From Personalization to HYPER-PersonalizationPosted on May 26th, 2021 by Cameron Schulz
72% of consumers say they now only engage with marketing messages tailored to their interests. With nearly three quarters of consumers (according to this study) reporting that personalization can be the difference between engaging a prospect and repelling one, personalization has become a necessity. Marketers, sales teams, and service reps hoping to close deals need personalization to do so. More importantly, they need the right personalization to do so.
Traditional personalization is losing its appeal as a heightened, more specific type of personalization—hyper-personalization—continues to show more significant effectiveness. The following are four of the common ways that people today are transforming their personalization approach into a hyper-personalization strategy.
Omnichannel has taken hold in almost every aspect of marketing and sales, so naturally it has its place in personalization too. Hyper-personalization must go beyond the perimeters of traditional personalization, and omnichannel has the right objectives and methods to push personalization to that next level.
Customers no longer consider personalization a luxury. They expect potential business partners to tailor every touchpoint in their buying journey to their unique situation. That’s not their only expectation either. They also expect the personalization of those touchpoints to intensify—growing as the business learns more about their needs—as they progress through their journey.
Unfortunately, current personalization strategies don’t meet these expectations. According to one Salesforce report, 54% of consumers surveyed don't believe that sales, service, and marketing are sharing information, indicating that they’re not experiencing the heighted personalization they expect as a result of the failure to compound information gathered at every touchpoint.
Omnichannel has the right direction and methods to resolve this disconnect between customer expectations and business practices. The strategy emphasizes channel integration and customer centricity, and approaches achieving these objectives through advanced data collection and department alignment. These priorities ensure that you collect the right data is at each touchpoint and share it with all teams that take part in the customer’s journey. Interactions across channels then offer consistent, increasing personalization, and meet customer expectations.
Unique audience preference and differentiation are two of the greatest reasons you should experiment with various personalization tactics. Your general audience is unique, and the segments within it are even more distinct. A tactic may be trendy or prevalent, but that doesn’t guarantee it’ll align to your audience’s preferences. Additionally, as more organizations adopt similar strategies and practice greater personalization, traditional personalization tokens become commonplace. Subsequently, their impact dwindles, and they no longer provide differentiation or a competitive advantage.
Pushing the limits of traditional personalization will involve investigating and experimenting with alternative elements of personalization. Customers appreciate personalization tokens like their name included in the greeting of an email, but they’re not (generally) impressed by them. They’re looking for unique forms of personalization, and they’re looking for personalization that demonstrates your understanding of them or their company. Neither of which need new or innovative tactics—one study shows that simply connecting with them via their preferred contact method can achieve the personalization they’re asking for.
Experimenting with new or new-to-you elements of personalization will help determine which types of personalization are most effective for your specific audience and keep your personalization tactics from becoming stale and unimpressive. Version your content and use A/B testing to examine how different segments of your audience respond to various personalization elements and use those results to optimize and modernize your personalization approach.
#2. Artificial Intelligence (AI).
When it comes to pushing the boundaries of personalization, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is writing the book. This technology can provide personalization elements that are impossible to achieve without it. It’s a pivotal player in delivering hyper-personalization.
Most everyone knows the phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” and, although they don’t exactly speak louder in this situation, they do play a role in personalization and the overall customer experience (CX). There’s undoubtedly much to learn from engaging in ongoing conversation with prospects and customers. There’s also a great amount of knowledge available in observing their actions as well. Collectively, both types of information bolster your understanding of the consumer substantially. In turn, it fulfills the customer expectation businesses know them well enough to predict next steps and deliver enhanced personalization.
Without AI, tracking consumer behavior and analyzing it in conjunction with other data would take far too long to be predictive. AI is the best—if not only—tool for quickly and effectively gathering data, analyzing it, and using it to be proactive. It collects data and draws insight in real-time, delivering on customer expectations when and where humans can’t. It closes those gaps in the buying journey. Together, your team and AI can deliver personalization that meets, or even exceeds, expectations all the time.
#1. Balance Personalization & Privacy
Privacy is a prevailing topic among consumers and businesses alike. Hyper-personalization requires gathering an incredible amount of information about the consumer. The imperative question is, how do you balance what’s a potential invasion of privacy and what’s necessary to deliver what they’re asking for?
By now, you’re hopefully looking for an answer from the right people—the consumers. Just as they have expectations concerning personalization, consumers also have expectations regarding what information you gather to deliver that personalization. In one consumer survey, it was revealed that they’re comfortable with companies collecting data such as what they’ve purchased, when they last visited the website, and their email address. They also revealed that they’re not comfortable with brands collecting information like their name, phone number, and address.
Knowing these preferences and not respecting them is likely to have a detrimental effect on your brand image and entire business reputation. As experts at McKinsey suggest, the conversation around data privacy must be open and ongoing to achieve and maintain a balance between personalization and privacy.
Set a strong precedent for communication with current and prospective customers. Survey preferences among your current customers to better understand your unique audience and implement changes for interactions with prospects. Be proactive—ask for permission and explain your reason for gathering such information clearly and frequently. Another recent study shows that only 27% of consumers completely understand how businesses use the personal information they collected. Sharing your purpose and limiting your use of the collected information to that purpose will show your consumers the benefit of sharing it—the return on investment (ROI), if you will. It’ll also show them that they can trust your motives when you ask for information in the future.
Hyper-Personalization: Remember the ‘Person’ in Personalization
Ultimately, it’s most important to remember the ‘person’ in personalization. You’re using personalization to deliver better customer experiences (CXs) for the person or people that are considering a purchase from your business. Learning, understanding, and responding to your customers and prospects is the best way to determine how to personalize their journey sufficiently to their liking—it's their journey after all. Although consumers may share similarities, no two are alike, so remain agile to accommodate outliers and maintain efficiency and productivity. Always remember to continue learning from the people who matter most—your customers.