From product recommendations to curated Netflix queues, we expect brands to not only know us, but to customize experiences for us.
Think about it: Spotify loyalists love personalized playlists based on their preference for every 90s boy band or indie folk. Netflix bingers don’t need to dive into a deep catalog to figure out what to watch next; instead, they’re given a list of recommendations. Amazon tells customers when a product is on sale, and provides product and price comparisons so customers feel confident in their final purchase.
It goes both ways, too.
For example: I’m looking for a new apartment. One apartment search site emails me dozens of recommendations per day, but they’re often out of my price range or do not include my preferred features. Another site is worse: it asks for my city and price range every time I log in.
The experience is impersonal and annoying, and I have no reason to use one site over the other.
To live up to customer expectations, personalization is no longer optional.
The same goes for email marketing. In a survey, the DMA found that half of email revenue was driven by segmented and targeted emails. Plus, 79% marketers with a documented personalization strategy exceeded their revenue goals, according to Monetate.
Here are 3 ways personalization benefits brands and their customers.
Boost brand loyalty
Brands that know their customers, win and keep their customers. That’s because personalized communications — such as targeted emails — empathize with customer needs and smooth the buyer’s journey. They treat the customer as a person, not just a name on a list.
Think about the big three brands discussed earlier: Amazon, Netflix and Spotify. They win customers by making it easy to click purchase, binge shows for hours or try out a new artist. They’ve given customers what they want, what they expect and what they didn’t even know they needed.
“Great personalization helps drives a virtuous cycle of loyalty in which the customer is engaged, provides data that improves the personalization further, which increases customer engagement, and so on,” Jeff Rosenfeld, vice president of customer insight and analytics for The Neiman Marcus Group, told CMO. “As loyalty improves, revenue goes up. Generally speaking, marketing to loyal customers is more profitable than spending elsewhere.”
Create better customer service
Personalization isn’t just about marketing and sales — it affects customer service, as well.
This means using customer data to provide helpful content and smooth any roadblocks in the buying cycle across channels.
Home cycling brand Peloton leverages its huge customer database to determine the length of new fitness videos to create. It also recommends rides through personalized emails based on users’ tastes, and introduces newly available rides to users.
Retailers could send emails with the closest brick-and-mortar store to their customers, or ask for feedback post purchase.
Align marketing channels
Personalization isn’t just about behavioral data. It’s about knowing your customer wherever they are, so they can be met with the right message, at the right place, at the right time.
But data is often siloed or incomplete, leading to choppy, disperate marketing and customer service. Customers are sent offers for products they just purchased in-stores. A female prospect who just created an account is sent an offer for men’s clothing. Marketing opportunities are missed on social, mobile or display.
That’s why it’s essential to gather complete data and match customer identities across channels. Gathering enough accurate data is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face today, according to Experian, but thanks to strong data providers, robust CRMs and powerful AI, it’s possible.
Personalization is essential for creating a better brand experience and boosting the bottom line. Executing a strong personalization strategy can seem intimidating, but with robust and complete data assets — including first- and third-party data — brands of all sizes can create delightful customer experiences and boost ROI.