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The Dynamic Duo: How Data and Technology Are Transforming Personalization

Technology can often be seen as a magic bullet that will solve all your organization’s problems out of the box. The fact of the matter is, data is the fuel, and technology is the engine of the operation. Data is critical because it allows businesses to gain insights into their target audience and tailor marketing efforts to better meet the needs and preferences of individual customers at scale.

In a recent Forrester report, A Data Primer For Consumer Personalization, they share that marketing personalization efforts can’t happen without a strong strategy fueled by customer data:

“Data fuels contextual understanding and informs customer, content, channel, and trigger. Unsurprisingly, data is a heavily discussed issue in research interviews…Identify what data you need. Make a list of what consumer or customer data you need to execute a specific personalization tactic — and then determine if you are already collecting that data to execute.”

Below, we expand on this concept with our own findings and best practices.

Step One: Strategy

By collecting and analyzing data on customer demographics, behaviors, and interactions with a brand, businesses can create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with their audience. This can be done through techniques such as segmentation, which involves dividing customers into groups based on shared characteristics, and then creating customized marketing messages and experiences for each group.

Additionally, data can be used to optimize the timing, frequency, and content of marketing messages, as well as to personalize the customer journey across different channels and touchpoints. Overall, the use of data can help businesses to create more personalized and relevant marketing experiences that are more likely to drive engagement and conversions.

What to Include in Your Strategy

To build a data strategy that can fuel CX personalization, follow these steps:

1. Define your personalization goals: What do you want to achieve by personalizing your customer’s experiences with your organization? Do you want to increase customer loyalty, reduce churn, increase sales, etc.?

2. Identify the data sources that you will need: What data do you already have, and what additional data do you need to collect to achieve these goals? Consider both internal data sources (such as customer service records and sales data) and external data sources (such as call center collected data, market research, etc.).

3. Determine how you will collect and store the data: We’ve seen our clients find the most success when a cloud-based database solution is used. This should be accessible to your entire organization from marketing and IT to sales and service so each business group is utilizing the same customer profiles that can update as new information is gathered.

4. Develop a plan for using and analyzing the data: How will you use the data to personalize the customer experience? If you’re collecting new data, think about how you will use it through the customer journey. What tools and techniques will you use to analyze the data?

5. Link anonymous visitors to a customer profile: Are you struggling to connect the dots between anonymous website visitors and your customer profiles? It might be time to consider an identity resolution solution or a first-party data capture strategy. This can help bridge this common gap, giving you a more complete view of your prospects, enabling you to tailor your marketing efforts more effectively to previously unknown contacts.

6. Implement and monitor your strategy: Put your plan into action and regularly monitor and assess its effectiveness through analytics. Adjust as needed to ensure that you are meeting your CX personalization goals and learn from what works and what doesn’t.

It's important to remember that a data strategy is not a one-time effort. You should regularly review and update your strategy to ensure that it is still aligned with your personalization goals and that you are effectively using the data you have collected.

CMO + CTO Partnership to Make it Happen

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) should work together to make personalization at scale happen by leveraging technology to gather, analyze, and act on customer data. The CMO should provide insights into customer needs and preferences, and the CTO can help to identify the technologies and systems that can be used to support personalization efforts. Here are some specific ways in which the CMO and CTO can collaborate to drive personalization at scale:

  • Develop a shared vision for personalization: The CMO and CTO must define the goals and strategy for personalization and ensure that it is aligned with the overall business objectives.
  • Integrate personalization into marketing campaigns: The CMO can work with the CTO to ensure that personalization is integrated into marketing campaigns across all channels, including email, social media, and paid media efforts.
  • Test and optimize personalization efforts: Together, marketing and IT can test and optimize personalization efforts to ensure that they are delivering the desired results.

The bottom line is that brands are reaching for “personalization at scale,” but without a strategy to lead the charge and work towards specific goals, it’s an uphill climb and often feels like an impossible feat.

Want to learn more? Check out our other technology strategy blog posts here.