Going Beyond Segmentation.

Marketers are often very good at setting up segmented audiences, however, true personalization goes far beyond that. It calls for thinking bigger than simply dividing audiences into buckets based on demographics or spending habits.

To activate a customer-centric personalization strategy, brands need to look at individualizing their marketing strategy and activating customer data at scale in a way that not only meets customer expectations, but drives revenue and improves workflows — generating a mutually beneficial outcome.

According to McKinsey, 71 percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. It’s therefore no surprise that 76 percent get frustrated when their expectations are not met. A lack of personalization can have a direct impact on revenue, as if consumers don’t like the experience they receive, it’s easier than ever before for them to look elsewhere. Why then is it so challenging for brands to build true 1:1 individualized customer experiences?

There are a number of tech and business-related barriers that stand in the way of moving beyond segmentation and towards orchestrating individualized marketing. For example, siloed data, technology migrations, campaign timeliness, and countless other issues get between marketing teams and the kind of individualization that drives revenue and increases ROI. 

Many brands stick to segmentation because data points live in a complex web of software that makes up a brand’s martech stack. Communicating to each person–not a segment–however, requires all these technologies to connect in a way that few were ever built to do.

Even with all that data living in different silos, sophisticated personalization is still possible. With the right puzzle pieces, data can tell customers the story about themselves that they want to hear. It requires bringing all that disparate data into a single communication, while scaling millions of creative variations so that each person receives their exact story, not an assumption based on their demographic information.

Based on first-hand experience working with some of the most innovative brands on adopting a personalization strategy, below are four solutions to common technical and operational bottlenecks brands can leverage to develop a 1:1 individualized marketing strategy.

Unite digital channels and data.

Consistency and personalization suffer when brands deploy different campaigns, messaging, and strategies across digital channels like email, in-app messaging, on-site or SMS. The most valuable customer experiences exist when all streams of communication support each other, so it’s important to shift from a channel-centric approach to a customer-centric one. Utilizing reusable dynamic campaign modules across channels, to meet customers where they are, can be a great way to create a consistent omni-channel brand experience and streamline data. 

Automate manual processes where possible

When small marketing or multiple, larger teams are involved (developers, IT, design) with doing monotonous manual work–such as creative iterations and coding, to get a single campaign out the door–it’s much harder to focus on customer centricity. Automation is your time-saving friend. Try to automate as many manual processes as possible, for instance the new client onboarding journey, by leveraging one design template that launches thousands of 1:1 variations based on customer data and behavior. 

Bypass complex migrations by deploying content that connects to all relevant data (regardless of source)

Omni-channel personalization can take a back seat when technology migrations or data transfers are required. Businesses often think that they don’t have enough data maturity to develop individualized strategies, however, sophistication usually isn’t a prerequisite for personalization. With the right tech stack, it’s possible to deploy email and mobile content that connects to all relevant data no matter where it lives (be it your website, an API, a CSV file, or beyond).

Create production efficiencies

Campaign planning can take weeks or months, and once a campaign is deployed, it’s almost impossible to make updates or changes to messaging. As a result, marketing and creative teams have limited resources, leaving time to only focus on execution.
By focusing on creating production efficiencies you’re making a strategic decision to broaden your team’s strategic opportunities. One way to address this is by using dynamic as opposed to static campaign modules that update with relevant messaging, even after the campaign is deployed.

To deliver personalized experiences, having the right tech stack is indispensable for marketers to understand and converge what data is accessible, how to use it, and where they can save time by automating manual processes. Ultimately, by being adaptable, customer-centric, and omni-channel, marketers can create the most value for both the consumer and the brand.

Matt Lyon

Matt Lyon is Regional Vice President of Sales, EMEA at Movable Ink, where he oversees client growth and strategy. The world’s most innovative brands rely on Movable Ink, the leading content personalization provider, to accelerate their marketing performance. With over 8 years of experience in Digital Marketing, prior to Movable Ink, Matt Lyon worked for eCommerce hub Qubit, managing Business Development, after working client-side for tech companies like PayPoint, Skrill, and Orange Business Services.

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