Want Loyal Customers? Personalize Your Offers
Findings from a recent survey from Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and Forrester Consulting confirmed what many retailers already knew or strongly suspected: the ability to deliver personalized customer experiences across all channels as well as contextual, unique offers is critical to driving repeat purchases and developing brand advocates. Whether they can execute on that mandate is a whole nother story.
Here are some interesting findings from the report, which was conducted online this past April and surveyed 121 digital marketing decision makers:
- Marketers have implemented basic personalization techniques: Eighty-six percent of respondents said they "use personalization based on broad segmentation and simple clustering techniques," and 83 percent said they use personalization based on simple business rules.
- They're spending money on those "basic" techniques: Over half of survey respondents invest 10 percent to 29 percent of their digital budget on personalization technologies, with 52 percent planning to increase their spending on real-time interaction management by at least 5 percent this year.
- Personalization remains a challenge for marketers: Of the challenges digital marketers face today, three of the top four deal with personalization. The top challenge, cited by 48 percent of respondents, is the ability to personalize every single customer interaction with relevant data and offers, followed by difficulty analyzing data from all customer interactions (42 percent) and struggling to apply customer insights to continually improve customer experiences (36 percent).
- Data (or lack thereof) is an inhibitor to making decisions based on customer behavior: While 64 percent of survey respondents collect customer behavior data (e.g., loyalty data) and 53 percent collect interaction data, only 26 percent pull this data on a daily basis. Having access to and making sense of real-time data is the key to breaking free from static personalization.
Tips for Implementing a Personalization Solution
The report concluded with three tips on how retailers can make personalization a higher priority within their businesses:
- Personalize the experience for all site visitors, not just returning customers. Retailers can use known preferences and behaviors or existing customers to build lookalike proxies for targeting prospects. Recognize the broader potential of personalization beyond just a loyalty tool. Use it to get first-time purchases as well.
- Seek access to in-motion data. The static data that customers provide through profiles, preferences and past transactions helps you build out rules-based personalization, but to be truly impactful you must also take into account ongoing interactions and clicks across channels. To achieve this, companies should move social (43 percent collect daily), affinity (38 percent collect daily), response (32 percent collect daily) and interaction data (28 percent collect daily) closer — in time and proximity — to where it's applied.
- Use technology to automate decision-making based on behavior.Understanding the customer journey across digital touchpoints is a top-five challenge for the survey respondents. It's impossible to design business rules to cover every combination of customer interaction and behavior. Combining predictive modeling, decision management and real-time interaction tools helps you anticipate behavior, manage interactions as they happen and deliver real-time personalization in context.
How is your company using personalization? What tactics have been most effective, and what have been your biggest challenges? Let us know your thoughts on this important topic by posting a comment below.