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How to Add a ‘Personal Touch’ to Your Digital Experience Strategy
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The CX Insights August 24, 2020 | 7 Min Read

How to Add a ‘Personal Touch’ to Your Digital Experience Strategy

Any way you slice it, 'personalization' has emerged as every brand's go-to strategy. In fact, according to research, "69% of companies rated personalizing the customer experience as a top priority." Plus, a staggering 93% of companies with an “advanced personalization strategy” experience revenue growth. 

From the customer's perspective,"86% of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions." Clearly, all the limelight on personalization seems justified. But what is personalization? Acclaimed author, Seth Godin, has the answer for us:

“Personalization is a chance to differentiate at a human scale, to use behavior as the most important clue about what people want and, more importantly, what they need.”

What's interesting to understand is the role digital personalization is playing - from a psychological perspective - to iron out the everyday-issues customers are facing in this global pandemic. 

According to the cognitive scientist, Colin Cherry, people 'tune into' information when they hear their name and feel that is relevant to them. In other words, he calls this the 'Cocktail Party Effect.'

Take the example of the brand, Classpass, which sent out a personalized email to customers informing them about the precautions that brand is taking to ensure customer safety:

Email-personalization-example

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That's not it. The brand followed up with another heartfelt and empathetic email informing users of suspending billing and offering them a choice to request for a refund (should they need one).

Here's the long and short of it: Providing a personalized experience entails three key components:

  • Know your customers by their names.
  • Know your customer's purchase history and buying patterns. 
  • Know what they want and recommend relevant options.

As easy as it may seem on the surface, personalization takes time and effort to bring about incredible, long-term results. However, the financial returns are huge if you succeed. As per the Monetate Report, personalization can drive long-term customer value:

"Brands that had the highest personalization ROI (3x or more) focused on loyalty as their top KPI."

Plus, if done right, it can bring about a positive change in the 'company-customer' dynamics.  

The next important question that comes to mind is: 

How can you blend your digital marketing efforts to deliver end-to-end personalization?

We have two words for you: personalized marketing. This includes a host of communication channels - where the content can be tailored to meet the customer's wants and expectations. These include:

  • Chatbot: KIA Motors's chatbot on Facebook Messenger is an excellent example of personalization at its best. According to reports, the bot witnessed 3 times more conversions than the company's website:

Chatbot-personalization-example

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The success of a personalized chatbot lies in the fact that the chatbot can engage with users 24x7 and answer basic questions, taking off some of the team's workload. Plus, customers can get instant answers making the digital customer experience seamless and convenient.

Offering personalized communication is no longer about inserting your customer's name into your email's subject line. Brands are increasingly pushing the boundaries to offer a compelling customer experience by integrating intuitive tools and technologies into the marketing mix.

  • Notification pop-ups: In an ingenious effort to re-engage users, QuizUp, a mobile trivia game, offered customers free pizza in order to reduce churn (no one is complaining):

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Another excellent example to consider is Swarm's interactive push notifications based on behavioral triggers. In the example shown below, the push notification was sent when the user's friend checked into a new location.

Notice how important elements (think: friend's name, shop's name, etc.) making it easy to read:

Push-Notification-experience

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  • Email marketing: If you think that a "one-size-fits-all" email marketing campaign will drive revenues, think again.

"Marketers have gained a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns."

When we say segmented campaigns, we're talking about critical factors such as gender, location, website behavior, brand engagement, among others. Take Airbnb's email marketing example (shown below).

The email uses a customer's actions (in this case, let's assume that the customer was looking for deals in Sonoma) as the basis of its content and drives hyper-personalization by offering relevant deals and incentives:

Email-personalization-example

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Take-home message:

One of the most important things to remember when drafting your personalized campaign is that you need to focus on creating a 'cohesive and compelling customer journey' from start to finish instead of sending one isolated personalized email every month. This will help engage users for longer.

At the end of the day, the idea is to offer an omnichannel campaign that includes relevant communication and where each channel picks off the interaction right where the previous one left off.

The Art of Leveraging User Data to Awestruck your Customers 

"88% of marketers use data from third parties to improve their knowledge about clients."

Instant access to quality and timely user data is, without a doubt, one of the most valuable assets for any brand today. By capturing critical data, brands can analyze it and extract useful insights into user behavior and actions, preferences, and patterns.

Based on this information, brands can target users in a more personal and intimate capacity with relevant information that rings true to their hearts. Let's look at a few real-life examples to understand this better:

  • Virgin tracks their customer's buying behavior and encourages repeat purchases by offering discount codes to users (for the next purchase) every time they buy something:

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  • Amazon's personalization tactics are the stuff of legends. By highlighting every customer's personalized tastes and relevant products, the brand was able to boost its sales by 29% and encourage users to engage in impulse buying:

Amazon-personalization-example

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  • Starbucks is another example that uses Artificial Intelligence and real-time data to roll out over 400,000 variants of hyper-personalized messages. This includes foods and beverages related offers based on each user’s preferences and past activity on the app:

Starbucks-personalization-example

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Take-home message:

While we realize that it isn't possible to comb through mountains worth of data, there are tools and software that can do that for you. In order to drive quality user engagement and boost sales, capturing user data, and acting on it is paramount.

Final Piece of Advice: Use Social Media to Provide a 'Universal' Personalized Experience for Customers

"Content is fire. Social media is gasoline." - Jay Baer

The tech-savvy customers of today are no longer shying away from voicing their concerns about brands and also applauding them in equal measure.

Clearly, the customer journey is increasingly becoming more granular, specific, and strategic today, while (ironically enough) catering to the omnipresent customer.

With the advent of technology, social media is emerging as the primary channel for improving your brand's customer experience.

This makes sense as customers want instant gratification and immediate service, and social media is the best channel to give the customers what they want.

Whether you wish to engage with them using authentic content or whether you want to notify them about upcoming offers and product launches, social media acts as a centralized channel for bringing companies and customers together:

  • Expedia uses Facebook to offer exciting deals to customers:

Expedia-personalization-example

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Interestingly, the buck doesn't stop there. It follows up with the customer by engaging in an on-point re-engagement initiative. Every customer who ends up clicking the ad and who is seen searching for hotels in Whistler is later re-targeted with the following ad on Facebook:

  • Another brilliant example of social media marketing is Verve's chatbot which simulates human conversations, offers customized advice, and implements customer feedback:

Social-Media-Verve-Example

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Take-home message:

Since social media is a more open and transparent channel, brands need to ensure that they maintain a consistent and customer-friendly tone at all times. The trick with effective digital experience lies in being at the right place at the right time, with the right message.

The Writing is on the Wall: Personalization should be at the Core of your Digital Experience Strategy

Here are my two cents on the situation: You have to adapt to the present technology to grow as a brand and connect with users on an emotional level - a feat that takes companies years to establish and enjoy. 

It is also important to remember that a winning digital experience strategy is one that can:

  • Offer a personalized experience and drive a positive change.
  • Provide consistent and customized digital marketing personalization across the board.
  • Leverage real-time insights into user intent, behavior, choices, etc. and alter recommendations based on the same.
  • Provide a universal personalized experience on social media and enhance the customer experience.

Additionally, it is important to remember that every piece of communication that rolls out should be able to hold your user's attention and deepen their brand loyalty in a sustainable and organic capacity.

So in order to ace the 'personalized mindset' and integrate it like a pro into your digital marketing mix, think relevant, targeted, and personal.

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