Got Hyper-Personalization?

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What do you get when you integrate customer transaction history, online behavior data, and social information? You get a powerful foundation for creating individualized customer messages: hyper-personalization.

Let's say you have a customer named Betty. A product recommendation specifically for Betty, the individual, is much more relevant than one aimed at the “Brand-Conscious Betty” customer segment.   If you've ever worked in retail or CPG, you've likely come across a similarly-named customer segment at one time or another. Customer segment marketing allows brands to communicate with Betty in a more targeted manner, but still falls far short of speaking to Betty as an individual. When you speak to Betty as the unique customer she is, we call this hyper-personalization.

“So,” you say, “this is all well and good, but how do I speak to my one million (or 100,000 or 10 million or 50 million) customers in a hyper-personalized way?  That's crazy talk!”

And to this we respond: If you set the proper data foundation, you can speak to all of your customers as individuals. The key is combining all your disparate customer data sets (transaction, online behavior, demographics, social, etc.) into one combined database with integrated information for each individual, creating a complete profile for each of your customers.  Powerful algorithms are then applied to the individualized customer profiles to determine the most relevant, hyper-personalized communication for each customer. Marketers who don't have the tools or analysts in-house to develop these algorithms should work with companies with expertise in advanced customer analytics and personalization.

You already have a data repository of Betty's purchases from your website. Many of you already collect online behavior information—what Betty does while she's on your site, what items she clicks in the emails you send her. But how many of you also try to understand how Betty lives before marketing to her? With social media so pervasive in our lives today, Betty is likely participating in at least one of the social networks, telling you about what she likes, her life events, her activities and more; she's telling you how she lives! In just five years Betty, and so many others like her, has shared information that gives brands the ability to speak to Betty as an individual.

Betty is not interested in what Brad or Brenda wants; she's interested in what Betty wants. When you speak to her about what she wants, you make Betty's life easier. And Betty becomes more loyal to your brand and buys more stuff. Side effect of using social data to hyper-personalize your messages to Betty? You can now relate your social media spending to revenue, capturing that elusive social media ROI.

Social information has made this revolution in personalization a reality. Now, not only can you speak to each customer about what she's bought or what she's looked at on your site or what customer segment she's in, you can also bring how Betty lives into the mix by integrating what she's shared with your brand on social networks. Today, social data can be pulled into and integrated with other customer data to better understand and communicate with each of your customers. Welcome to hyper-personalization!

Patricia Blair is vice president of marketing for Nectar Online Media.

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