According to Canadian consumers, businesses that do not deliver personalized experiences are leaving money on the table. The appetite for personalization is growing – in today’s data-driven market, personalization is no longer a nice-to-have.
What is personalization?
Personalization is a commitment to delivering relevant, timely and contextual experiences at meaningful moments along the customer journey. However, it shouldn’t be delivered to every customer. The value lies in personalizing the experiences for meaningfully important customer segments. Consumers who share their personal information look for businesses to leverage it to cater to their individual needs at the right time and place.
Personalized experiences are highly contextual and are carefully curated based on a collection of data that characterizes a customer’s purchasing habits, behaviours, and preferences.
Ultimately, the value of personalization is a function of how effectively businesses can action customer data to deliver unique experiences that make the customer feel special, while protecting the integrity of their data.
Informed by this data, surprise and delight experiences that demonstrate the investment brands are making into the customer are thoughtfully built and executed at the right time. Experiences could range from explicit perks to underlying subtleties that appeal to a customer’s hidden wants and needs.
The balancing act is protecting your customers data. Whether data is tracked within your own business, or via third-party syndicators, consumer information is increasingly available and accessible. Only 28% of consumers are unwilling to share data with brands/businesses that personalize experiences1. While customers are willing to share information, with great power comes an integral responsibility to protect. Harnessing the power of data to deliver the level of value consumers expect is the sweet spot that unlocks the value of personalization.
1Level5 survey data from Canadians indicating their willingness to share personal data with brands/businesses that personalize experiences (n=500)
Three Key Steps to Unlocking the Value of Personalization
1. Define your strategy and desired objectives
Without a strategic objective, personalization fails. As personalization is a means to drive growth, it requires a clear strategy. This includes organization-wide alignment to a target audience, defining the benefit and its value, and how the experience will be delivered.
- WHO? Across target consumer groups, which micro-segments will receive personalization?
Organizations must purposefully identify who will benefit the most from personalized experiences, relative to the investment needed to deliver them. This means determining the micro-segment(s) within their customer universe where personalization will create the most meaningful impact.
- WHY? To what end will personalized experiences create value for your customers, and how will that translate into sustainable growth for your business?
A common understanding of the link between personalization and your brand promise, business objectives and culture is a crucial foundation to delivering personalization across the customer experience. Without an understanding of the value of personalization to your organization, efforts risk being siloed and disjointed.
- WHAT? What will personalization look like in the context of your brand and business strategy?
Understanding the points across the customer experience where personalization can exist is necessary to build relevant yet viable tactics to execute. Early on, a degree of prioritization is required to inform where to invest initial efforts to stand up personalization. The data-driven nature of personalization enables organizations to then employ a test-and-learn approach to determine where to ramp up or slow down efforts based on ongoing analysis and insights development.
2. Assess your maturity and readiness to deliver
Common roadblocks often inhibit an organization’s readiness to unlock personalization. The path to implementing personalization depends on the strategic priorities and cross-functional orchestration of a brand/business. Common challenges organizations often encounter include…
- DATA: Customer data is typically buried across silos, limiting an organization’s ability to track target customers across experiences. A centrally integrated customer data collection, tracking and segmentation platform is crucial to unleashing the power of data.
- TACTICS CURATION: Businesses often struggle to effectively identify ‘Moments of Truth’ where experiences will be most impactful to customers. The ability to both quantify, and qualify those moments, and build dynamic content to deploy at these moments across channels, is imperative for personalization.
- PRIVACY: Heightened awareness of data usage, storage and analytics necessitate a robust data strategy, including trained and accountable teams and substantial processes in place.
- IMPLEMENTATION & ORCHESTRATION: Without the integration of cross-functional teams, personalization abilities are limited. The orchestration of agile roles, responsibilities and processes set the foundation for scalable personalized experiences.
- INFRASTRUCTURE: Are existing data management, architecture and measurement processes and capabilities sufficient to deliver actionable and timely insights across the organization?
- PROCESS: Can you make decisions from real-time data to build and execute tailored experiences to individual customers?
- TACTICS: Are capabilities in place to proactively and reactively customize customer interactions across the experiences?
- WAYS OF WORKING: Are your teams agile and are accountabilities structured in a way that enables integration across the organization?
To assess an organization’s readiness to implement personalization, Level5’s Personalization Maturity Model takes stock of business-wide building blocks that are required to plan, execute, and deliver.
3. Planning, executing & iterating to achieve sustainable growth through personalization
Stay tuned for Part 2.
Before iterating and executing on a roadmap to deliver personalization and achieve sustainable growth, consider: Is your organization ready to deliver personalized experiences?