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Effective Marketing Personalization to Drive Profit, Share and Loyalty

By Jason Davis
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
Simon Data, the enterprise customer data platform that empowers brands to deliver data-driven, personalized customer experiences everywhere.


Effective marketing personalization—one-to-one marketing that uses data to deliver targeted brand messages that are customized to an individual—is growing. The days of “mass marketing” a single message to millions are over. Emphasizing relevance of messaging (which ties directly to effectiveness) over quantity of people reached, marketing personalization is much more than addressing a customer by name. Here are some keys to doing it right.

1. Understand the customer and their purchase journey

Effective marketing personalization begins and ends with understanding the customer. To really personalize, you need to look at everything they have done over the course of days, weeks, or even months. You need to segment them out to understand them demographically, behaviorally, where they are in the lifecycle, and more. Then you need to know the mechanics they go through in order to research, evaluate and purchase a product or service. Where along that journey can you touch them to help or influence them?

2. Centralize responsibility for the customer experience

Too many companies are organized by function or channel. But from the customers’ view, researching a product on a website, shopping a store, tracking delivery information, getting help from customer service, or dealing with billing, are all parts of interacting with your brand. Within your company, how often does accounting connect with customer service or sales? Companies that succeed with marketing personalization put responsibility for the customer experience under a single function. That function then looks across marketing, sales and possibly into operations and finance, searching out every place a customer interacts with the company and its products. It all counts or you will have a fragmented understanding of the customer and fragmented delivery of the customer experience.

3. Effective marketing personalization requires good data

Good data comes from a good data strategy. You have to consider the customer, the journey, the touchpoints and the whole experience in a strategy for collecting the data you need. The goal is centralizing data into one place and then coordinating its use in the delivery of marketing and other customer-facing messages. You need to engage customers across multiple systems and channels. Your marketing stack and data infrastructure must be tightly coordinated—which is easier said than done. Your marketing staff, data scientists, and technology experts must be just as tightly coordinated.

4. Focus on the micro-conversions and engagement events

The bias is to focus on what is easy to measure and what directly connects to the bottom line. But those things are not necessarily most important in building a relationship of trust through an authentic customer experience. For instance, you might focus on helping a customer recover an abandoned shopping cart and complete a purchase. Nothing wrong with that. But think earlier in the process. Perhaps you are in the travel business right now. With COVID-19, no one is going anywhere. Do you stop marketing? We would argue the customer experience can still happen. A prospect may not be booking a trip to Italy today, but they still want to go. They might be researching and dreaming—and that is where you can play a role in helping facilitate an experience. Start the conversation now and build that relationship. When that customer can finally travel, you stand a good chance of them booking through your business. You won’t have to worry about the abandoned cart.

Marketing personalization can become incredibly sophisticated, but don’t let that be a barrier to getting started. You don’t have to have a ton of data and elaborate models. A little goes a long way. When we started with Vivino, the world’s largest wine app, they started small. They knew some customers were looking for $3 to $10 bottles of wine. Others were looking for something exceptional and rare, costing thousands of dollars. And still others were out at a restaurant, enjoying a special bottle, and wanted to find and order that exact brand and vintage. We helped them approach each customer differently and then built an increasingly sophisticated approach from there.

Customers increasingly demand better experiences. A recent study found 63% of customers where “highly annoyed” getting blasted by generic advertising over and over. 80% prefer to do business with a company that makes an effort to understand them. And 90% find the personalized approach appealing. Companies that want to earn a higher margin, larger share, and greater loyalty need effective marketing personalization.