Personalized Marketing: Why It Matters and How to Do It Right
How amazing does it feel when you walk into a coffee shop and the barista greets you by name and asks if you’d like the usual? Or when you meet someone you haven’t seen in a long time and they ask about some obscure and specific hobby you once mentioned you had?
These personalized experiences give you the warm and fuzzies. You typically come away from those interactions a fan of the place or person. Heck, if someone were to criticize them, you’d speak up that that's not your experience. And you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that place or person to others.
At an event a few years ago, I noticed someone who seemed a little hesitant. I introduced myself and invited them to join me at my table, and we chatted a little. We never spoke much after that. But on multiple occasions over the past few years, that person has given me a glowing reference when I came up in conversation.
Personalization makes us feel valued and understood. And that's how you want your customers to feel. Because if they do, they will buy more and advocate for your brand.
Personalized Marketing Options to Consider
Broadly speaking, there are two ways to do web personalization: with real-time data or historical data.
Real-time data involves using location data to serve up a specific site, content, or offer. Here are a few examples:
- Using device type or operating system to either manage how content is displayed or make assumptions on product needs
- Using traffic source to tailor content (i.e., looking at when and what the user came from)
- Basing promotions on products or services that have proven popular with others
Historical data goes deeper. This involves presenting personalized content, products, or offers based on users' previous interactions. You could look at factors like:
- The number of orders they made
- Their average order size
- The total amount they spent
- The products they looked at
- The carts they abandoned
- The time that has elapsed since their last transaction and/or visit
The options are as vast as the data you have collected. But through segmentation and rules, you can greatly increase the user's odds of converting.
Why You Need to Tread Carefully
Many consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about privacy and data management. You need to ensure that the personalization you supply is helping them in making a conversion decision and not simply showing them how much you know about them.
For instance, your barista asking if you fancy trying the new mocha latte (because they knew you had recently bought one from another brand) is much less creepy than being greeted with, "I heard you’re now into chocolate, so try this new mocha latte." The difference is small, but crucial.
Choose the Right Tools
With the overwhelming array of personalization options, it's important to work with an experienced team that can help guide you. At Acro, we love Drupal, and it can do many entry personalization functions within its platform (much more than most content management systems).
However, if you need to get very sophisticated, then you need a third-party platform. We love Acquia Lift. For features, usability and support, it is unparalleled. If you would like a personalized introduction to Acquia, hit me up and I’ll set you up, personally.
The Bottom Line
Global research and advisory firm Gartner stated that the three key takeaways on personalization are:
- Consumers want to receive personalized help as they navigate the buying journey.
- Focusing solely on personalized recognition is potentially detrimental to a company’s commercial objectives.
- When it comes to help, consumers prioritize information, a simpler purchase process and saving time.1
Peronalization isn’t the ultimate goal. It’s another tool to achieve whatever your actual goal is, whether that be increased sales, increased order value, increased frequency or brand loyalty. Once you define what your goals are, you can explore if personalization will give the required ROI.
If you would like to have a conversation about your business goals and see if personalization is an appropriate tool for you, give me a call. And if not, if we ever meet out and about, you’re always welcome to sit at my table.
1 - Source: Gartner, "Maximize the Impact of Personalization,” April 2019