Personalization is no longer optional. Customers won’t be pleasantly surprised to find their name in a subject line, they expect it plus so much more. Now it’s becoming critical for brands to be able to capture detailed information—the right information—about customers in order to fuel their personalization efforts.
There are certain elements that brands need to identify before diving head-first into individualized marketing efforts. When embarking on your personalization journey you need to make sure you have the right message and determine the correct channel(s) to deliver that message for each person.
If any of these elements are missing in your personalization plan, your efforts will all be for naught. Say, for example, you have the right customer, you know their likes, dislikes, etc. You also know what kind of messages they like to receive. But, you send the perfectly crafted message to them on a platform where they historically haven’t engaged with your brand and the message goes unseen. What a waste!
To help you avoid these personalization snafus, we’ll dive into the three keys of personalization. For even more detail, check out the webinar with even more real-life examples.
Finding the Right Person
Finding the right person is all about how your brand should go about finding the right customer to target. Through zero- and first-party data collection, you can get information about the customer either from the customer themselves or pulled from the customer’s direct online experiences.
Once you have your customers’ individual information and preferences (think: location, age, clothing size, etc.) you can start to segment your customers into groups. Maybe you segment by location, maybe by age. This segmentation may seem like the antithesis of personalization, but because the grouping is based on specific data points collected from each customer, there is still that ever-present level of customization. Plus, you can segment your audience down to each individual customer. It all depends on how you segment.
Lastly, you need to consider your customers’ privacy. Privacy draws the line between “Awesome, you know me!” and “How did you know that about me?” Crossing the boundary of data collection and being creepy instead of helpful will deteriorate your customers’ ability to trust your brand. So, before you send a message, think about it from the customers’ points-of-view. Not all data you collect needs to be utilized in the messages you send.
Establishing the Right Message
Now that you have data (and the ability to collect more) about your customer, it’s time to send them a marketing message. But, how can you be the most impactful? The right message goes beyond putting your customers’ names in the copy (although that helps). It’s about being aware of where the customer is on their buying journey and how you can best help them at each step.
One example is an email that Apple sent to customers who purchased a new Macbook Air. Customers purchased the item and would then get an email about setting up time with a specialist post-purchase. This seems fairly standard. What Apple did, however, was take it to the next level. They were able to incorporate shipping and delivery data into their messaging workflow. So, twenty minutes after the computers were delivered, Apple sent an email to the customer walking them through their purchase.
Apple found the right person—someone who purchased a Macbook Air—and then sent the right message. In this case, the right message is the most helpful message. Apple considered how long it took for someone to open their new computer and timed the email to coincide with when the customer may be searching the web for set-up information. This is how you send the right message.
Sending an email was also brilliant because the customer was likely searching for information, either on their phone or an older computer. The email met the customer where they already were.
Determining the Right Time & Channel
The last element in personalization is the when and where. When will you reach out to your customer and where will you reach out? Selecting the right time and channel is important because it establishes your brand as a trustworthy resource for the customer. You want to be where the customer needs you, when they need you.
In our previous example, Apple not only had the right channel, they had the right time. They knew when customers would need the set-up information and where they would look for it. Adding this element to your personalization efforts is the icing on the cake. Sure, Apple could have sent the email the next day, but by then the customer would have already scoured the web for tutorials and solved their problems on their own.
You may be wondering how you can determine a customer’s channel and time preferences. Pay attention to their engagement behavior. If your data is consolidated in your cross-channel platform, it becomes infinitely easier to identify behavior trends across channels.
Or, ask them! Asking your customers for their preferences and abiding by their selections not only shows the customer you’re listening, but puts them in control.
Personalization Requires Building a Relationship
With the availability of data and access to customers as individuals, personalization is really about building a relationship. Any good relationship requires attentive listening and establishing trust. To do that with your customers you need to ensure you’re collecting the right data, using that data to send helpful, not creepy messages and sending those messages when and where the customer prefers.
To hear more examples and dive a bit deeper into each of the three keys of personalization, watch the webinar.