Cutting coupons from newspaper inserts, or getting a 20% discount on random products is not the way to win the hearts – or dollars – of the modern consumer. According to Marketo, 79% of consumers said they’ll only use a brand’s promotion if it is tailored to previous interactions. And in our latest survey of 2,000 consumers, 79% agree that the more personalization tactics a brand uses, the more loyal they are to that brand.
The consumers have spoken: Personalized promotions are more important than ever before for brands that want to increase customer engagement and loyalty, and reap the benefits from greater customer lifetime value (LTV) to increased sales and revenue. A vast majority of consumers, 73%, said the brands they engage with the most recognize them on a one-to-one level, and 81% of consumers are willing to share basic personal information in exchange for a more personalized experience.
Marketing promotion strategies have changed dramatically over the past decade, evolving from marketing tactics planned long in advance, to more agile, real-time personalization that relies heavily on consumer-driven data. Such 1:1 promotional strategies enable brands to engage better with consumers, and incentivize the actions they’d like consumers to take – whether it’s influencing through social media, increased number of visits to a store or website, or making more frequent purchases.
Delivering personalized promotions or offers requires going further than typical segmentation or microsegmentation, which has been the norm in marketing for generations. It requires understanding what makes each individual customer tick – including how they decide to make a purchase, demographics, shopping habits and other preferences.
With more focus on digital marketing, and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into the MarTech stack, this type of granular personalization is possible. These technologies are being used to bring together disparate data sources, then quickly analyze the data and deliver insights on customer preferences. Once that has been done, the technology helps automate the process of developing and fine-tuning personalized promotions – such as discounts, loyalty rewards, giveaways or a combination of incentives – designed to influence that customer's behavior.
It’s not just a coincidence when your favorite brands recommend other products you might like, or they just happen to send you an offer for a discount on your favorite snack just before you happen to be heading out for a coffee break. This is personalized digital marketing at its best.
Consider the My Starbucks Rewards program. Starbucks Corporation’s goal was to become the most personalized company in the world. To achieve that, it launched this loyalty program that rewards members gold stars each time they pay for purchases using their mobile app. Customers can earn more rewards and achieve higher levels with each purchase they make, and get other unique benefits too. The rewards program guides customers on their own individual journeys to increase buying frequency and discover new products. By using AI and ML to power the customer insights for gamification and personalization, Starbucks has increased its marketing efficiency by 2x and marketing execution 10x faster.
If you've ever shopped on Amazon, no doubt you've gotten emails or in-app notifications recommending other products that could potentially interest you, based on past purchases or search history. Amazon is one of the leaders in using personalized marketing to not only engage consumers, but to upsell customers and bolster their financial results. Such personalization has resulted in Amazon continually seeing double-digit sales and revenue growth. In 2019 net sales grew by 20% to $280.5 million, thanks in large part to its marketing promotion strategy.
Beauty brand Sephora continually ranks as one of the top retailers for personalized marketing. The reason: the company has "perfected personalization in a multitude of ways, from marketing to customer service, to personalized experiences, both in-store and in-app and online, knocking it out of the park a couple of years ago with an app that allows shoppers to virtually try on makeup via 3D augmented reality mirror," according to RIS. And, through its Beauty Insiders loyalty program, Sephora connects with customers when their favorite products are in stock, and offers frequent free gifts to encourage more visits to the website or store, and more purchases.
Your company doesn’t have to be a multinational powerhouse like Starbucks, Amazon or Sephora to leverage personalized digital marketing to get consumers’ attention and see the benefits from it. What these companies have achieved is not dumb luck – it’s strategic, and something that brands of any size can do with the proper mix of tools.
Data is at the foundation of personalized marketing, and it can come from a variety of places: customer demographics from loyalty programs; data from various organizations within the company, from sales and marketing to customer service; third-party sources.
But access to this data is not enough. This is where you AI and ML. These technologies help to bridge the silos of data, pulling it all together and analyzing the constantly changing information to deliver real-time insights. AI and ML are also a key component for the automation required by marketers to continually test and fine-tune the personalized offers and promotions they are developing for each individual customer.
There are many ways you can use these insights in your marketing promotion strategies. For example, you can re-engage customers who may not have visited your website or store, or made purchases in the past month by sending them an offer, such as their own unique discount, or free gift if they make a purchase. You can gamify the experience, like Starbucks, to use consumers' competitive nature to get them to visit stores more often, make more purchases on a visit or try new products. Or, you can use SMS messages to create more intimate channels of two-way communications with your consumers, while adding a mobile marketing component.
The key is leveraging customer data to engage customers with individualized offers, according to their motivations and interests.
These are just a few examples of how brands can leverage personalization marketing, and break free from the limitations of the generic discounts and promotions that they have relied on in the past. By implementing solutions powered by AI and ML, and accessing an array of data sets, you can tailor promotions that will not only engage customers and incentivize their actions, but also deliver the business results you seek, from increasing customer LTV through greater loyalty or driving up sales and revenue.
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