• Personalization

Everything You Need to Know About Personalization at Scale

Esat Artug
Esat Artug
March 3, 2024 · 13 min read
The Relationship Between Experimentation and Personalization for Customer Experience Optimization

Welcome to the future, where personalization isn't just a 'nice-to-have', but a 'must-have' across industries.

And we're not just talking about a few tweaks here and there. We're talking about personalization at scale - an approach so powerful that it's set to unlock between $1.7 trillion to $3 trillion in new value, according to none other than McKinsey.

That's not just a staggering figure; it's a whole new paradigm shift, impacting every sector you can think of — from e-commerce and healthcare to travel and beyond. It's like getting a custom-tailored suit, but for every single customer interaction, and on a global scale.

Sounds exciting, right?

But what does this mean for your business, and how can you leverage this massive potential to your advantage?

Well, you're in the right place. In this post, we're going to unpack everything you need to know about personalization at scale.

What Is Personalization at Scale?

Personalization at scale is an approach that businesses use to provide personalized experiences to a large number of customers. It's not just about tailoring a product or service for a single customer but doing so for thousands or even millions of customers simultaneously.

This approach leverages data analytics and artificial intelligence to understand customer behavior, preferences, and needs on an individual level. Then, it uses that information to deliver personalized experiences on a mass scale across various channels such as websites, mobile apps, email marketing, and more.

The goal of personalization at scale is to make each customer feel understood and valued, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and engagement, and ultimately drive business growth.

Despite the complexity involved in implementing this strategy, the potential rewards are significant.

The Benefits of Personalization at Scale

It's official: the era of one-size-fits-all, one-to-many experiences is over.

Today, it's all about individual-level experiences, tailored to meet the unique needs and preferences of each customer.

But here's the real game-changer — we're not just talking about personalized experiences for a handful of customers. We're talking about personalization at scale, a revolutionary approach that's rewriting the rules of customer engagement.

Customers Are Expecting Personalization at an Individual Level

As per the data gathered from various sources like McKinsey, Forbes, and Epsilon, consumers today are increasingly expecting personalization at an individual level:

  • According to McKinsey’s research, 71 percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And 76 percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

  • Another research by Salesforce found that 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, and 52% expect all offers to be personalized.

This shift in expectations stems from the desire for brands to demonstrate they understand their customers personally. In fact, it's been found that consumers reward brands that get personalization right. This involves leveraging data and behavioral science to tailor experiences for each customer, which goes beyond merely addressing customers by their names in emails.

Personalization at scale takes this concept and amplifies it, providing individual-level experiences to thousands or even millions of customers simultaneously. It's a powerful strategy that has proven effective in driving differentiation in retail and increasing customer retention and brand loyalty.

However, achieving this level of personalization requires access to real-time customer data at the individual level. Brands need to analyze current behavior, understand context, and predict future behavior to truly personalize the customer experience.

Moreover, the expectation for personalized interactions is widespread, with studies showing that up to 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions, and 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides tailored experiences.

In conclusion, personalization at scale is no longer a luxury but a necessity in meeting the growing demand for individual-level experiences. It's a critical strategy for brands aiming to meet and exceed customer expectations in today's digital age.

Better Experiences. Higher Conversions. More Revenue

Personalization at scale is not just a buzzword; it's a strategic approach that significantly impacts business outcomes. It primarily revolves around three key benefits: creating better experiences, driving higher conversions, and generating more revenue.

Better Experiences: Personalization at scale allows brands to tailor the customer journey at every touchpoint. It involves understanding each customer's preferences, behavior, and needs to deliver relevant and personalized experiences. This individual-level personalization can make customers feel understood and valued, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty. According to a study by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

Higher Conversions: Personalized marketing messages have a higher chance of resonating with customers, leading to increased engagement and conversion rates. For instance, according to Econsultancy, businesses that fully invest in online personalization will outsell companies that haven't by 20%. This shows how powerful personalized content and recommendations can be in nudging customers toward making a purchase.

More Revenue: The ultimate goal of personalization at scale is to drive business growth. By delivering personalized experiences that lead to higher conversion rates, businesses can increase their revenue. A report by McKinsey suggests personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales by 10% or more.

In conclusion, personalization at scale is a powerful strategy for businesses aiming to enhance customer experiences, boost conversions, and increase revenue. By leveraging data and technology, brands can create personalized experiences for each customer, leading to stronger relationships and improved business outcomes.

The Definitive Guide to Personalization

Learn how to deliver unique and personalized customer experiences to increase conversions

Why Do So Many Companies Are Still Struggling to Achieve Personalization at Scale?

Yet, despite its clear benefits, many companies are still struggling to implement this strategy effectively.

So why is achieving personalization at scale such a daunting task for many businesses?

Data and Content Challenges

Content and data silos are among the significant obstacles that hinder companies from achieving personalization at scale.

Content silos exist when content is stored in separate systems that don't interact or communicate with each other. This can lead to a lack of consistency and continuity in the customer experience.

It can also create inefficiencies and duplication of effort. Breaking down these content silos and creating a centralized, accessible content repository is crucial for delivering a consistent and personalized customer experience at scale.

Data silos, on the other hand, are when customer data is stored in separate systems that don't communicate with each other. This can create a fragmented view of the customer, making it difficult to deliver personalized experiences effectively.

For example, if a customer's purchase history is stored in one system, but their browsing behavior is stored in another, it becomes challenging to create a comprehensive profile that allows for truly personalized interactions.

Moreover, data silos can also lead to issues with data accuracy and consistency3, further complicating the personalization efforts. If one system has outdated or incorrect information about a customer while another system has the latest data, it can result in conflicting messages being sent to the customer.

In conclusion, both content and data silos pose significant challenges to personalization at scale. Overcoming these obstacles requires an integrated approach where customer data and content are accessible across all systems, ensuring a unified and personalized customer experience.

Technology Challenges

Similar to content and data silos, technology silos occur when different systems or applications within an organization are not integrated and cannot communicate with each other.

This disjointed technological infrastructure can hinder the flow of information and create a fragmented view of the customer, making it difficult to deliver personalized experiences.

Another significant challenge is the use of technologies that are unable to scale to meet the needs of personalization at scale.

As personalization efforts grow, so does the amount of data that needs to be processed and analyzed. If the technologies in place cannot handle this increased load, it can lead to performance issues, delays, and inaccuracies in delivering personalized experiences.

To overcome these challenges, organizations need to invest in scalable technologies and ensure their various systems and applications are well-integrated.

How Can Organizations Create Personalization at Scale

Importance of Unified and Streamlined Data

customers interact with businesses through various channels, including websites, mobile apps, social media, email, and physical stores. Each of these touchpoints generates a wealth of data about the customer's behavior, preferences, and interactions. However, if this data is stored in separate systems (data silos) that don't communicate with each other, it's challenging to get a complete and accurate picture of the customer.

This is where the importance of unified and streamlined data comes in. To effectively personalize experiences at scale, organizations need a comprehensive, 360-degree view of their customers. This means integrating data from all sources and touchpoints into a single, centralized system or platform. This unified data platform can provide valuable insights about each customer's journey, behaviors, preferences, and needs.

For example, by unifying data, a retailer could know that a particular customer first browsed their website looking for a specific product, then later mentioned the brand in a positive light on social media, and finally made a purchase through the mobile app. This comprehensive view enables the retailer to understand the customer's journey better and deliver more relevant and personalized experiences.

Furthermore, streamlined data ensures that the data is clean, organized, and ready for analysis. Data streamlining involves removing duplicates, fixing inconsistencies, and dealing with missing data. This improves the quality of the data, making it more reliable for decision-making and personalization efforts

Importance of Fully Integrated and Synchronized MarTech

Marketing Technology, or MarTech, refers to the tools and software used by businesses to plan, execute, and monitor their marketing campaigns. Examples include CRM systems, email marketing platforms, social media management tools, analytics platforms, and more. These tools can generate a wealth of data and insights that can be leveraged to deliver personalized customer experiences.

However, to maximize their effectiveness, these MarTech tools must be fully integrated and synchronized. In other words, they need to be set up in a way that allows them to 'talk' to each other and share data seamlessly. This is important for several reasons:

  1. Holistic View of the Customer: When your MarTech stack is fully integrated, you can gather data from all touchpoints of the customer journey. This gives you a 360-degree view of your customers, helping you understand their needs, preferences, and behaviors more deeply.

  2. Personalized Interactions: Integrated MarTech tools can enable more personalized interactions. For example, your CRM might contain information about a customer's past purchases. If this data is shared with your email marketing platform, you can send personalized product recommendations based on those past purchases.

  3. Efficiency and Productivity: A synchronized MarTech stack can improve efficiency and productivity. Instead of manually transferring data between different systems, integration allows for automatic data sharing. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors.

  4. Better Decision Making: With an integrated MarTech stack, you can have a consolidated view of your marketing metrics. This can lead to better decision-making, as you can see what's working and what's not across all your marketing efforts.

AI and Automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are indeed game-changers when it comes to personalization at scale. Let's break down how each contributes to this process:

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI has the ability to analyze vast amounts of data much faster than any human could. It can sift through countless data points to uncover patterns, correlations, and trends that may not be immediately apparent. These insights can then be used to predict customer behavior. For example, AI could analyze a customer's past purchases, browsing history, and social media interactions to predict what products or services they might be interested in next. This allows businesses to tailor their marketing efforts to individual customer preferences, significantly enhancing personalization.

  2. Automation: Automation refers to the use of technology to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intervention. In the context of personalization, automation can be used to deliver personalized content at exactly the right time through the right channel. For example, an automated email marketing system could send a personalized email to a customer as soon as they abandon their shopping cart, encouraging them to complete their purchase. Automation ensures that such personalized interactions happen consistently and timely, enhancing the customer experience.

When AI and automation are used together, they can enable real-time personalization for large customer bases. AI provides the insights needed to understand each customer's preferences and behaviors, while automation ensures that personalized content is delivered promptly and consistently. This combination allows businesses to deliver highly personalized experiences at scale, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty, and ultimately driving business growth.

Experimentation and Continuous Optimization

Achieving personalization at scale is a process that involves constant experimentation and continuous optimization. It's not a one-and-done task, but rather an ongoing effort to improve and refine your strategies over time.

  1. Experimentation: This involves trying out different approaches to see what works best. You might experiment with different types of content, different delivery channels, different personalization techniques, and more. The key is to keep trying new things and learning from the results. For instance, you might find that personalized emails work better for one customer segment, while personalized social media posts work better for another.

  2. Continuous Optimization: Once you've conducted your experiments and gathered data, the next step is to analyze the results and make necessary adjustments. This process of continual improvement is known as optimization. It involves using the insights gained from your experiments to refine your strategies and make them more effective.

By continually experimenting and optimizing, businesses can ensure that their personalization efforts are as effective as possible. This approach allows them to stay responsive to changing customer preferences and market trends, ensuring that they continue delivering personalized experiences that resonate with their customers and drive business growth.

Start Customer Centric. Start Scaling Personalization.

In conclusion, personalization at scale is not just a marketing strategy but a philosophy that focuses on delivering tailored, meaningful, and relevant customer experiences. As we've seen throughout this article, achieving personalization at scale requires a deep understanding of your customers' needs, preferences, and behaviors.

It's about making every customer feel understood and valued.

Starting with a customer-centric approach is the first step towards scaling personalization. This involves developing a detailed user journey and identifying every moment you can personalize. It's about using what you know about a customer to make interactions more relevant to them.

Scaling personalization is about extending these personalized experiences across all aspects of your business. It involves leveraging data-driven insights to continually refine your strategies and deliver highly relevant customer experiences.

But remember, personalization at scale is an ongoing journey. It requires continuous experimentation and optimization to ensure that your efforts remain effective as customer preferences and market trends evolve. It's about being ready to personalize any and every customer touchpoint based on immediate context as well as historical data.

So, start customer-centric. Start scaling personalization.

The Definitive Guide to Personalization

Learn how to deliver unique and personalized customer experiences to increase conversions

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