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Personalization Trends for 2020: What Digital Marketers Should Know

The insightful people at Gartner predicted a few years ago that by 2020, smart personalization engines used to recognise customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits up to 15%”.

When we talk about personalization we picture delivering tailored, relevant communications to the right customer at the right time to provide a richer experience. In reality, many companies are still some way off from delivering on this.

The challenge we see for companies is that both B2B and B2C customers have come to expect a personalized experience from the companies they engage with. Brands such as Amazon, Netflix and Spotify, in particular, have without doubt raised the bar by delivering personalized experiences and recommendations to their customers, in turn increasing customer expectations and putting pressure on other companies to do the same. The issue is, however, not everyone has the budget to deliver a similar experience.

Over two-thirds (69%) of consumers indicate they want an individualised experience, whilst two-thirds are expecting it. This expectation is also being mirrored with B2B customers who have an even higher expectation for personalization.

Personalization has the potential to increase sales and revenue, with 80% of consumers indicating they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalised experience. It can also be a major differentiator and influence which brands people prefer and lead to greater customer loyalty. Surveys conducted over the last few years have revealed that almost two thirds (61%) of consumers are now loyal to brands that tailor experiences to their needs and preferences.

So with all these benefits in mind, here are some trends we feel companies will be utilizing in 2020 to improve personalization:

A better understanding of users

Person browsing a eCommerce website

Personalization is not just about who is visiting, it’s truly understanding the WHY. Context is king and that is why “Plug & Play” products that rely on demographic data alone usually fail to hit the mark, they lack the users’ motivations, expectations and habits.

Without knowing the context of each visit, personalization tech can’t be fully optimised for relevance. It simply doesn’t know the full data story.

  • Is the user shopping for themselves or a loved one? 
  • Have they abandoned to compare prices elsewhere or been surprised by hidden costs? 
  • Are they window shopping for bargains or researching a purchase?

To answer these key questions, marketers must complement demographic insights with a real-time context that paints a holistic picture of the customer journey, from the first touch-point to last.

The use of AI to better sift data

A sign with 'Data has a better idea' written on it

According to data from Experian, which surveyed over 250 data management marketers, the biggest challenges marketers face regarding personalization are gaining insights quickly enough, having enough data and having inaccurate data.

The growth of AI, machine learning and deep learning technology address this challenge head-on. This can allow marketers to take personalization to a whole new level, using data as the voice of the customer to match and tailor digital experiences to customer journeys.

Deep learning technology provides more personal and accurate data points, enabling more accurate personalization recommendations. This allows marketers to:

  • utilise insights and recommendations on industry trends, consumer behaviour, and intent signals.
  • experiment with new personalized experiences — testing messages through the funnel.
  • ensure that content and messages reach the right customer at the right time in the right format and on the right channel.

Better understanding/use of design and User Experience

Person writing down user goals

With the knowledge and technology in place to provide more connected customer experiences, it’s vital that organizations structure themselves around the customer. Organization design is a key yet often overlooked component of building an agile organization.

Companies can no longer afford to look at their customers from siloed marketing, sales and customer success perspectives and will need to structure accordingly. Edelman Digital describes this process as experience planning that helps to build content and messages from the customer’s perspective.

Want to learn more? Check out more of our latest insights.

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