In this article you will learn:
What is individualization?
Brands today are no longer vying against competitors in the same vertical. What they’re truly competing with is customer expectations. Each time a consumer is exposed to an improved digital experience, their expectations for ALL of their experiences are reset to a new higher level. So not only is the bar always being raised, but what sets that bar varies for each consumer based on their unique experiences and preferences.
That means individualization—personalizing the customer experience on an individual level—is now integral to your brand’s marketing strategy. We’ve created an on-demand webinar to help you add it to your strategic toolkit, featuring advice from Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Brendan Witcher as well as Formation CEO Christian Selchau-Hansen. Their guidance will help you determine what changes to make, and how to get individualization right.
3 things brands get wrong about individualization
These are a few of the common strategic flaws companies make that our speakers explore in our webinar:
Flaw #1: Using segmentation to make decisions about customer experiences
Segmentation won’t help you personalize to your individual customers, because trying to guess at customer preference based on large groups is highly ineffective and mostly inaccurate. As Brendan explains, “you have to realize that personalization based on segmentation provides a wrong experience for most of your customers.”
Flaw #2: Too quickly assuming you know a customer using a single data point
How many times have you experienced something like this: you click on a social media ad for paleo meal delivery. For the next month, you’re flooded with ads for every meal delivery service under the sun, yet most don’t meet your dietary needs. These brands and algorithms are assuming that just because they know one thing about you, they know what you’re interested in—which is clearly not true.
Flaw #3: Looking too quickly to check the box on delivering “personal” experiences
Some brands will try to personalize aspects of the customer experience that are not very meaningful, like putting a personalized photo on the “My Account” dashboard, or sending a celebratory message on the customer’s birthday. These things are specific to the customer but provide them no real value, and as a result, they won’t deliver lift for the brand.
How to improve your individualization strategy
In order to deliver customer-obsessed, personalized experiences, your brand needs a marketing strategy that’s not just just data driven, but data led. In the webinar, Brendan explains the difference between these two terms, and shares the critical steps that you’ll need to take to become a data led organization.
“Without a data strategy, you have no personalization strategy. [...] And customers want to share information with you. 80% of US online adults said they would feel comfortable sharing at least some kind of information in order to have their shopping experience personalized. Now how do you do that? Well to get customer data you have to provide perceivable value.” ~Brendan Witcher, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester
Finally, Brendan’s talk will walk you through which major brands are getting it right, and where some others have gone wrong. Key examples include strategies and tactics from JetBlue, Fabletics, USAA and Sephora.
Moving from segmentation to true individualization
The second part of the webinar, led by Formation CEO Christian Selchau-Hansen, focuses on how to move from segmentation to individualization. Brands normally start on the path to personalization with segmentation, and then move to microsegmentation, trying to reach smaller niches in an effort to achieve more personalized relevance. Unfortunately, microsegmentation is very resource intensive, so it simply can’t scale to the individual level.
Formation was founded to help brands master personalization and achieve individualization—reaching a segment of one. Christian examines how individualized offers achieve this goal, and explains what offer types he recommends for brands who want to reach 3x greater revenue versus segment-based offers.
“Individualization is a strategic advantage. BCG has found that personalization and the people who do it right will see a dramatic shift in terms of revenue. That consumers are increasingly choosing where they do business based on this relevance. [...] The world today has over the last two months shifted in a kind of an unbelievable fashion and consumer engagement with digital channels has just skyrocketed. And the recovery is going to be driven by context that's unique to each customer. [...] So your ability to react and participate in that recovery [will be] driven by your ability to understand that customer and where they are.” ~ Christian Selchau-Hansen, CEO, Formation
Lastly, Christian’s talk explains how Formation helps companies change their approach in three steps: understanding their customers through data, automating personalization based on those learnings and optimizing over time. Christian delves further into each of these steps, and how your marketing team can implement them to deliver value.
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