The numbers say it all: Consumers are demanding rich, personalized experiences.
Did you know that 73 percent of consumers prefer to do business with organizations that personalize their shopping experiences? And 86 percent say personalization plays a role in their buying decisions?1 That’s a pretty solid reason for ensuring that your organization knows your customers well and has a strategy in place to meet their expectations.
Yet despite the fact that customer enhancement is one of the top priorities for marketers, only 15 percent believe their company is successful in delivering great customer experiences2.
So how can this number be improved? Consumers have become more discerning in their expectations and the task of aligning disparate media is growing more complex. The average consumer possesses more than seven connected devices and uses three or more daily. Yet marketers see just one.
And an overwhelming 89 percent of customers express frustration by the context lost when they switch between channels.3
Personalization leads the way to delivering excellent customer experiences
In a recent online survey, 450 senior marketing executives were asked to rank components in delivering a best-in-class customer experience. Leading the list of multiple components were:
- Data management and audience profile reconciliation, maintaining a holistic view of customers.
- Personalization, including the customized versioning of marketing content intended to provide an individually optimized user experience.4
Content, audience management and campaign management followed closely.
In the same survey, nearly 40 percent of the panelists cited lack of sufficient audience data as an obstacle to developing and managing customer experience strategies. Close behind were “siloed organization structure and / or fragmented technology management” (38.3 percent) and “lack of measurement and analytics tools supporting customer experience (32.8 percent).5 These obstacles limit the ability to develop effective audience insights for use in elevating the customer experience.
Overcoming these challenges is critical not only to maintaining, but to significantly improving, your customer relationships and experiences. You must understand who your customers are, what their product preferences are and how they prefer to shop. You must be able to target your communications to reach the right customer on the right device (remember, they might have seven), at their moment of need.
Setting top priorities to improve personalization efforts
More big numbers continue to tell the story:
- 88% of all CEOs stated that getting closer to the customer is the most important dimension to realize their strategy in the next five years.6
- 66% of CMOs stated that developing deeper and richer customer experiences was at the top of their priority list.7
Organizations are embarking on specific initiatives to intensify the depth of their personalization efforts, including the critically important cross-channel customer identify efforts, as well as improving persistence of content personalization (that is, delivery of personalized experiences without requiring customer identity verification).
Many are also looking for strategic partners for support, including:
- Provide measurement and analytics tools to support their customer experience efforts
- Support their efforts across channels
- Provide enhanced strategic advisory services.
Elevating the customer experience is a complex undertaking, with many variables. But it is not impossible. And when you look at the numbers, the incentive is clear: Companies fully invested in personalization will lead the competition.
If you would like to be among the 15 percent of marketers who believe your company is successful in delivering great customer experiences, we invite you to read:
Elevating the customer experience, a Winterberry Group and Data & Marketing Association report, sponsored by Pitney Bowes.
1 Digital Marketing Trends for Retail and E-Commerce in 2016. Jonathan LaCose, INC, Dec 2015
2 Data & Marketing Associations’ 2018 Statistical Fact Book.
3 4 secrets of customer loyalty from successful retailers. Chad Hendren, Retail Customer Experience, 2016/
4 Elevating the customer experience, A Winterberry Group report, April 2018.
5 Elevating the customer experience, A Winterberry Group report, April 2018.
6 IBM Institute of Business Value
7 IBM, Global C-Suite Study