One of digital marketing’s buzz-iest buzzwords is personalization. Marketers are talking about it. Businesses are implementing it. You know you need it. But what is it, exactly?
Personalization helps customers feel like they’re directly connected to your brand, instead of just being part of the masses. Who doesn’t want to feel like the brands we love care about what matters to us? And for brands, that focus on getting as close to 1:1 marketing as possible leads to increases in loyalty and conversion.
Since the beginning of the Internet, people have sought use the web to form personal connections. While that might sound like the introduction to an eHarmony commercial, it extends beyond just connections with other individuals. We are now following and interacting with our favorite brands; we have a direct line to them. The same way we expect a person we’ve had a conversation with to remember our name and a couple key points from our discussion, we expect brands to know who we are and what we’ve “talked” about with them. That is the core of personalization.
So What is Personalization, Exactly?
The simplest, most textbook definition of personalization is the practice of customizing a digital experience to a user’s specific needs and interests, using data collected from the user. Personalization, ideally, is an automated process that combines data collection, real-time segmentation and complex algorithms to provide users with an experience that truly resonates with them. An experience can be personalized through any of the following methods: remembering customer site preferences, tailoring recommendations and offers to their purchase history, automatically recognizing what country they are in, etc.
The first step to a personalized experience is knowing who your customers are. What's their geographic location, what site referred them to yours, what device are they using to view your site? Once you’ve collected information on both known and anonymous users and segmented them by trends, you can begin to personalize for each customer segment. As you’re serving up a customized digital experience, you’re also testing different aspects -- from headlines to button placement -- to continually improve your customer’s experience and increase conversion.