Get Personal: Why Personalization is the Key Brand Differentiator

By

Amy Huang

May 7, 2021

If there's anything that people like, it’s a little bit of attention. When Spotify recommends songs and curates playlists just for me, I get a better listening experience. When Netflix suggests movies and shows based on my watching history, I end up discovering new favorites. These personalized recommendations based on user preferences have made for a more streamlined experience, and as big players like Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon keep delivering, consumers will (and do) expect the same from brands of all sizes and across all industries.

What is Personalization?

Personalization is providing customers with individualized and relevant content to keep them engaged. With the hyperconnectivity of the digital age, consumers receive hundreds of mass emails daily and are constantly exposed to advertisements, both online and offline. It has become second nature to tune out irrelevant content, which makes personalization a powerful tool for brands to differentiate themselves.

Unless you've been under a rock, you're probably aware of the ongoing ads personalization problem. Just Google "Apple vs. Facebook" for a front row seat. Unfortunately, that showdown casts a shadow over a more valuable angle: personalized product experiences (and by extension, analytics).

At the heart of personalization is consumer or customer data, the blueprint for brands to develop their personalization strategies. Knowing consumers’ demographics, level of engagement, and interests allows brands to deliver unique experiences throughout the entire consumer journey. Beginning with attracting customers’ interest through customized email marketing campaigns, brands set personalization as the standard for all future interactions with consumers.

Why Does Personalization Matter?

It matters that brands listen, which makes for a better conversation and leads to more productive clicks. According to a 2018 Accenture survey, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. The 2017 State of Personalization Report, conducted by Segment, revealed that 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. Dissatisfaction is costly: 47% of consumers check Amazon if the brand they’re shopping with doesn’t provide product suggestions that are relevant.

Personalization, then, is linked to customer loyalty retention and can often be tracked to purchase attribution. It is easier to retain existing customers than acquire new ones, and it is made easier when brands deliver a personalized experience: 44% of customers are likely to become repeat buyers after a personalized experience with a company. According to Forbes, “marketers that deliver personalized web experiences are getting double digit returns in marketing performance and response.”

Trust and The Start of a Two-Way Dialogue

With the majority of retailers and digital businesses investing in personalization, brands need to be aware of the fine line between personalization and an invasion of privacy. While 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience, it is a fragile relationship built on trust. Brands need to be transparent with how they are using consumer data, or else they risk losing their consumers’ trust.

The brand and consumer relationship also involves an aspect of autonomy. As important as personalization is to an enhanced consumer experience, consumers also value having the ability to create their own experiences. Brands can use living profiles to engage consumers in a two-way dialogue, allowing for a feasible way to scale one-on-one personalization.

It is easier to retain existing customers than acquire new ones, and it is made easier when brands deliver a personalized experience.

Machine Learning Algorithms and Other Complicated Tactics

Don't get me wrong... A.I. and machine learning algorithms have brought personalization to places we never dreamed we'd go a few decades ago. All of those companies mentioned earlier (Netflix, Spotify, etc.) are leveraging cutting-edge artificial intelligence tactics to deliver best-in-class recommendations to their users.

But here's the thing: that's just one way to go about it, and the technical complexity of machine learning can be intimidating and unfortunately steer people away from the entire idea of personalized experiences.

Personalization doesn't have to be technologically complex. The simple act of asking a customer their preference, then remembering (i.e. storing) it for future use, sets the stage for a valuable personal experience (If you're skeptical on just how valuable that can be, read our article on first-party data). The simple act of listening to customers transcends digital marketing and is a simple-yet-powerful step towards brand loyalty.

Opportunities Ahead with Personalization

Despite the value of personalization, brands and marketers face the challenge of communicating and connecting with consumers effectively across multiple channels. Brij aims to reconnect brands with their consumers through their one-touch registration and reorder platform. By incentivizing consumers to register their products with a simple scan of a QR code, brands gain access to valuable consumer data that can be used to deliver tailored content. It’s time to get personal.