eBook Strategic tips on personalization

Marketers can ensure they never get left behind, smashing benchmarks and exceeding targets along the way, by using personalization.

Using the full range of personalization elements is a winning strategy – marketers who listen to, analyze and use their data intelligently will always come out on top. We have put together tips and tricks to enhance your digital marketing plans.


We all know we should be doing it – the digital marketing buzzword of current times – personalization. It’s a given that we know what it fundamentally means, but there is a lot to this seemingly simple term that digital marketers need to get to grips with.

Using the full range of personalization elements is a winning strategy – marketers who listen, analyze and use their data intelligently will always come out on top. Marketers can ensure they never get left behind, smashing benchmarks and exceeding targets along the way, by using personalization. We have put together some tips and tricks to enhance your digital marketing plans.

Give your customers the brand love they expect... and deserve

Customers expect brands to relate to them in a certain way. Long gone are the days of tolerated bad customer service and brands who ignore their (sometimes most loyal) customers and getting away with it.

This expectation relates to today’s consumers who now expect brands to show them personalization past first name.

With the increasingly connected world and a gold-mine of historical and real-time data available, consumers expect brands to utilize all information they have provided and use that to deliver them truly personalized experiences. And the more personalized the experience, the happier the customer. A happy customer isn’t just a customer who wishes to purchase more, they are a customer that is retained, upsold to and − perhaps most importantly − a customer who becomes an advocate for your brand. Consumers now expect brands to value their relationships over time and make each and every experience a meaningful one.


Data is the gift that keeps on giving

Personalization and data are a partnership. Marketers can’t truly personalize without fully utilizing their data.

The first step to achieve personalization is to use customer data already accessible and the digital footprint customers leave behind in every channel. Customers are connecting with brands via multiple channels – via email, in-store, through an app or online – all of these channels offer valuable data. Harnessing actionable insights from the multiple data channels available enables marketers to create engaging and relevant conversations with customers. The next step is to add an extra layer of sophistication and a personal touch, by using a host of factors to contextualize any message:

  • Time and location
  • Customer age and gender
  • Weather
  • Favorite brands and products
  • Web browsing history
  • Past buying behavior
  • Product and stock levels
  • Abandoned carts

All these elements working together can fuel truly unique personalized experiences. These historical and contextual data elements are available all year round, so marketers must work their data hard, as it will engage and build relationships with customers throughout the year. Brands that gain a holistic view of their customers to deliver even more personalized marketing interactions, achieve up to 4x increases in brand engagement and sales.

So how can you win the digital marketing trophy?

So we have agreed the brands most likely to do well will be those that manage to cope with the array of data sources and delivers the right strategy at the right time. So how can you do the same?

Consumers are ultimately in charge. Understand that customers have the power

Customers decide when they want to open your emails or engage with your messages. Understanding that your engagements must be on your customer’s terms, means you need to be able to react in real-time. Brands that use on-open technology
to ensure the content in their messages is always relevant, dynamic and adapts in real-time, achieve greater customer engagement and increased sales. One example is if a product becomes unavailable after an email campaign has gone out, brands need to be able to react to the situation in real-time by instantly swopping for an in-stock product on-open. This avoids the frustration and disappointment of showing something the customer can no longer buy. Another trick is to use real-time optimization in emails to show ‘live’ stock numbers that populate when the customer opens the message, not when it is sent, increases the urgency to buy.

The right products, in the right place. Using contextual data is key

Brands should avoid sending inappropriate and untimely offers and messages to their customers to prevent customer frustration. Brands need to utilize contextual data points such as weather, location or stock levels; as well as profile and persona data such as age, gender, browsing or purchase history. By doing so, the content of a marketing message can adapt based on the context of the customer, resulting in relevant and personalized messages with greater conversion rates. For example, when sending promotional emails, why not factor in your customer’s location so the message is relevant and more appropriate. If you want to encourage the customer to purchase in-store, the email can show the customer where their nearest store is, using their phone’s locational information.

So how can you win the digital marketing trophy?

Understand your individual customers

Make all your messages 100% unique

Each of your customers is different and unique, so you shouldn’t batch them together and send blast messages. Brands that connect real-time data with their goldmine of historical data are able to personalize their messages – making them tailored and unique to every individual – regardless of the channel used. Personalization strategies shouldn’t be focused purely on one channel such as email. Email can be the foundation but understanding where and how your customers interact with you is vital – do they prefer social, online or in-store? Then make sure their interaction with you on that channel or channels is personalized.

If a loyal customer returns to your website after browsing a shirt the day before, adapt the content on the homepage to show the range of shirts they previously looked at. Why not also add discount offers on countdown timers to encourage urgency to purchase. Or encourage cross-selling by suggesting related or complimentary products.

Also, treat your VIP customers differently to your less frequent customers. This can be done by showing your VIPs exclusive offer codes and product recommendations based on items you know they will like. This will make your customer know their experience with you is truly unique and amplify the levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Retaining loyal customers is key to keeping them onboard as brand advocates.

Mobile is non-negotiable. Including mobile data is a must

Marketers must understand it is a necessity to utilize mobile data within marketing campaigns. With mobile being the primary hub for all customer interactions via email, web, push notifications and apps, brands who optimize their messages to where your customer decides to shop will help enhance the customer’s experience. For example, if a customer bought a pair of shoes from you online, you can then infuence other purchase decisions by using geolocation data to send an offer relating to the shoes when they reach a certain radius around your store.

Once in the store, you could drive sales by using virtual beacon zones to send triggered messages to the customer. You can send them a message ‘in the moment’ – a trigger for a timed offer that can influence a sale, for example for a bag that matches the shoes.

Make sure you are using the right technology

It’s important to connect all the dots

Customers expect to be recognized, whatever channel they use, to make them feel happy and respected. Customers rarely shop in siloed channels, so acknowledging customers across all channels they wish to use and personalizing each touch point will dramatically enhance their experience with your brand, and they will be more likely to increase their average basket size.

Making sure all data points are connected is key so you avoid sending an email offer for a product the customer has just purchased in-store. Your customer might also be more open to influence on other items. Providing recommendations for products you know they will like based on what you know they have browsed online, their cart abandoned items or even what they might have browsed within your store. Making sure all these data sources are truly connected can ensure the experience you provide your customer, across any channel, is seamless and personalized exclusively for them.


Brands that understand and analyze their data, make use of real-time information, and connect all channels are the ones who get it right. They will perform better, beating benchmarks and make more sales. Brands who get it right provide the perfect digital buying experience for their customers, which means:

  • They always get relevant messages
  • They only ever see offers tailored to their needs
  • They never experience the disappointment of just missing out
  • They only receive relevant emails, eg they only see their size available
  • They save time shopping by never seeing a product that is out of stock
  • They never see a sale price for something they have already paid full price for
  • They always knows where their nearest store is

This ideal shopping experience is possible by making sure you work your data hard with a sophisticated real-time interaction management provider. Brands who get it right experience:

  • Boost in conversions
  • Increased profits
  • Noticeable surge in average sales uplift
  • Lift in customer engagement rates
  • Improved click-through rates
  • Enhanced customer loyalty
  • Impressive marketing ROI

What to do now

Marketers must utilize all data sources and information they have around them to personalize their brand’s marketing strategy.

Most marketers realize the importance of real-time personalization and the benefits of unique customer journeys, multiple sources of data insights and the growing need for contextualization. The key is understanding that every customer is on their own unique journey. Motivations to try, buy or stay loyal can change depending on the individual making the right choice. With SmartFocus you can deliver truly personalized experiences to ensure that you ‘own’ that moment. Use our technology to harvest and interpret data and create contextualized and highly personalized campaigns that are triggered by your customers’ behavior, not by your best guess. When you do this, we know you’ll be successful for years to come!

Topic Digital Marketing

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