In principle, I recognize the value of flossing my teeth. I know flossing is good for me, but I just haven’t quite implemented it.
Even if you’re a habitual flosser, you’ll probably still recognize what I’m talking about. In life, there are always those things that we know we should do, but aren’t doing for some reason or another. Personalization is one of those things for some marketers. We found in our latest survey that 98% of marketers believe that personalization advances customer relationships. We’re all consumers, and I think we can all agree that 98% is not the proportion of digital experiences being personalized to us. So why the disconnect? Why hasn’t this recognition of the value of personalization translated into execution even though we know it’s good for us?
Every marketing team likely has its own specific reasons for not consistently executing a personalization program. Some may be approaching personalization in a piecemeal fashion, enthusiastically creating a few campaigns to start but gradually slowing to a crawl without a clear strategy driving future initiatives. Some might have developed a solid strategy, but can’t quite execute it successfully. And others might be struggling to develop the internal processes and drive an organizational culture that best supports personalization.
Do you fall into any of these camps? What can you do about it?
“I’m not sure what I’m actually trying to accomplish.”
When you aren’t sure of your strategy, it’s tough to really pick up steam with personalization. While you can always get started with a campaign or two to get your feet wet, it’s important to have an overall strategy in mind to guide your efforts.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed without a clear direction, it might be time to take a step back, define your goals, identify the audiences you’re targeting, figure out which channels you’ll leverage, and note how you’ll measure success. Think broadly about your customer experience and what areas you think could be better if they were more relevant to each person. Think about your audiences across channels and what their different needs are. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers right now, you’ll want to test every campaign you run to make sure it works for your audience. But you should at least understand what you’re trying to do so you know if you’ve been successful.
It’s also a good idea to loop in a professional. At Evergage, our customer success team is skilled at developing strategies to help you achieve your goals.
“I don’t know how to implement the campaigns I want to run.”
If you have a strategy in place and have identified and prioritized your campaigns, it’s time to actually put those campaigns in place. Of course, you want to make sure you get it right — you don’t want to risk messing with your customer experience.
In order to successfully implement your personalization campaigns, you need three main things: 1) the right data, 2) the right technology and 3) the right people.
Data allows you to understand each individual. If you don’t understand the person, you can’t personalize the experience. Identify the data sources you’ll need to fully understand your customers, bring those data sources together in one place, and make sure that you can act on them to deliver relevant experiences.
This is no easy feat, but the right technology will help. The right personalization technology is one that offers a single platform to leverage across channels, a single profile for every single person, the ability to act on any and all data in real time, the ability to manage the platform without the need to rely on IT or engineering, and robust and accurate attribution analysis.
Finally, even the most in-depth data and sophisticated technology will not do anything without the right people to manage it. If you’re lacking the right person on your team, check out this blog post to make the best hire. Otherwise, keep reading to the next section.
“We aren’t structured as an organization to effectively personalize.”
Creating the internal processes around personalization is just as important as developing a solid strategy. Without the right internal structure, your personalization efforts will never get off the ground. It’s important to figure out the processes that work best for your organization — so there is no single answer here.
Personalization could be managed by a single team in your organization, or it could be distributed across teams. At Evergage, personalization is managed by our marketing team, primarily executed by our expert, Zach Skole, with others on the team adding input and CMO Andy Zimmerman spearheading the majority of the strategy. That works for our lean marketing team. However, larger companies with different teams managing different channels or touchpoints will likely all need to be involved in the personalization process. These types of organizations will need to do more work up front to figure out internal processes.
Be explicit about who is involved with the personalization program and outline what each person’s role is. Some will only be involved in the brainstorming process, with no additional input after that. Others will help make decisions about which campaigns to implement. Others still will be responsible for actually setting up and testing the campaigns. These may or may not be the same people who will actually publish campaigns. If these functions are spread across teams, determine how those teams will work together toward a common goal of providing a relevant and seamless customer experience.
Mastering personalization behind the scenes is not always easy. A marketing team putting personalization at the core of its strategy must shift from thinking about what they would like to tell their audiences to what each individual audience member wants to experience each time they interact with your brand. That is a change that won’t take place overnight. Struggles with strategy, execution or organization are to be expected.