you build and improve your revenue in a sustainable way.
A 2015 report by VentureBeat provides evidence for that point. A 2014 article by Adobe confirmed as much: if 9 of 10 consumers state that personalization has an impact on their purchasing decision, it’s no surprise that 8 of 10 brands embracing the concept have seen their revenue rise as a result.
Personalization matters, both for first-time customers and repeat purchases. Shared values build brand relationships, and it’s on the brand to both find out what values you share with each customer, and communicate these values in an effective, sustainable, personalized manner.
How to Build Personalization Through Actionable Analytics
Why should you personalize and customize your marketing and product strategy? Given the strategy’s impact on your messaging relevance, brand loyalty, and revenue, the answer is clear. That leaves one, final question: how can you build an effective customer personalization strategy?
The short answer: effective, actionable analytics. To be successful, personalization requires an effective method to not just collect data about your audience, but organize and prioritize that data in a way that can help you gain actual, valuable insights about your audience’s needs and desires.
It’s no surprise that brands who excel in customer personalization also embrace big data. At the same time, the second step – data analysis – is just as important. Without it, you risk ending up in a swamp full of irrelevant data. In that case, finding the data points that actually allow you to personalize your strategy and speak to your audience is akin to the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Find the insights that make your potential and current customers tick, and you have a starting point. Then, design a messaging strategy around these insights to ensure positive, sustainable customer personalization.
For example, you may find that in your industry, customers express very different needs and desires around a general ‘improve my life’ pain point. The more you can narrow down these needs, the better marketing strategy you can build to ensure that each of these needs is adequately addressed in personal communication with your audience.
Through modern analytics and marketing solutions, you can build this type of personalization on a mass scale while still ensuring enough human touches to encourage sustainable brand relationships. Customer personalization, at its heart, is just that: a relationship with your brand that, when successful, builds relevancy, loyalty, and revenue.