Digital savvy consumers demand personalization across multiple touch points. Companies that fail to engage risk losing consumers or even worse falling behind the competition. Gone are the days of mass marketing, mass messaging, mass distribution of the same message to everyone.
Today’s consumers expect more from the brands they love. According to a 2015 Consumer Report by Deloitte, 1 in 5 consumers were happy for companies to use their personal data to create more personalized products and services. The Report discovered consumers were also willing to pay more for personalization. For consumers, during their weekly visits to a favorite store or coffee shop, receiving a personal greeting or a coupon based on their shopping habits is important. Consumers also expect to be rewarded for their loyalty.
Personalization with scale before now was impossible and continues to have a mythical image reserved for high tech companies. There is also an ongoing misunderstanding about personalization and customization as the two strategies are used interchangeably. However, the two marketing strategies produce different results.
Customization is based on a one-time interaction, whereas personalization is designed to interact with consumers at multiple touch points across all marketing communication channels. Personalization hyper-focuses on the consumer to make them feel as if they are the only shopper in the store.
Achieving personalization at scale has been impossible until now.
Before advanced technologies like big data, analytics and AI, processing hundreds of decisions about consumer engagement and purchase preference was impossible. Mass communication was cost effective and time efficient.
Today CMOs and marketing departments can deploy sophisticated AI-powered personalization campaigns designed to interact with consumers at a granular level. Companies can achieve their goal of communicating with the consumer at the right time, with the right message and with the right product and promotion.
AI accelerates a team’s ability to deploy personalization at scale, making billions of decisions instantly based on internal and external data, and human behavior. For marketing teams, incorporating a Personalization Solution on top of existing data almost overnight increases real-time decision-making capability at a granular level. AI enhances promotional deal offerings that match the consumers’ likes, interests, and purchasing behaviors and enables teams to make smarter decisions.
Three Things You Must Do To Maximize Personalization ROI
Start Small and Beta Test
Instead of building a large platform costing millions of dollars and taking years to implement, select one channel and a subset of consumers. Create beta tests that take only a couple of weeks instead of months to test and prove data, analytics, and algorithms. While running beta tests to receive the best results, always test with different variables and techniques. A key point to remember is that the results are only as good as the data inputs. To maximize the return of a Personalization investment, spend time and money to ensure the input data is clean, relevant, and accurate. If not, the results are meaningless.
Understand the Scope
Incorporating AI-powered personalization at scale is a strategic undertaking and requires time to build the foundation that will enable implementation across channels. When developing your plan, allocate time for data strategy, data infrastructure development, testing of algorithms, integration with content platforms, and activation of these platforms, including experience platforms, along with measurement.
To achieve real scalability, all of these components must work together seamlessly. Personalization is a strategic and cross-functional initiative, involving multiple departments and groups.
Each Business is Different
Your business needs are different from your competitors. Before selecting your AI-solutions partner, determine the Personalization goals the company and your department seek to achieve. Are your goals to increase incremental purchases or drive in-store traffic? Keep in mind, AI optimizes the process for achieving goals; selecting the right goals and KPIs is equally as important as your AI-powered solutions team.
Within the industry, there is miscommunication about which companies provide real AI and which companies provide analytics. AI generates automated results; analytics must be interpreted. To maximize Personalization at scale, finding a solutions partner that can provide the expertise and integrated execution at every touch point and domain is essential. Building a solid foundation first is a critical step for maintaining consumer loyalty, increasing retention rates, and gaining a competitive edge.
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