Category : BLOG
Who doesn’t enjoy that feeling of walking into a shop and being recognized, welcomed and treated as an individual?
We appreciate the familiarity when the sommelier remembers our favorite grape or a regular supplier unexpectedly sends a little extra on our birthday.
We all relish the personal touch, and this is no less the case when it comes to the marketing we are subjected to online.
If you were to stop and take stock at the leaps and bounds made in personalization over the past decade or so, you couldn’t fail to be impressed.
Five years ago, the most you could expect was a message that made a website visitor feel like they were being spoken to, with phrases like ‘Glad to have you back’ being used to develop a ‘relationship’.
If the personalization was particularly advanced and could work out who you were based on a sign-in or a browser cookie, then perhaps the message might even have been so forward as to have extended to first name terms: ‘Glad to have you back, Tom’.
Never mind the fact you were Mandy, and just happening to be using Tom’s computer. It was still kind of nifty.
These days with the wealth of implicit and explicit customer data available to marketers, the opportunities afforded by personalization have changed beyond recognition.
Particularly in e-commerce, personalization has been not just limited to welcome messages, but product recommendations: ‘if you liked this product, try these’.
In other industries, brands such as C-Spire are using social mining and tracking individual’s reading habits to make useful personalized content recommendations to keep them engaged onsite for longer.
As we progress towards the exhilarating world of ‘the Internet of Things’, manufacturers and developers are finding ingenious ways to make a customer’s experience of a product or service become more personal.
Whether it is with Nest, the thermostat that learns the behaviors of the homeowner and adjusts the temperature preemptively or Virgin Air’s in-flight customization, including vending machines that recognize you.
60% of customers online prefer it if an online store remembers their contact details and purchase information. A large swathe of e-commerce customers want that store to retain all of that personal information, and they expect to receive a personal service that recognizes them and how they shop.
Fantastic news if you are already talking to your customers in a personalized and relevant way. It is a problem though if you are not.
What marketers are not doing
The vast majority of marketers are fully aware of the benefits of personalization. They know full well that personalizing the website and, by extension, the other brand touchpoints, for customers makes for a better experience, and that all marketing is good marketing if it has the personal touch.
As Econsultancy’s research shows, 74% of marketers know that personalization increases customer engagement. Curiously then, the same study highlighted that only 19% of marketers are actually using personalization.
Perhaps it would do to briefly re-examine three benefits of personalization:
Personalization increases conversions
Personalization demonstrably increases conversions. After it’s joint venture switchover in 2011, Co-operative Travel has seen a 95% increase in visitors and 217% increase in revenue once it started implementing personalization on its website.
Similarly, BMW netted a cool $500,000 in revenue by personalizing MMS messages to 1,200 customers in the US, improving conversions by 30%.
Personalization improves customer retention
It’s one thing to improve conversions, it’s another to increase recurring conversions, advocacy, and retention. Econsultancy’s research showed that post-purchase loyalty programmes which contained personalized offers were one of the most important factors in encouraging repeat purchase.
This is hardly surprising. Customer retention is built on relationship and familiarity, two things that personalization both facilitates and is predicated upon.
Personalization makes your marketing useful
There is an overload of content, products, and services out there. By providing a personalized experience, particularly one that is predictive rather than reactive, brands have a real opportunity to provide much-needed utility in an increasingly noisy world of choices.
The vast majority of marketers are fully aware of the benefits of personalization. They know full well that personalization onsite – and across other brand touchpoints – makes for a better customer experience, and that good marketing can be made better with the personal touch.
Although personalization may seem gimmicky at first, there is no doubt that doing it well helps consumers navigate a noisy world in a relevant, helpful and, ultimately, profitable way.
Andrew Davies is co-founder and Director of idio and a contributor to Econsultancy.
Feel free to contact us and order a video for your business now: