For most businesses, your competitor is only a click away. And with that single click of a mouse (or increasingly a smartphone button) goes the investment you’ve put into building that customer relationship. To combat the ease of desertion, marketers are increasingly looking to technology to help them deliver on their goal to make personalization and customer centricity a top priority, according to an August 2014 study by Econsultancy in association with Teradata.

Tailoring customer communications is important and necessary as consumers have more choices at their fingertips than ever before. Automated journey building tools can play a key role in helping brands “surprise and delight” their customers by marrying data for personalization—even down to how that consumer likes to receive their information—with the right message at the right time.

Personalization at the macro and micro level is important for brands focused on customer retention above and beyond new customer acquisition. And, personalizing communication to existing customers is a smart fiscal approach as marketers have long known that the cost of new customer acquisition is significantly more than the cost of customer retention – up to 7x according to Kissmetrics. As a result, meeting the always-on consumer with always-on technology is imperative to maximize lifetime customer value.

The strategy to ‘wow’ customers can happen in digital channels but also in-store to drive purchases. Brand and tech marketers are getting smarter at recognizing organic consumer actions (like social posts, check-ins, etc.) and using them in a way the consumer feels rewarded and the brand stays top-of-mind. Personalized technology is allowing consumers to opt in to rewards programs on behalf of the brand, allowing companies to surprise and delight their consumers when they take particular actions.

For example, a hotel has information on consumer “Mike” who has opted in his social ID and email, and has frequently stayed at this hotel chain before.

When Mike visits a hotel down the line, he checks in. The brand is able to listen for that check-in action and piece it together with his consumer data that has been stored. New tools can allow the system to recognize that it was Mike who checked in and automatically send him a personalized (mobile) email, thanking him for his stay and rewarding him with 10% off dinner at the hotel restaurant. In fact, Forbes recently reported that 84% of consumers say they would spend more with brands who offer programs that reward them for social and other non-purchase actions. It is not just discounts that delight customers, but the opportunity to be rewarded for social participation.

Yet another way to think about brand/consumer loyalty, social rewards have the opportunity to really wow customers and simultaneously grow lifetime value. Gilt and other sites exemplify how personalizing the experience for consumers can lead to monumental success. So, it’s little wonder that eConsultancy found that 59% of marketers it talked to were investing in technology to increase customer retention.

As consumer communication channels proliferate, the need for a solid omni-channel marketing approach grows. While this inverse relationship is clear, the implication is that marketers have to meet customers where they are at with the right message and continue to wow them. Marketers who have begun personalizing customer communications across channels and devices have a head-start on personalization that drives customer retention and lifetime value.