What personalization means today

Remember when seeing your name in a subject line seemed like a revolutionary advancement in email marketing? Today, personalization — offering customers digital experiences that keep them engaged — requires a far more robust marketing strategy and is essential to remaining competitive in a crowded and increasingly savvy e-commerce marketplace.

Customers today are gravitating toward brands that feel like they listen to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific wants and needs. That’s where personalization comes in. From email marketing to social media and landing pages — it’s a way for brands to contextualize the messages, offers, and experiences they deliver, according to each visitor’s unique profile.

Think of it as an evolution from marketing communications to digital conversations, with data as the starting point. Collecting, analyzing, and effectively using information about consumer demographics, interests, and behaviors will help you create relevant content, and tailored experiences that resonate with your target audience.

Why is personalization important?

Your customers expect it

The benefits of personalization are easiest to grasp when you think of your own experience as a consumer. When you’re on a brand’s website, like Asos, Amazon, or Netflix do you appreciate receiving personalized product recommendations and offers? How about content that is relevant to you or related to a product or service you’ve recently purchased? Like most consumers, maybe you’ve even come to expect it as an integral part of your online experience.

Thanks to advances in big data and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies the digital age has elevated consumer expectations for relevant, contextual, and convenient experiences to unprecedented heights.

Put plainly, consumers have become accustomed to getting what they want, and they’re gravitating toward the brands that recognize them as individuals at every step of the customer journey.

Meeting those expectations lands squarely on the shoulders of marketers, who, with the help of algorithms, must leverage intelligent personalization tactics if they hope to drive customer retention, and create loyal customers who will be coming back for more.

Personalization is good for business
If you’ve ever bought something on impulse (think 2-for-1 candy at the store checkout), you know that not every purchase decision is a rational one — our emotions play a big role, too.

Emotions are personal to us. And that personal connection is something that savvy brands are leveraging via contextual digital marketing to create relevancy, foster customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty, and ultimately boost conversion rates.

Consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that know their name and purchase history, and then deliver relevant communications as a result. If you’re going to do that (which you should), you need an effective way to leverage customer data to deliver content and experiences across all channels that feel timely, in-context, and personalized.

Where (and how) to start personalizing websites

Get up close and personal with your data

Personalization means using audience and data analytics to meet the individual needs of a consumer. Start your marketing efforts by using your data to outline the details of who each of your individual customers is, what their intention is at any particular moment, and where, when, and how they’ve engaged with your brand previously.

Data is the key to knowing them intimately enough to then begin trying to meet their needs, and even predict what they might want at a particular touchpoint going forward.

So, you know you want to master your optimization and personalization strategy for every customer interaction — but how do you actually do it? An experimentation and marketing personalization platform like Sitecore Personalize can help.

The composable, industry-leading solution offers goal-driven A/B testing, decisioning, and context-aware personalization, allowing brands to deliver omnichannel personalization and faster ROI.

Keep it useful, not creepy

Customer expectations carry a lot of weight. People know what they want, and they expect to get it whenever they want and wherever they are. To meet those kinds of demands, marketing teams must create intensely personal, precisely curated communications, relevant product recommendation offers, and user experiences — yet at the same time, do it in a way that their marketing campaigns don’t feel overly invasive.

There are ways to show your audience that you’ve heard their needs and understand just what they’re looking for, without crossing the creep-line. For example, data might show you that a particular customer has a preference for gluten-free products. You can then leverage that insight in a way they might appreciate by personalizing your website content to recommend a recipe for a gluten-free pasta dish.

When reaching into a consumer’s personal space, more isn’t always better. Listen intently to what your customers are saying, pair your personalization efforts with marketing automation, and use appropriate tactics to offer them personalized experiences to match. Learn more about Sitecore Personalize today.