Today’s consumer landscape is getting personal, which is why personalization is becoming an important marketing boost for brands. Between ad-blindness and jargon atrophy, we are all tired of generic campaigns attempting to target everyone. We want to feel special. We want to feel heard. This is why marketers in the digital landscape are headstrong on finding new and exciting ways to create campaigns and digital platforms that serve content specific to an individual’s interests.
The Race Is On. Marketers overwhelmingly agree that personalization is a huge benefit for developing and maintaining customer relationships, and nearly 90 percent recognize that their target audiences expect a personalized experience. Two-thirds of consumers say they will switch to brands that treat them like an individual rather than a data point, a trend that will continue to be driven by younger audiences who value brands that are transparent, authentic, and personal. At the same time, marketers know that their efforts at personalization have not kept up with customer demands. They are not satisfied with their current efforts and have low confidence in their ability to achieve successful personalization.
So what change is happening to boost marketers’ confidence in 2019?
Overwhelming Data. Let’s start with the root of the problem. The primary reason for falling behind in the race to personalize platforms does not come from a lack of creative personalization ideas. 2019’s copywriters and UX designers are poised and ready to unleash catchier content, worthwhile CTA buttons, and engaging storytelling experiences on the relevant user. Instead, the problem lies with the struggle to harness infinite user information, across multiple data platforms, into one cohesive customer profile. The solution to this marketing hurdle lies in finding an easier way to cultivate all of the customer data together, including tracking customer journeys and linking data and insights across the web, mobile, email, and social channels.
On average, marketers within companies store their customer data in at least four different systems, most of which are not shared or have no way to make meaningful connections. Dramatic investments are in store for whatever integration, platform, or process can unite the omnichannel user data and enhance data analysis. With this precise-user understanding at marketers’ fingertips, we enjoy the familiarity of personalized campaigns. With this solution still on the horizon, here are some trends happening in the meantime.
Email Is Still Mail. Let’s face it, our inboxes aren’t overflowing with personal communications from friends and loved ones. That doesn’t mean email marketing has to be impersonal. So how do we get a user to click on that one email subject line when they return from vacation to a mailbox full of ads? Personalize your headline copy, customize imagery by location, gender, or season, and insert dynamic CTAs to make the offer relate to what you know about them. Make it pop!
Introduce a Unique Digital Experience. Transforming your online offer to something more personally tangible is not as easy as it sounds. Take, for example, a recent frustration the Graduate Management Admission Council was having with engaging with prospective MBA students on its microsite, CallingAllOptimists.com. While the site looked nice, it lacked the functional depth to gather useful data from its audiences. However an introduction of a personalized 4-question quiz resonated with the site’s traffic on a more personal level, successfully capturing usable data from audiences to improve future marketing endeavors. Taking the quiz and getting their personal Action Report, the user exits the experience with satisfaction as their need was addressed, and continued their relationship by opting-in to an email-nurture campaign. The quiz seamlessly guided the user to customize messaging and content based on their answers, while simultaneously gathering actionable insight which integrated directly to GMAC’s marketing automation platform. Not only did this redesign improve the campaign’s functionality and awareness – it created a holistic brand ecosystem which drove both the user and the client to their desired goal.
You’re on the Right Landing Page. Let’s say you’ve finally convinced the user to engage with your content and click on the CTA button, you know you have their full attention. Making a personalized first impression when they arrive on the landing page both affirms they are in the right place and encourages them to remain there. In the above CallingAllOptimists case study, the media campaign was designed to match the messaging that worked in the first place to pull double-duty by complementing the interest on the landing page. Driving the target audience to the site, the user is met with a unique welcome message in the hero-zone correlated to the specific ad they engaged with.
Empathetic Marketing. No matter the tactic, the fundamental purpose of personalizing any campaign is to boost engagement by telling the user you understand their need. Communicating your own message by listening to their needs first will always prove to be worth the research, planning, and testing effort. Delighting the modern consumer is going to take some analytics-grit, but doing your marketing homework before investing in any large personalization initiative will pay off in 2019.