People today are subjected daily to a cacophony of never-ending marketing messages that end up fading into the background rather than grabbing their attention. With the constant churn of often irrelevant, boring and sub-par content, customers are becoming increasingly weary and disengaged. Grabbing the mind-space of your customers is becoming a battle ground, and the nuclear weapon to win it is marketing personalization. In fact, customers have grown to expect experiences to be tailored to them wherever they interact with companies.
According to a recent study by Evergage, marketers almost unanimously agree that personalization advances customer relationships (96%) and has come to be expected by their customers (88%), but only 30% agree that they were satisfied with the level of personalization in their own organizations. Similarly, a recent study by VentureBeat found that 80 percent of marketers are failing to effectively personalize their campaigns.
Clearly there's a pretty substantial disconnect between recognizing the value of personalization and actually implementing it effectively.
Here are some of the top reasons why marketers are still struggling with personalization.
1. You're overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data and complexity
Most content marketers live in a hectic world of tight deadlines, whiplash-inducing turn-around times and a never-ending flow of content to create. Add to that the need to target and customize with individualized content and it's no surprise Demand Metric found that one of the biggest factors in marketers not personalizing content, despite almost unanimous industry agreement as to its importance, is a lack of time and resources.
It seems a great deal of marketers are giving up before they ever start - daunted by the time and effort it requires to create and implement new initiatives.
There are ways around this, however. Don’t abuse personalization – personalize where it makes sense but don’t personalize just for the sake of personalizing. Prioritize your efforts based on the most easily accessible and impactful data, rather than insisting on using less accessible data sources. And, perhaps most importantly, heavily weigh ease of implementation in your vendor selection process.
2. You're using personalization opportunistically rather than as a philosophy
Too much focus remains on one-off, ad-hoc personalization efforts, rather than an ongoing conversation with the customer. A healthy and effective relationship is based on recurrence and consistency rather than random or one-off communications. An engaged customer is more receptive to any specific approach, and every point of contact with the customer – even those that have the potential for creating friction – is an opportunity for wowing your customers.
86% of consumers say that personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions. A dynamic, hyper-targeted ad is always more relevant and beats standard ads on all engagement and conversion metrics. A personalized onboarding experience is a great way to kick off the relationship with a new customer and retention is easily improved through ongoing personalization around key moments such as birthdays and anniversaries, as well as communications around loyalty plans.
It's 50% easier to sell to existing customers than to new prospects, making personalized upsell and cross-sell campaigns a clear opportunity for engagement. Renewals are also natural opportunities for engaging with and checking in on your customers. And customer service is an emerging area of personalization, with the rise of the AI-driven chatbot as a customer service representative replacement.
A somewhat more adventurous area of personalization is social. Here, the data used to personalize the experience is drawn primarily from customers’ social graph rather than personal data held in enterprise systems by the brand. This opens up opportunities to engage customers on a very personal, but marketers should beware of the “creep factor” and make sure that any use of personal data is explicitly approved by the customer using an opt-in. Otherwise, the attempt to get personal may backfire terribly.
Whether attempting to acquire new customers or retain existing ones, any single attempt to engage the customer will benefit from the existence of a relationship. Think about the relationship between company and customer as you would of one between two people. Are you more likely to pick up to the phone when somebody who is a consistent presence in your life and who wished you a happy birthday last month calls or when somebody you haven’t heard from since the last time they needed something from you does? Exactly.
3. You're not engaging with your customers on their terms
It is thought that over 90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual, so unless bold and compelling imagery is a centerpiece of your marketing personalization strategy, don't be surprised if your efforts aren't repaid.
Major companies like Tesco, Cisco and Woolworths are ahead of the curve in understanding the game-changing capabilities of personalized video marketing. Woolworths, for example, this year launched a successful Personalized Video Campaign that saw some pretty spectacular results: 90% of viewers watched their video to completion and 40% of viewers clicked the Call to Action.
Personalized video is a powerful and proven tool that allows marketers to stand out from the crowd and engage with their customers on their terms. The importance of this visual “last mile” cannot be overstated. We have found that up to 75% of the value of a campaign can reside in the last mile communications!
Personalization can be overwhelming and frustrating, but don’t despair: With a focused and systematic approach, you too will be able to harness the indisputable power of personalization and engage with your customers like never before.
If you found this useful and you'd like to learn how to take advantage of the latest trends in a fast-paced and ever-evolving marketing landscape, we invite you to download a copy of our "How to stay ahead of the game in the marketing industry" guide for CMOs