Executive Q&A: How Individualization Can Enhance the Customer Journey

by Marissa Sternberg, Senior Director of MarketingMay 7, 2019

Executive Q&A: How Individualization Can Enhance the Customer Journey

In a world where mobile is dominating the shopping experience, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands hold a distinct advantage. No longer do they need physical retail locations to reach consumers. Mobile shopping has reduced the barrier to entry and enabled a modern channel to change the way brands sell products and consumers interact with brands.

But what about brands that don’t rely on direct-to-consumer relationships, or brands that rely exclusively on their retail partnerships to build awareness for their products and relationships with consumers? Marketers for these brands have to focus on the end-to-end customer journey to grow and build loyalty with valuable consumers. One of the biggest opportunities for non-DTC brands to enhance the customer journey is to individualize the experience, or deliver individually relevant content, products and offers to customers across channels.

To learn more, I spoke with OneSpot’s VP of Product Javier Aldrete about how individualization technology can transform the customer journey and enable non-DTC brands to build deeper relationships with consumers.

OneSpot (OS): How are non-DTC brands leveraging individualization today? What’s working and what’s not working about the standard approach?

Javier Aldrete (JA): The traditional approach has been mostly around “personalization” through broad segmentation by characteristics like geography, age, and gender. Unfortunately, this approach falls short as it provides a smaller degree of relevance, resulting in lost opportunities with potential customers. On the other hand, visionary brands have embraced “individualization,” or one-to-one personalization, to drive engagement, which in turn fosters brand trust and deeper, more valuable relationships. These brands are individualizing their experiences across channels to drive deeper engagement, boost action rates, and ultimately increase conversion rates.

OS: Where are the biggest opportunities for non-DTC brands to connect with consumers?

JA: The biggest and most strategic opportunity is building first-party data. For too long, non-DTC brands have relied on paid data (via advertising or other platforms like Facebook). Now, they are focused on building their “owned” data to have more visibility into their audience and gain control over their strategy and efforts. Acquiring their “owned” data stores will allow them to build strategies to develop deeper relationships with consumers throughout the customer journey. Using the insights culled from their owned data stores, they can create individualized customer experiences based on consumer behavior and preferences. This also enables non-DTC brands to collaborate better with their partners, especially retailers, by increasing their brand awareness with consumers, developing trust, and driving qualified and engaged customers to retailers at much higher rates than before.

OS: How do marketing leaders in these organizations need to think differently about their strategies to reach consumers along customer journey? And what data can they use to guide their thinking and decision making?

JA: As mentioned before, building their first-party data as it relates to unknown and known users is the initial step. I would also encourage marketing leaders to think differently about conversions and commercial efforts. Traditionally, non-DTC brands have avoided the “in your face” approach to drive sales on digital channels. Instead, they have focused on the top-of-funnel content experiences to build consumer awareness, education, and trust. Unfortunately, this has led to a misalignment between branded efforts and the efforts of their retail partners.

With the new individualization technologies available, they can have their cake and eat it too! They can educate customers and earn their trust by delivering content that’s relevant to their stage in the customer journey, while also nudging customers toward conversion without coming across as “salesy” or intrusive. With individualization, brands become part of the customer journey in a natural and relevant way.

OS: How can individualization technology support brands in building deeper relationships along the customer journey?

JA: Here at OneSpot, we recommend delivering the “right” content at the right time to create individualized experiences throughout the customer journey. Our individualization platform provides contextual content recommendations for content, products, calls to actions, and offers based on a user’s interests, rather than what they’ve purchased, carted, or abandoned in the past.

How this differs from traditional marketing technology approaches is that we don’t promote one “trendy” article to everyone or follow a visitor around your site spotlighting the same product page after page. Instead, we recommend articles and products we think they might be interested in based on the content and products with which they’ve engaged in the past, and the page they are currently on.

Bring People Closer to the Content That Matters

Whether a visitor is engaging with your brand for the first time or the fifth, OneSpot’s Individualization Platform delivers the most relevant piece of content to 100% of your site visitors and email subscribers. Request a demo to find out how individualization can help deepen relationships with your audience by driving meaningful engagement and boost purchase actions through content relevance.

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