The Evolution From Segmentation To Individualization

Kelly Gentile August 31, 2016
The Evolution From Segmentation To Individualization

Earlier this week we recapped our Adweek webinar “Why you’re getting personalization wrong: The future of one-to-one engagement,” by highlighting three key takeaways. We emphasized how important it is for brands to meet consumers where they are, debunked the belief that segmentation is personalization by stressing that businesses need to instead move towards individualization, and portrayed how Atlantis Paradise Island utilizes the cornucopia of data they have to turn customization into true personalization. Brendan Witcher, Forrester’s principal analyst of e-business and channel strategy, defined “Personalization 2.0” by noting that the process of achieving it is a natural component of maturing marketing strategies, and is, by no means, a revolution against current marketing trends. We’re not dropping segmentation, but augmenting it to work towards individualization.

Below are Brendan’s recommendations for achieving the next level of personalized marketing maturity. Read it with your brand in mind to see where your team falls on the spectrum:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.52.15 AMIdentify gaps in your ability to deliver individualization.

Looking internally at where your organization is not collecting customer data or delivering real-time experiences.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.52.15 AMTake off your channel blinders and consider every step of the customer lifecycle.

Whether you own the e-commerce website or the customer support function, aim to create a better customer experience across the entire organization, not just within the channel you are responsible for. Great experiences are seamless and cross-channel.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.52.15 AMDesign each digital touch point to both use and collect customer data.

Always have data collection and real-time personalization in mind when strategizing each touch point. Are you collecting data and delivering a personal experience as seamlessly as possible?

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.52.15 AMBe overt in your data collection process, but covert in your personalization tactics.

Make sure customers are aware of the data you want from them, and show them why you want that data by delivering value to them in return by making their experiences with your brand more comfortable for them even in the smallest of ways.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.52.15 AMDeliver contextual, relevant experiences that fit for each individual customer at their moment of need.

Design every engagement with the customer’s wants and needs as a guide; there is no longer room for brands to be pushing their agenda on customers.


Throughout the conversation, Brendan and our president Jim Dicso agreed on multiple points, but one that really stood out was:

“On the surface, individual-based marketing doesn’t look like personalization; it simply looks like a great experience.”

To achieve the 1-to-1 level of personalization consumers expect, brands must deliver seamless experiences that are catered to customer preferences and needs. The truth is personalized storytelling has the power to drive tremendous business value, and in order to reach their full potential brands must start striving to achieve this new level of personalization.

Therefore, as your brand continues to form new relationships, focus on personalizing customer experiences from the very first interaction. Listen to customers’ preferences, raise your team’s standards for defining personalization, and strap in for a journey to your personalized marketing goal; rather than a quick trip to a set destination. By doing so, your brand will find itself with personalized marketing tactics that scale just as easily as they enrich customer experiences and increase your bottom line.

Replay our Adweek webinar with Forrester, or let us know how your team is doing compared to the checklist in the comments below!