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Winning The Personalization Race: Three Critical Areas

Raviteja Dodda (Ravi) is the cofounder and CEO of MoEngage, an insights-led customer engagement platform.

Advanced personalization is a strategy for brands to deliver the experiences consumers expect. Consumers expect brands to provide dynamic, tailored experiences based on their previous purchase history, website activity, behaviors, interactions and more.

Based on my experience co-founding a customer engagement platform that provides personalization and data analysis solutions, I've found that to win over and retain customers, brands can focus on three critical areas to meet rising consumer demands:

? Hyper-personalization: Many consumers want personalized recommendations, offers, content and messaging that is highly relevant and tailored to their individual preferences and behaviors.

? Real-time delivery: It's important for brands to know the best time to engage with their customers and the most relevant communications. Brands must be able to dynamically adapt content, offers and recommendations based on customer interactions, behaviors and feedback.

? Ethical boundaries: I find that consumers expect brands to understand and respect their boundaries and know exactly where to draw the line. Good intentions are not enough; brands must honor those boundaries and ensure they're safeguarding customer privacy.

Brands know they must deliver exceptional experiences, but implementation remains challenging. The difference between success and failure relies on a brand's ability to create seamless and relevant experiences across touchpoints—all while remaining focused on the customer.

Using Data To Shape Consumer Expectations

Wildly successful brands such as Amazon, Netflix and Spotify have created business models based on hyper-personalized recommendations.

Advanced algorithms, user-friendly interfaces, seamless cross-device experiences and continuous testing and optimization have become commonplace in everyday consumer experiences. The expectation of personalized and seamless experiences now applies to all brands of all sizes across all industries. From my perspective, brands that fail to deliver on these rising expectations risk experiencing decreased customer satisfaction, lower retention rates and, ultimately, decreased revenue.

Making Customer Data Usable

The first barrier to delivering hyper-personalized experiences is the lack of insights into customer data. Too often, customer data is stuck in siloed marketing tools. Brands can instead prioritize building a unified customer profile to free up the data and make it usable. Legacy companies with many existing siloed tools and digital migrators tend to have the most significant learning curve. Still, it's achievable with the right approach and a strong focus.

To ensure data unification efforts are practical, brands can create a singular, comprehensive view that includes the trifecta of customer data types: preferences, behaviors and interests. Further, to ensure the data unification efforts are impactful, ensure the unified customer profile will give you the ability to create seamless, cross-device experiences. Customer data platforms and marketing automation tools are commonly enlisted to help, however, ensure the tool you choose can easily integrate into the current stack your brand is already working with.

Brands need deeper insights into what consumers want and then have the ability to deliver hyper-personalized experiences to them at scale. It's important to understand how consumers interact with your brand, at what time and on what devices to build a multi-channel strategy optimized for conversions.

Every time customers visit your website and start interacting with your brand, they likely know you're gathering data about them. Add this data to your unified customer profile to continue gathering insights about preferences, behaviors and needs.

Your brand can use this data to draw a customer deeper into the relationship. Set up cart-abandonment messages and deliver them on the right channel at the right time. An alternative method, such as a retargeted Facebook ad, can be deployed if the customer doesn't open the message. If that also doesn’t get read, you can try additional channels, like SMS texting, with specific messaging to create urgency. (Just be sure to send this message at the best time for that customer.)

You’ll notice in this model, your brand can create very specific, individualized journeys using insights. For example, a particular customer might be sent an email because, according to their profile insights, email was their best channel, and they have a high likelihood of repurchasing. Not only can this journey orchestration increase the effectiveness of journeys, but it can also be more cost-effective, as paid channels are used as a secondary channel, rather than a primary one, and only used when there is certainty around a person most likely to respond favorably.

Delivering Experiences That Consumers Demand

Personalization is important to consumers when choosing what brands they engage with. In 2022, 73% of consumers said they expect companies to understand their needs, according to a Salesforce survey of about 13,000 consumers worldwide (registration required). My company's Personalization Pulse Check 2023 report, which surveyed 2,000 North American consumers, also found that 56% of customers "want a curated shopping experience," and roughly 32% of customers "choose one brand over another if the communication is unrelated to their current shopping behavior."

We can infer from these statistics that consumers want personalized experiences and are willing to share their data to get them. And if brands don’t deliver on those expectations, consumers are willing to find another one that will.

It’s time for brand leaders to reassess their personalization strategy. I believe hyper-personalization, once considered a futuristic concept for many businesses, has become vital for brands to compete and stay relevant. Using customer data and activating this personalization across channels is key. By doing so, you can create more engaging and meaningful experiences for your customers and build stronger relationships and sustainable long-term growth.


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