Marketers are facing escalating challenges as consumers move among an ever-increasing number of screens, channels, and devices. These customers have busy lives, and their goals as they lead those lives rarely match your goals as a marketer. You have eight seconds to capture their attention with highly relevant, engaging experiences. The old ways of gaining conversions at a macro scale, focusing on a general experience for large swaths of a customer base, will not work in this new marketing environment. Customized homepages and recommendations were good innovations when they were introduced but are just a starting point today. Personalization is now about creating the right experience for each customer on a micro scale.
Our latest report, “Experience Design Optimization,” outlines the challenges as well as the processes you can implement to meet these challenges. I would like to share four key findings with you here:
1. The Personalization Gap Is Wide
Recent surveys indicate that consumers would welcome real-time offers in stores and online. Yet, very few marketers are using technology to achieve micro-level personalization, with almost one-third saying that they do not personalize at all. The result? Most consumers find that the personalization they do see is superficial and annoying. They want to use technology to solve problems and find services quickly, but many organizations are falling short.
The stakes are high. Companies that can deliver the right experience to the right person will become the go-to brands, leaving other brands far behind.
2. The Right People + the Right Data = the Right Experience Design
A key element in an engaging customer experience is continuity across devices and platforms. Often, a fragmented customer experience is a reflection of the structure within an organization. Different platforms within a company present a challenge — they may only be able to optimize pieces of the whole experience, and they use different KPIs (key performance indicators) to do so, leading to multiple personas for the same customer, competing offers on different channels, and other poor experiences.
Integrated data systems, where the same solutions that harness all of the data are used to optimize and personalize the experience, will help marketers understand how their customers experience their brands as a whole. A unified platform makes it easier for all team members to see the same data and analysis and to work together to create a focused, optimized experience.
The best experiences will be forged when people are able to listen to the data and, from it, understand how the customer thinks and feels about the brand. The skillsets needed are an intersection of business, science, and liberal arts skills. Only 10 percent of companies have established customer-experience teams — people who combine the art of design with the science of optimization to create personalized experiences that drive engagement and revenue. Companies that invest in agile and efficient technologies — and the right people to use them — will become the competitive leaders of the future.
3. Personalization Is a Process, Not an Event
Leading personalized experiences are evolved with an iterative process. They begin by bringing data together to map customer behaviors and identifying top-performing areas and bottlenecks. A prototype experience is developed from this initial map.
Most companies would stop here, but significant gains are realized by continued analysis of performance and revisions to the experience. From there, one can move on to automate the experience. This is necessary to achieve personalization at the micro-scale needed to reach every customer on all of their channels and devices.
4. The Internet of Things Will Widen the Gap
In just a few short years, the mushrooming number of devices on the Internet of Things will create new data streams and a torrent of new information. This data can potentially give an even clearer view of customers’ lives, if marketers can meet the challenge of making sense of this massive amount of data. These new devices will compound today’s marketing problems and make it critical to implement strategies now before the avalanche begins. Today’s integrated technology supports these new levels of data analytics, content management, testing, and optimization and will allow scaling of personalized experiences at the new levels of data input that are coming soon.
Download our report for more details along with analysis and leading industry examples.