Five Tips for More Sophisticated Personalization


Consumers are tired of generic marketing messages. They know businesses are tracking them thanks to cookie permission policies and retargeted ads that seem to know the terms they just Googled. They also have grown to expect more direct interaction with brands as a result of social media. Why should they then put up with brand messaging that doesn’t speak directly to their needs—and messaging that don’t address them by name?

They shouldn’t put up with it. Marketers do have the tools for deep personalization today.

The trick is that many brands aren’t using personalization enough right now. Sure, customer names appear in email blasts, and marketers segment based on basic customer data. But there’s a higher level of personalization sophistication out there if only brand would embrace it.

Some are. Savvy brands such as Netflix, Spotify, Cadbury and EasyJet are using advanced personalization techniques to create better messaging and more engaging campaigns that speak directly to their audiences on a 1-to-1 basis.

Your brand can do that, too. Here are five tips for upping the sophistication of your marketing personalization.

1. Invest in Data Management

The first thing you need for more sophisticated personalization is data, and lots of it. The more you know about a customer, the more personalized your messages can be.

That means not only taking advantage of the customer data opportunities from social media, search engine marketing and web site tracking, but also investing in marketing tech that collects and makes sense of it. This will be table stakes in the next few years.

“Invest in a customer data platform, AI and data science to be able to capture data from all touchpoints,” advises Suresh Chaganti, co-founder and chief operating officer for predictive marketing intelligence firm, VectorScientOpens a new window . “Get the insights and recommendations that matter to your business.”

Even if you work for a smaller company, there are low-cost tools and simple technology solutions that can help your brand embrace customer data.

“Don’t let ‘big data’ get in the way of hyper-personalization,” says Jason Grunberg, senior vice president of marketing for the CM Group, parent company of Campaign MonitorOpens a new window , DelivraOpens a new window , SailthruOpens a new window and several other marketing platforms. “There is so much relevant real-time data that can be used without a massive data overhaul.”

2. Let the Customer Journey Guide Application

Personalization is about more than just the right content at the right time. It also can be used to inform the right channels for reaching individual customers, and ways that your marketing can improve the customer experience.

“Evaluate kinks in the customer experience, and figure out where hyper-personalization could help the most,” advises Grunberg. “It might not be the hero image on the home page, but rather personalized SMS push messages in and around important actions. Let the consumer journey unearth the hidden potential of personalization.”

Personalization takes many forms, including the best way to reach a specific customer.

3. Use Personalization for Customer Efficiency

Another way that brands can get more sophisticated with personalization is through using customer data to make a customer’s life just a little bit easier.

“Using hyper-personalization in seemingly small ways can make a big difference to a consumer in a hurry,” says Grunberg.

Save a password, populate a site with the information from an email receipt, or give access to a shopping cart in as many communications as possible, for instance. Things like referencing recent purchases and other engagements in an organic manner also can leverage personalization for assisting customers with a more efficient interaction.

“These time-savers make consumers’ lives better,” he notes.

4. Create Feedback Loops

Data for personalization doesn’t just come from indirect means such as passive data capture. Brands also can build it in during every touch point.

When these feedback loops are tied to personalization automation, messaging starts to really feel interactive and 1-to-1. Even though all interactions are happening programmatically, consistent feedback loops can make interactions feel highly personalized.

“Offer ways to interact on multiple levels,” advises Heidi Bullock, chief marketing officer for customer data management company, TealiumOpens a new window .

5. Personalize Around the Lifecycle

The customer journey doesn’t end with the sale. There’s a lifecycle for each customer, and personalization can help uncover where individual customers are at in that lifecycle. Through passively collected data, or maybe even with more direct feedback loops, brands can pinpoint each customer’s place in the lifecycle and then personalize the experience based on that location.

This is part of the customer journey, of course, but it is a more sophisticated application of the concept that is understood and acted upon through personalization data.

“Recognize the lifecycle of every customer,” says Chaganti. “Personalization is heavily dependent on where the customer is with your brand.”

All of this assumes honest, transparent data collection, of course. In the age of GDPROpens a new window and the California Consumer Privacy ActOpens a new window (CCPA), that’s important.

“Be mindful of the data you are collecting, and be equally transparent with your customer,” Bullock reminds us. “They love to have a more tailored experience, but not at the expense of their privacy.”

If you are transparent about data collection and deliver something in return for that data, though, sophisticated personalization can be a big win for your brand.