You’ve heard it time and time again:
Personalization is no longer a luxury.
It’s a necessity.
But it’s important to understand that when it comes to personalization, your work is never done.
Personalization has evolved at a fast pace to keep up with consumer demands and will continue to do so as consumers’ needs continue to evolve.
To stay a step ahead of customers’ expectations, you must continually explore new approaches and strategies or risk losing out when it comes to the holy grail of marketing: customer loyalty.
In fact, two-thirds of consumers are loyal to brands that tailor the experience to their preferences and needs, yet fewer than 10 percent of organizations believe they are highly effective at personalization.
That’s a big problem!
Taking it a step further, a company’s personalization approach, or lack thereof, ultimately impacts the bottom line as well.
According to a recent report from Accenture, 50 percent of U.S. consumers said they switched companies they typically buy from because of a poor experience.
So what can you do?
Here are three strategies that will help you revamp your personalization program and discover new ways to create the experiences customers crave.
1. Tap into the Power of Automation
Personalization is not a new concept for marketers.
However, over the last decade, we’ve witnessed major advances in machine learning and algorithmic marketing.
These new tools are now readily available and allow marketers to better analyze insights and predict behavior, so they can personalize the customer journey in near real-time.
Harnessing machine learning and powerful data analytics allows marketers to automate personalization for greater efficiency, ROI, and better customer experiences.
But is automated personalization really personal?
In fact, tapping into automation creates a more personal experience than any human can, feeding a vast amount of data into a personalization model and serving up the optimal experience across any platform in real-time.
It can also help you take on tedious tasks that suck up valuable time and resources, so you can focus on delivering the best customer experiences possible.
Swisscom shows us a great example of automation done right.
Switzerland’s leading telecommunications company successfully scaled its optimization and personalization strategy, using four different types of machine learning to determine the best phone model to promote on its product details page.
With the help of real-time data, Swisscom found that the image of the silver iPhone drove a 37 percent lift in conversion over the gray model they’d been showcasing on its product details page.
Though this was a slight change, it had a major impact on engagement.
Chances are, your company also has areas that could benefit from small, personalized tweaks like this.
2. Let Your Customers Do the Talking
Content is king, but oftentimes, a costly one.
In fact, U.S. marketers spend more than $10 billion a year on content marketing, of which half – $5.2 billion – goes to content creation alone.
The time and resources that go into content creation can be overwhelming, particularly as customers increasingly expect more engaging and personalized content.
User-generated content alleviates these issues, saving resources and bringing an authenticity to your brand that customers prefer.
According to Nielsen, more than 9 in 10 consumers trust peer recommendations over every other form of advertising, so it’s no surprise brands leveraging user-generated content (UGC) can increase conversion rates by 29 percent.
Even better? User-generated content that’s tailored to each individual.
With more than 10 million mentions on social media, T-Mobile wanted to harness the power of its customers’ real-time testimonials to create a multi-channel strategy.
When the company noticed new customers regularly talk about the carrier they’re switching from and the reasons why, the company doubled down on its “switcher” campaign.
Tapping into Twitter, T-Mobile integrated UGC with its website, showing current customers of AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint personalized, real testimonials that gave them the relevant reasons to make the switch to T-Mobile.
As a result, visitors had a higher level of trust in the content they saw, and the company generated a significant lift in order conversions.
3. Don’t Forget About Recommendations
While the simple “you bought, now buy” recommendation may seem old school, highly personalized recommendations remain a tried-and-true method for engaging consumers.
With the right recommendations, you can significantly increase conversions, introducing customers to new items they were unlikely to find or purchase on their own.
In fact, about half of consumers say they’ve made unplanned purchases just because a product recommendation was so accurate.
As Steve Jobs put it, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
Take DER Touristik, the third largest tourism company in Europe, for example.
DER Touristik aims to engage travelers with a more personal touch and a consistent journey across a mix of online and offline touchpoints, including web, mobile, and local travel office locations.
To do this, it leveraged the power of recommendations to encourage deeper engagement with its wide range of travel-loving customers, from families to students to retirees.
In doing so, DER Touristik was able to increase conversion rates by 270 percent.
Need more proof that recommendations are a powerful tool? McKinsey estimates that 35 percent of consumer purchases on Amazon come from recommendations.
Whether you’re laying the building blocks for a personalization program or looking to revamp your current program, these three strategies are sure to take it to the next level, driving long-term loyalty among your customers.