Marketing and communications are in a rapid pace of ongoing transformation. Not only is that transformation from offline to digital, it is also growing beyond its traditional role. What was once made up of direct marketing, sales promotion and PR has now grown to include augmented and virtual reality, messaging bots and artificial intelligence. Marketing is shifting from “demand generation” to focusing on user experiences. One of the more recent aspects of the user experience is the focus on personalization. The task becomes: how do we leverage data to deliver individualized experiences that create value for that specific person — without crossing the line and abusing data at the expense of that person’s privacy?
The key to walking the fine line between personalization and being creepy is understanding each customer as a person, deciding what the best experience for that specific customer would be and delivering that experience. Understanding the customer means looking in multiple places: a person’s location, their demographics, their behavior across different channels, purchase history and even their loyalty program status. All this data and more comes together to create a more complete and clearer customer profile. This profile is the difference between traditional personalization and hyper-personalization.
Hyper-personalization uses real-time data taken from multiple channels and touch points to build an extremely customized marketing strategy for each individual customer. In the past, personalization would include a customer’s name, location and purchase history. Hyper-personalization takes it to the next step by using browsing, purchasing and other behavioral data. Each customer receives a more involved and complex advertisement designed specifically for them.
This hyper-personalization strategy attracts even the most traditional corporations. McDonald’s recently announced that it acquired Dynamic Yield, an AI-driven personalization software vendor, for more than $300 million. For a company built around person-to-person contact since the 1940's to invest that amount in AI personalization is something to take notice of. McDonald’s plans to integrate the new technology into their drive-thru experience, mobile app and in-store kiosks. The software will recommend menu items to pair with their current order based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items.
This level of personalization can also create some concern. Brands must be weary of what customers will tolerate when it comes to their privacy. Some actions are more acceptable than others.
If used correctly, behavioral data can be a key component in building your customer experience. Collecting the right data leads to a more complex customer profile which in turn leads to better personalization in your advertisements. Whether you’re rolling out a new email campaign or looking to upgrade your landing page customer experience, hyper-personalization should be part of your strategy.
And if you need help building your brand's personalization strategy, contact J&C — the experts in the art and science of customer experience.