Rachel Eisenhauer Mon Aug 29, 2016

Today’s marketing industry is firmly rooted in the age of the customer. Digitally savvy consumers are constantly one step ahead of the brands they engage with and purchase from. Following the era of traditional, direct marketing, this shift of power was a long time coming – however, some organizations remain in the dark about how to effectively market to their audiences when the brand isn’t leading the conversation.

In our recent Adweek webinar, “Why you’re getting personalization wrong; The future of one-to-one engagement,” Brendan Witcher, Forrester Research principal analyst of e-business and channel strategy, joined SundaySky president Jim Dicso for a conversation about the marketing power of personalization. They discussed how to break away from the archaic notion of segmentation as a solution for personalization, and to build a personalized marketing strategy that delivers equal parts consumer value and business impact. If you missed the webinar, below are some of the top takeaways from their conversation:

1. During times of change, brands are responsible for keeping up with their consumers.

It’s a marketing lesson as old as the horse and buggy – consumer preferences change quickly. Every time a consumer interacts with an improved shopping experience, his expectations reset and the bar raises for marketers everywhere.

Companies must remain informed about their customers’ expectations and prepare to meet or exceed them; when they don’t, those brands are the first to go out of business. That’s why Forrester reports that 70 percent of marketers will focus on improving customer experience in the next 12 months, with personalization technology topping the list of ways they’ll approach that goal. Personalization is more than a combination of product reviews and peer recommendations – it’s the future of how brands and consumers interact.

2. Segmentation should be one element – not the sole data point – for personalization.

Traditionally, segmentation was the heart of personalization in marketing. A consumer would purchase a toaster, so the marketer would model his customer outreach strategies on that individual. However, in today’s data-driven marketing landscape, segmentation is one data point out of many at our disposal. Single data points can’t be used to personalize the customer journey; they’re often incorrect and they have a tendency to change over time. Brendan said it best in the webinar:

“Just because you know one thing about the customer doesn’t mean you know everything about the customer.”Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.45.14 AM

In the same vein, marketers shouldn’t send birthday emails or notifications about the day of the week and assume they’ve effectively personalized their marketing tactics. Where is the value to the customer in these touch points? Instead, create experiences that evolve with and reflect the customer journey. By providing real value to the customer, you’re setting your brand up for a loyal, deep-seeded relationship with that individual.

3. Treat customers as an audience of one using multiple data points.

IconsWhen marketers build dynamic, data-rich profiles of their customers, it allows them to leverage multiple data points to personalize messages on a 1-to-1, individual level. For Atlantis Paradise Island’s SmartVideo pre-arrival program, guest’s booking data is layered with segmentation data points – including guest type and property type – along with where in the pre-arrival lifecycle stage the guest is. All of these data attributes woven together drives added value for guests by providing relevant information and content based on what the resort knows about its guests.

Atlantis took this approach to getting personalization right. And as Brendan said, “Individualization done right doesn’t look like personalization… it just looks like a great customer experience.”

Replay our webinar with Adweek and Forrester, “Why you’re getting personalization wrong: The future of one-to-one engagement.”


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