Personalization: The path towards a deeper connection with your customers

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Personalization: The path towards a deeper connection with your customers

Elements of a future-proof marketing organization

The customer of the future is here and brands must evolve in response. At Deloitte, connecting for impact is a rule we live by. This "Elements of a future-proof marketing organization" blog series is dedicated to sharing our point of view on several pressing marketing challenges. It is time for brands to adapt their marketing strategies to become future-proof and stay relevant. In our previous blog post, we addressed the value of becoming a data-driven organization. Leveraging data to generate customer insights is one step. However, to service the customers of the future, it is crucial to truly understand their needs and prepare your organization to act upon them. In this blog, we share with you why ‘personalization’ is imperative and how to kickstart customer centricity in your organization.

Benefits of using personalization to become customer-centric

“Imagine a world in which a brand knows who you are and what you want, and can deliver the product, service, or experience that best suits your needs seamlessly and in real-time, across physical or digital channels… This world has arrived.”

In the past decade, brands and organizations have witnessed a big shift in their customers' expectations. Not only have customers become increasingly active on social media and are they influenced by it, but their shopping behavior has also changed, along with the likelihood of swiftly changing their brand preferences. Customers expect brands to understand and respond to their true wants and needs. Therefore, creating meaningful experiences and forming long-term customer relationships are becoming increasingly important for brands.

Personalization helps brands establish long-term customer relationships and enhance customer loyalty. It also increases the likelihood of audience conversions by making messages appear more relevant to customers, thus improving marketing effectiveness.

The path forward through personalization

Personalization is about creating deeper connections with your customers by going beyond selling products and moving towards delivering highly relevant and valuable experiences. That said, it is often difficult to know where to start and how to get there.

There is no single “right” path to becoming customer centric. But there are certain important aspects that every organization will need to consider along its journey.

1. Customer and data are the starting point for everything

Be passionate about your customers and set objectives to organize around their wishes:

  • Start by defining priority segments and audiences based on collected data
  • Set your ambitions for personalization with clear KPIs to measure success
  • Determine the experience to deliver, the value exchange to offer, and/or the commercial mechanism to apply

At Deloitte Digital, we recently helped a world-famous footwear and apparel brand to define strategic customer groups with a significant growth margin potential and a strong likelihood of retention; based on a data analysis project. For each of these target audiences, we developed data-driven growth plans to be experimented on within actionable use cases.

Becoming data-driven is also tackled in our first blog “How data-driven marketing helps serve the customer of the future”.

2. Create, learn and scale rapidly when results are proven

Adopt an experimental approach and harvest learnings along the way:

  • Define and then narrow down hypotheses and variables to be validated during the launch of the personalized experiences to a limited amount, to avoid outliers and bring focus
  • Buy, borrow, or build the right profiles and capabilities that are required to deliver your customer-centric experiences
  • Try, learn, and optimize until results are proven, before scaling up with new segments or channels

We often recommend to our clients to identify pilots that will prove impactful and organize around them, before making a substantial investment. Such a pilot should be a catalyst for customer-centric transformation. For example, we collaborated with a global FMCG company on a pilot to prove the added value of customer-centric marketing and personalization for the business and brand categories. This was driven, for the first time, by a multidisciplinary team that included consumer journey experts, media experts, and data scientists. Our client aimed to recognize consumer intent, in order to address prioritized consumer needs with campaign activation (and retargeting content), resulting in better consumer insights, improved consumer engagement, and equal or better marketing effectiveness.
 

3. Foster data & tech initiatives and elevate good practices for the long term

Embrace limitations and explore alternatives:

  • Take into account technical and resource constraints when making decisions and remain flexible and resourceful
  • Prepare for a cookie-less world where your organization will be increasingly dependent on first-party data
  • Identify alternative plans, and prepare for mitigating potential issues

As an example of moving towards a cookie-less world, we see a growing trend in Customer Data Platform (CDP) implementation. We recently implemented such a solution for a Media & Entertainment company to create a single 360° view of their customers, by combining data from various sources (external and internal). This resulted in more effective tracking and tracing of customer behavior, and it generated more actionable insights and more opportunities for cross- and upselling.

Source: Deloitte

Do you see the added value of customer-centric marketing, but experience challenges to integrate it into your business? Our Marketing Strategy and Transformation team helps organizations to create conquering marketing strategies and optimize their capabilities to deliver undeniable value.

Get in touch with us and stay tuned for the next blog in the series.

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