Personalized marketing is nothing new, but it is evolving. In the 1990s, websites started tracking the data left behind by content consumers to gather key insights to their visitors and their activity. The more data they could collect on individual users, the more they could personalize their products and services to appeal to them one-on-one.
However, what started as a pretty simple data and preference collection is now growing more complex, as today’s consumers expect highly personalized marketing. They expect emails that identify them by name, they want ads featuring clothing in their own personal style and size, and they want brands make recommendations on what to buy next based on their last purchase.
How critical is personalization?
According to Accenture, more than half of consumers prefer businesses that use personalization in marketing – which comes as no surprise. The average consumer is being served up to 10,000 pieces of marketing content from brands per day, according to the American Marketing Association. How does one keep up? Here are three technology trends marketers interested in personalization should know about today:
- Third-party platforms like Shopify can automate messages, retargeting and segment consumer lists to a granular level, even for large e-commerce operations. Third-party platforms and apps are the go-to resource for tracking consumers through ID numbers, making it easy for brands to see them across all their devices. It also helps with predictive recommendations and upselling a customer with add-ons or products they are anticipated to like.
- Location services are a boon to retailers and services that market online; who hasn’t been tempted by a mid-day message from a local coffee shop or an offer for an after-work barre class nearby? Knowing where customers live, shop and work is critical for a personalization machine to run smoothly. That’s where the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation comes in to gum up the engine. The regulations require that certain data be stripped in order to ensure consumer anonymity, potentially making it difficult for some personalization models marketers are using today. Since the regulations are both for the EU and EU citizens, wherever they may be, this is important. The GDPR is going into effect late May 2018, stay tuned for more updates!
- Interactive video is becoming more popular with consumers by the day, in part because it’s fun and feels personal. Unlike static content, the videos are engaging and willing to respond. The exciting part? Marketers can glean so much more data from individuals, collecting more insights based on their interaction with the videos. Customers are entertained and marketers and brands are better informed. It’s a win-win.
Today’s digital content consumers expect thank you notes for signing up for services and for buying products. They expect invitations to brand events that look like invitations from their friends. They’re still interested in special offers, but those offers need to be on-point and relevant to them, personally. The need for marketers and the brands they serve to use data for personalization has never been more acute – and it’s a trend that won’t be going away anytime soon.