Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have helped marketers take personalization beyond one-size-fits all content or product recommendations. Marketers now have the ability to deliver individualized experiences across channels. For example, brands can offer adaptable mobile experiences and website content that closely align with the individual’s profile on a one-to-one level. Or, imagine individualized home pages, category pages and product pages based on visitor behavior, rather than just their basic demographics or geographies.
These are the types of individualized experiences that consumers have come to expect from brands. According to eMarketer, 85% of internet users specifically expect and accept personalization as a part of their online retail experience. At the same time, 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content appears that has nothing to do with their interests. And further studies show that consumers aren’t creeped out by personalization. They actually respond positively to it in many ways:
- Forrester reports that 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.
- Infosys reports that 59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decisions.
- Salesforce reports that more than half of B2C consumers and nearly two-thirds of B2B buyers say they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.
Based on these insights, brands clearly have an opportunity and a need to double down on individualization. They just need the sophisticated tools to do it. This is where brands are challenged—according to Forrester, nearly two-thirds of marketers identify personalization as a top priority for their brands, but more than half also say they lack the technology to do it.
Automation and machine learning are central to creating and executing tailored, dynamic customer journeys that include personalized and curated emails, social media interactions, website landing pages, and product suggestions based on customer preferences and behaviors. How can brands rise to the martech challenge to find and adopt the tools that can enable this level of personalization?
The latest MarTech Intelligence Report from MarTech Today shares a few ideas:
1. Determine If You Need an Enterprise Digital Personalization Tool
Start by evaluating your organization’s business needs, staffing capabilities and resources. Start by answering a few questions:
- What are your goals for digital personalization? Improving customer engagement? Enhancing brand loyalty? Increasing conversion? Understand and get buy in on the goals.
- What digital personalization capabilities do you need? Prioritize the available digital personalization features based on your most pressing business needs.
- Can you successfully integrate a digital personalization tool with your existing systems? Investigate which systems the vendor integrates with – whether natively or via API – and find out if they offer seamless reporting and/or execution capabilities with outside vendors.
- What will you measure? Make sure you have an understanding of your reporting needs and what information teams need to improve decision making.
2. Identify Applicable Vendors
Once you’ve determined that enterprise digital personalization software makes sense for
your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities. Make a list of all the personalization capabilities you currently have, those that you would like to have, and those that you can’t live without. This last category is critical, and will help you avoid making a costly mistake. Start with the vendors that meet your “must have” criteria.
3. See and Compare
Once you know what you’re looking for in a personalization tool, it’s time to compare vendors. As you start meeting with vendors, pay close attention to three things:
- How easy is the tool to use?
- Does the vendor seem to understand your business and your marketing needs?
- Are they showing you your “must-have” features?
To dive deeper, check out our ultimate content personalization technology checklist.
4. Do Your Due Diligence
Once you get closer to locking on a vendor, take the time to validate your thinking with customer references. Get in touch with a primary user of the platform, and preferably for a brand that’s similar to your business. Try to understand why the reference chose the platform over others and if the vendor has lived up to expectations.
For more insight on choosing the right content personalization solution and additional tips for building out your personalization strategy, download your free copy of our personalization planning guide—The Game Changers Guide to Individualizing Content Experiences.
Marissa leads marketing at OneSpot.