Close Enough Isn’t Good Enough: From Mass Personalization to True Individualization

We’ve all been there – an email from a retailer you shopped recently begins promisingly with your name, but veers off into offers that don’t fit your interests, purchase behavior, or expressed preferences. Sometimes, you can even hear the sad trombone noise as you click delete.

A “close enough” customer experience simply isn’t good enough anymore. Gone are the days of using a first name to “personalize” a mass email and patting oneself on the back for a marketing job well done. Today’s savvy consumers have 24/7 access to a broader set of options, and when they share information about themselves, they want and expect brands to provide individualized offers, delivered in real-time.

Using data-driven marketing to move beyond basic segmentation into true one-to-one individualization in a real-time context is the next big step for today’s marketers. It means using data in a more integrated manner to enable agile, more accurate decision-making so customers receive not just a segmented, minimally personalized offer, but one that truly matches her unique needs and preferences – an offer that’s individualized especially for her.

According to the Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey: Progressing Toward True Individualization, marketers are moving to create experiences catered to each individual customer. In fact, four out of five marketers report they’ve made it a priority to deepen their understanding of customer behavior beyond transactional data, and 85% use that additional data to drive their marketing.

So what’s the significance of this shift?

Marketing executives are prioritizing a more holistic understanding of their customers across all interaction points, because that depth of understanding sets the stage for true individualization. Marketers remain focused on driving customer acquisition and retention, with 38% of marketing executives reporting that as their largest challenge in the 2015 survey. The answer to that elusive question lies, always, with the customer experience. Customers who are satisfied, delighted, and engaged with brands are customers who are inclined to continue choosing that brand experience – and share it with their friends.

Knowing each customer on an individual level is essential to making meaningful connections with each customer, and that knowledge begins with marketers developing a single and continuous view of the customer – one that’s based on integrated data. The research shows that marketers are making measurable strides to gain this valuable customer view. In 2013, only 18% of marketers claimed to have a single, integrated customer view, but that number jumped to 43% in 2015.

Once customer insights are identified, it’s also important for marketers to leverage them, by delivering the individualized messages across all channels so customers have a seamless experience. Currently, though, 44% of marketing executives identify delivering a seamless omni-channel experience as a challenge within their organizations, mainly due to organizational silos.

While marketers control more data than they did a year ago, Marketing and IT still need to work collaboratively, to connect the touchpoints throughout the enterprise and create the most effective customer experience. Now, 84% of companies surveyed are actively pursuing this partnership – a substantial improvement from 2013’s findings.

Four out of five marketers also report internal data silos impede a single customer view and ability to deliver a seamless, omni-channel experience. A vast majority of marketing executives (92%) agree that integrated data across teams can enable the delivery of relevant offers and interactions to drive improved customer service. However, today’s marketers are well-positioned to present a compelling business case for investing the time and resources necessary to fully integrate their customer data.

By breaking down internal data silos, aligning IT and marketing, and following data-driven marketing processes, marketers can begin to tackle the challenges of creating a holistic and integrated approach to customer data and continue the movement toward delivering a truly individualized customer experience – and ensure emails are delightful, rather than deleted.

Learn more about developing, maintaining, and nurturing stronger, more loyal customer connections with individualized insights here.

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