Using my first name is not personalization

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We need to tackle the balance between the art and science of personalization.

From the first email blast in 1978 to what I personally receive every day, not much has really changed. What happened to the idea that customer-obsessed companies should offer personalized customer experiences? As experts in personalization, we know there is a lot of opportunity to improve customized interactions beyond simply using a first name.

For the last decade, a few companies have moved from <insert first name> to new dimensions of tracking real-time customer behavior and delivering individualized messaging. We need to tackle the balance between the art and science of personalization.

What are the key differentiators setting elite brands apart? CX research company UserTesting pointed to the following:

  • Seamless omnichannel experiences: Customer-centric brands invest a significant amount of time and resources to understand how their customers experience their brand across touchpoints and channels.
  • Personalized, high-touch experiences: personalized homepage promotions influenced 85% of consumers to buy
  • Connecting with customers through emotional design: 95% of purchasing decisions are made by emotions

This applies to both B2C and B2B sales because, for work or ourselves, we are all consumers making purchasing decisions. And, while you may have an account to target, all the people engaged in the buying process are individuals that expect a personalized consumer-type experience. The goal is to think of these buyers as if they are online grocery shopping and receive product recommendations or an offer to refill their cart with favorite items. That is an experience that brings people back.

So, where do marketers get stuck? Often, it’s not having data that is relevant and insightful, and, paradoxically, this is often because we are drowning in data. What matters is the data that can drive decisions, such as:

  • What do you know about your customers?
  • Does your data help you understand the “why” behind your customer’s behavior?
  • Are you able to deliver personalized experiences that speak to customers on an emotional level?
  • And can you process all this in real-time?

It’s not about collecting data; it’s about combining qualitative data on the “what” and quantitative data on the “why” so that you can understand the entire customer journey.  And that’s why you have seen multiple software companies launch customer-data platforms alongside personalization tools, because both are uniquely required for personalization at scale.

For example, you may run a predictive model that pops up a message because I am likely to cancel my cell phone service but if I am on the site trying to add an Apple Watch to my account then that is an irrelevant offer. We need to consider propensities, along with real-time behavior, to deliver the right client interaction. The art of the experience is so important.

Capgemini has developed a personalization maturity model to identify and support your personalization goals. If you are interested in your site’s personalization score and what opportunities could be ahead, take our short, three-question quiz here and receive a “personalized” result back from our team within a few days.

Good luck with your personalization journey!

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