For the last few weeks, we’ve been exploring the challenges brands are facing when personalizing customer experiences and the latest trends surrounding personalization. But before you read any further, be sure to check out parts one and two of our personalization series if you missed them.

Our Guide to Personalization Activation in 2020

Personalization is becoming the prime driver of marketing success. As you develop and activate your personalization strategy, here are some of the capabilities, skills, and new approaches you’ll need to succeed.

1. Behaviors vs. demographics

Demographic information (age, gender, location, past purchases, etc.) is useful for knowing your customers. But that information leaves out a critical piece to the personalization puzzle—your customers’ behaviors. To succeed with personalization, you need to base your strategy on real information about customer behavior, not on hypothetical personas built solely from demographic data. In particular, you should focus on why your customers are buying from you when they’re making purchases and their reasons for buying the things they buy.

2. Omnichannel personalization

Omnichannel personalization involves offering customers a cohesive, seamless, and relevant journey across all channels. With an omnichannel strategy, you need to recognize your customers wherever they are—social media, email, website, or in-store—and serve content based on their interactions across all channels. This can include data from all your digital sources, enhancing the in-store experience through the use of location beacons. Or it could mean an email dedicated to the products your customers were browsing on your website.

3. Personalization at scale

With an omnichannel strategy, you need to recognize your customers wherever they are—social media, email, website, or in-store—and serve content based on their interactions across all channels.

As we discussed earlier, scaling your personalization strategy is a challenge that most brands face. It requires several key steps: centralizing your data; the ability for your marketers to make decisions based on that data; and the ability to execute those decisions across channels. To get started, take a look at these three areas and determine what you need to beef up: your data centralization, decision-making processes, or cross-channel execution?

4. Relevant and targeted content

Content fuels the personalization process. As you build out personalized content, consider your consumers’ needs and pain points to produce content that is truly useful to them. For your message to resonate, it’s less about how great your product is, and more about meeting their needs.

5. The right data

Understanding the right data to collect and leverage is a critical piece of effective personalization. But many brands are challenged because their data isn’t unified or usable. You need a complete picture of all your customers’ purchases, preferences, identities, and behaviors. And a technology platform that allows you to centralize that data, access it, and extract insights from it.

6. Martech infrastructure

Having the right underlying martech infrastructure is essential for personalization success. Investing in a customer data platform (CDP) enables brands to automate how they capture data, process the analytics of customer journeys across all touchpoints, and execute campaigns in real-time.

7. Media strategy alignment

Your customer doesn’t care where they are—on social media, Google, or your website—they want to experience your brand in a way that’s relevant and valuable to them. Your first-party data, personalized content, and messaging can all be leveraged across all touchpoints, including in your paid media strategy.

Download the full report

Personalization at Scale: Easier Said Than Done

The demand for personalization is growing. But for it to be done, and done right, brands must successfully activate personalization across channels and media, as well as do so in a manner that provides applicable value to customers.

We hope our Personalization Activation Guide gives you an understanding of how the personalization landscape is changing, how customer expectations are evolving, and how you can develop and activate a personalization strategy that engages your customers and drives sales.

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