Introduction

Personalization dramatically improves the user experience, creates an authentic connection, and increases conversion rates. According to a study by Qualifio, personalized marketing improves customer loyalty by 47% and satisfaction by 36%. Furthermore, customization boosts profits by an average of 20%, which is why more and more companies have started to prioritize personalization as a tactic.

But here’s the rub: creating personalized content is also the biggest challenge for 83% of the marketers surveyed, according to the same study. Aside from the inherent challenge of creating personalized content for each target audience segment, the strict regulations surrounding personal user data present additional obstacles.

To help facilitate this challenge, we’ve gathered some of the most notable applications that we believe should be part of a marketer’s arsenal.

 

Predictive Personalization

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gone from being seldom understood technology to playing an integral role in marketing operations. Not only does AI spare your team from tedious and repetitive tasks, but it can also help you reach the right audience.

For instance, companies like Retention Science and Optimove can help you automatically target the right prospects to maximize their relevance and impact. By leveraging intelligent, AI-driven learning algorithms, these solutions go beyond the basics of rules-driven campaigns. Both solutions blend customer behaviors and funnel positioning to deliver the right emails at the right place and time — saving you time and money during your email marketing campaigns.

Every time a customer interacts with a search engine, ad, social media platform, or shopping cart, they leave a trail of breadcrumbs, eager to be digested by machine learning algorithms. When you apply the right algorithms to this data at scale, you can uncover incredible insights about customers that can be leveraged by algorithms for high-level personalization. According to Salesforce, 51% of customers expect businesses to anticipate their needs and desires before making contact.

Predictive personalization incorporates a broad range of solutions that go far beyond email marketing. When applied to online shopping experiences, predictive personalization results in a 22.66% lift in conversions, and it influences 26.34% of transactions.

 

Multivariate & A/B Testing

Testing is another time-consuming task that AI significantly simplifies. Whether you’re testing two (A/B testing) or ten (multivariate testing) variables, tools like Pathfinder‘s AI assistant facilitates and streamlines the process by creating templates and email flows in seconds, running multiple A/B and multivariate tests each month, automatically choosing the best versions of each test, then displaying the results on a user-friendly dashboard.

While Pathfinder’s software is designed to send emails to your existing customer base, tools like Mailshake or Woodpecker can help you apply this principle to cold email campaigns. 

Considering how much time and resources it would take to test different send times and emails on each lead or audience segment manually, relying on AI is a no-brainer. 

 

The Internet of Things (IoT)

In 2020, IoT is cementing its status as every skilled marketer’s indispensable asset. Virtually every target audience owns an Internet-enabled gadget, and IoT has digitized everyday household objects, including refrigerators, toasters, speakers, air conditioning units, just to name a few. Even washers and dryers now send text messages to their owners alerting them of a job well done.

Because all of these appliances connect to a network, they each represent a small goldmine of data. And considering that there are 26.66 billion IoT devices in the world (and growing), it’s definitely something every strategically-minded marketer should consider as part of their marketing plan.

IoT enables marketers to harness data streaming from a myriad of personal interactions. For example, IoT devices can use geolocation to recommend nearby stores that offer discounts or even monitor their users’ heart rates. All of these interactions can help you understand your customers’ intent and predict their buying patterns.

One interesting IoT characteristic is that its main selling point is also its biggest caveat: the sheer amount of personal data is staggering. 

Users might not be comfortable with sharing certain information, especially with brands they are not familiar with GDPR and other similar regulations make it critical for companies to always ask for consent before collecting data, follow local data privacy requirements, and act in a transparent way.

Users should know exactly what data is being collected and what purpose it serves, as well as be able to opt-out at any moment. Handling personal data has serious implications—but it can also yield significant benefits when used in a strategic and responsible way.

 

Personalized Customer Reviews

Influencers are on the rise, which is why many consumers are increasingly inserting their photos and videos in brand reviews. Still, few companies allow them to do this on their websites, settling instead for ratings and text only. Product endorsements are more impactful when they feature an image or video.

In what Deloitte calls “Made to Order,” finding ways to inject personalization at every layer of your funnel is a crucial stepping stone towards creating a customer-centric business model. Blending personalization with your existing review structure can help you emphasize context and relevance. For example, you can deliver hyper-relevant reviews to customers using ad-hoc targeting methods (e.g., in newsletters, via targeted ads, through social media platforms, etc.) Savvy marketers can also use browsing data to structure website reviews based on previous experiences — increasing review relevancy.

Tools like Loox allow marketers to collect reviews and embed product-specific galleries in emails. PowerReviews’ Product Pulse can help you analyze reviews across all channels to discover which phrases, terms, and colloquialisms are most commonly associated with your products. This data can be used to further personalize the review process by helping you display and emphasize reviews that are more likely to resonate with your audience. Both tools can be utilized to help curate personalized lists of customer-favorite products, suggest products similar to the ones they’ve rated highly, and even offer discounts to users who leave negative reviews.

 

Omnichannel Marketing

Now that consumers expect to connect with brands from an ever-expanding array of platforms, omnichannel marketing is the rule, rather than an exception. Brands are meticulously assessing the customer journey to boost engagement and loyalty—and omnichannel is the optimal approach to strategically guide prospects through that journey. This approach prioritizes a homogenous, personalized customer experience based on the premise that communication channels and their supporting resources are designed and orchestrated to cooperate rather than work in parallel. Websites, email offers, social media messaging, and physical stores all show the same messages, offers, and products to create a consistent experience that can be accessed from any device.

For example, Beeztees — a B2B pet goods supplier — leverages an omnichannel retail experience using SAP to bridge data between inventory and pricing. Clients see real-time-pricing information based on current market demands. When they choose a product, Beeztees allows them to ship the inventory to either their business or to a nearby Beeztees store. With built-in track-and-trace functionality, users can also quickly see exactly where their inventory is located during this shipping process — regardless of which shipping method they chose.

One of the key tenants of Beeztees’ omnichannel experience is their mobile accessibility. The same information is seamlessly generated across devices, and clients have real-time data and access to all of their favorite inventory and sales channels regardless of what device they’re using.

There’s no doubt that personalization boosts conversion rates and builds stronger customer relationships. These data-based approaches to personalized content will allow you to learn more about your clients than they may know themselves—from their business habits and patterns to the types of products or services they typically prefer and when.

Tools that collect and process this data, coupled with platforms that enable businesses to tweak campaigns based on what tactics work best, are invaluable resources in optimizing personalized content in 2020. 

We’re all entering the age of hyper-personalization. 86% of marketers have seen a measurable lift in business results from their personalization campaigns. In a world where businesses are looking to cut costs and vying for a competitive advantage, personalization stands out as a highly actionable marketing strategy with tangible results.

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