Personalize or Lose – Personalization Drives Sales Online

How many times do you get upset at ads following you around for days on the internet just because in one ‘moment’ you had a quick search for something? Even worse is when your son borrowed your laptop for a minute to look up a new console game and now everywhere you go online it’s being sold to you?!

Relevance is everything in marketing and the holy grail of truly personalized marketing is becoming more of a reality. Gartner predicts that by 2018 companies with truly effective personalization technology deployed on their e-commerce sites will outsell by 30% competitors without the same level of personalization. This makes complete sense; a customer being provided with a personal experience, who ‘feels’ like the company or brand ‘knows’ them, will be happier with their interaction, ultimately make a purchase and come back for more! If you don’t feel understood or feel bombarded by what is now an ‘irrelevant’ piece of content such as search retargeting, then you might well take your business elsewhere. The e-commerce sites that get it right are going to be the winners in the market; creating a loyalty with their customers that many thought was becoming extinct in the age of the empowered consumer.

Currently there does appear to be a major mismatch between what companies and customers think about their relationship. According to research by IBM * businesses think they are doing a great job at understanding their customers and marketing to them effectively. 90% of marketers agree personalization is critical to their success whereas nearly 80% of consumers believe brands don’t ‘get them’ as an individual. Flip to the finding that 80% of marketers “strongly believe they have a holistic view of individual customers” and something is wrong? Customers are empowered, they have choice and they use it – if they have a bad experience anywhere along their path they will drop the brand like a stone and jump to the competition. If content isn’t relevant, if the journey has difficulties they leave; the study cites additional research from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark ** whereby “shopping cart abandonment continues to rise, reaching 73.7% in March 2015”. The digital customer will leave if expectations aren’t met; they jump from one site to the other ‘in’ the moment.

Marketers know they need to up their game in the age of the empowered consumer and exceed expectations at every step of the way. To drive personalization you need data; the good news is there is plenty of it, consumers leave a trail of data online that can provide a rich picture of their needs and wants. The behaviors on previous purchase journeys can inform, to an extent, the behavior on the next interaction. The interactions they had with a company via web, social, call center etc can also provide a rich tapestry of information for companies to inform how to market and interact with that customer in the future. Moving towards true personalization however cannot rely on past interactions alone; the consumer today doesn’t take a single path to purchase each and every time. Let’s face it – we are all fickle? We hear about a competitor brand via a friend or a web review; read a tweet advertising something and we look around. For companies this is a major threat to their continued commercial relationship with their customer. Consumers are not playing into a company’s profile of them all the time; they are existing ‘in moments’ along their path to purchase. When ‘in’ moment they can do the opposite to what was expected. This is why we believe true personalization won’t happen until you build a real-time model of engagement with existing and potential new customers.

Customer engagement needs to happen at many different levels; and it’s being driven by an explosion of technology that can align with a company’s marketing strategy to truly drive sales and revenue. Analytics can provide many different views on previous behavior and now predictive analytics can try and use that information to work out future behavior. Analytics can be used to work out what worked best before; when to engage, when not to; what is the best content to apply at what time – and it’s driving towards real-time personalization based on customer behavior ‘in’ moment. The ‘in’ moments are being worked out all the time but there are so many different types and routes it gets complicated.

Increasingly the ‘in’ moments are happening in interactions that are much more difficult to track and therefore provide an appropriate real-time response. The customer isn’t sat at their laptop browsing the web site all the time whilst logged in. Today they are more likely on their mobile, wherever they happen to be; browsing the web or interacting through one of the many social networks. How can you ensure you provide that customer with a personal experience? Their ‘in’ moment could be posting a message asking for advice from friends, reading reviews on a comparison site or posting a message around their intent to buy. The scale of these moments is staggering and to pick it up in real-time needs an intelligent machine learning solution. Understanding the context of the message they post and then delivering a personal experience around it in real-time will influence, impress and drive new revenue.

Chatterbox Labs’ leading product, Path 2 Purchase, monetizes real-time data streams to cut through the noise in billions of online conversations and pinpoint high value in-moment buyers across their path to purchase. We find consumers ‘in’ the moment, we have a contextual understanding of their intent and we provide this to our partners to monetize. We are at the cutting edge of the new wave of technology that can align with a company’s sales and marketing strategy to truly deliver a personalized experience for consumers; and today’s consumer is demanding that level of attention.

For more information please contact Andrew Watson, VP Strategic Alliances, Andrew@chatterbox.co or visit our web site www.chatterbox.co

*http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/46454.wss

**http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark/