Personalization has been the future of marketing for nearly two years. The migration of social media from a tool for people to keep up with friends, to a network for business opportunities, has given companies the chance to speak to their customers individually.
Integrating personalization is a challenge. While technological advances have made it possible for companies to segment their customers more narrowly, according to a survey by Kahuna, over 85% of companies state that their audience segments are 'too broad', with 35% of B2C marketers in the US stating that compiling a comprehensive view of their customers is an 'extreme challenge'.
Lacking the relevant technology is a considerable barrier, with legacy systems often standing in the way of updates. According to the Kahuna survey, 46% of companies felt that legacy technology was the biggest barrier they faced, making it difficult for them to understand customer buying behavior. In retail - a sector which was quick to pick up on the trend - it was reported that nearly one-third of top companies still lack the capabilities to implement an effective personalization program, causing them to send out promotions to datasets that are likely to have no interest in the offer.
This will need to change in 2016. And thankfully, the majority of companies already recognize this. This year, 75% of marketers will be prioritizing personalization. This will not only include applying it to campaigns, but also training. There is, however, still a lack of confidence and this could lead to companies missing out on important opportunities.
One company that has seen personalization help with its campaigns is STA Travel, a student focused travel agent which helps tailor trips. In Social Times it states: 'STA Travel, a youth-focused travel company, used an Offerpop quiz to better understand the interests of their audience and direct them to personalized travel options.' This gave the company a wealth of customer data to help deliver personalized offers.
Some of the best examples of personalization have also been through media streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix. Amazon is often seen as the pioneer of personalization, being one of the first companies to recommend its customers products based on previous purchases. This is commonly seen now across a number of industries, but there's scope for increased sophistication in 2016.
Personalization isn't an option in the mobile era. It's a mandate. Across channels and devices, consumers are likely to act, buy, and recommend when marketers serve up messaging that's tailored to their wants and needs' states the Kahuna survey. This has been the case since 2014, but now the companies which fail to keep up with it will find that they lose their customers far more readily.