Teams need to get educated if they want to move the needle with personalization

Serving personalized experiences means instilling a deep sense of understanding around new concepts, mentalities, and goals.

Director of Marketing, Dynamic Yield

A version of this article was originally seen on PSFK. An excerpt from Dynamic Yield’s comprehensive guide entitled “Vision to Reality: The Resources, Processes, and Cultural Mindset Necessary for Personalization Success, each chapter highlights critical areas organizations should address internally and includes expert POVs from a handful of the most trusted in the industry. Chapter one focuses on the importance of educating and aligning all relevant stakeholders before attempting to initiate any activity.

Companies across industries from all over the world are getting into the business of personalization at faster rates of adoption than ever before. At one time (not long ago), executives and marketers questioned the importance of tailored interactions on the customer experience – now, they’re asking how to deliver them.

A complex field with lots of moving parts and various potential applications that transcend marketing channels, without a proper ecosystem built around it, even the most comprehensive personalization tool will flounder to drive meaningful results.

Personalization is a full-fledged discipline

Like any marketing area of specialty within the org, effective execution relies heavily on selecting the right talent, orchestrating relationships and collaboration between departments and stakeholders, prioritizing initiatives, and then baking personalization into current workflows and processes for ease of implementation.

“It’s not an overnight magic button you can press and you’re immediately personalized.”

– Eric Meyers, Former Director of Optimization & Insights, BVAccel

When personalization meant connecting CRM data to an ESP for customization of a *|FNAME|* in the body of an email, it was easy enough for an Email Marketing Manager to connect with the Retention Specialist to make this happen. Although, poor data management practices meant this often backfired, leading to a less than optimal experience.

But long gone are those days, and today, the number of personalization use cases are so vast, marketers can no longer simply stop by Susie’s desk and request a CSV. file of the most up-to-date list of customers to import for the next email blast. Spanning channels, strategies, and teams, cross-functional orchestration of personalization is not just optional, it’s required.

“Success in personalization efforts are directly tied to the organization’s ability to store and surface a complete view of the customer. Even the most complex algorithms and tools will fail to deliver return on investment if they aren’t powered by sufficient data. Leadership must eliminate organizational silos and invest in technology to transform data into truly relevant experiences that drive measurable results over a non-personalized control.”

– Reid Bryant, VP of Data Science at Blue Acorn iCi

Download the Vision to Reality Guide by Dynamic Yield

Creating a culture of personalization

A strong executive sponsor must invest heavily in creating a culture of experimentation and educating the org, including various stakeholders and departments involved. Otherwise, a program will quickly lose steam from those who may not yet fully comprehend personalization’s impact on the larger business strategy or how it affects them, personally.

Doing so will foster acceptance and commitment, reducing friction from those more resistance to change — a problem faced by many organizations that can run the risk of stunting or even snuffing out new ideas and their blossoming programs.

“The biggest mistake we see companies making when it comes to personalization is not thinking through what’s involved when it comes to people, process, technology and culture change to make it happen.”

– David J. Neff, VP of Consulting, Clearhead (Accenture)

For those well-versed in the land of A/B testing, a test and learn mentality may already be a part of an organization’s DNA, naturally making the transition into the world of personalization more fluid. However, with a unique set of new applications and complexities, a deeper level of optimization is required to achieve true personalization. And therefore, previous notions, mentalities, KPIs, and sometimes even ways of operating when it comes to testing will have to evolve, level setting those entering the field.

Serving the right content to the right audience at various stages of the customer journey means instilling a deep sense of understanding around new concepts, mentalities, and goals. As well as championing the right folks, communicating individual responsibilities, and updating current ways of operating to improve efficiencies around the development of better customer experiences.

The trick to getting it right

Companies need to do their due diligence, ironing out how personalization fits into the larger business strategy – additionally, the exact impact of personalization on key stakeholders and their respective teams, jobs, responsibilities, and even MBOs. A vision for personalization should be well-documented, with clear goals set for what is wished to be accomplished, and communicated frequently and consistently to ensure alignment throughout the organization.

Only after all of this should a company attempt to launch a personalization campaign – with a higher likelihood of success, an early success story can do wonders for the acceptance and sustainability of a program.

Curious about the makeup of a typical personalization team? Be sure to grab your copy of “Vision to Reality,” and flip to Chapter Two, where you’ll find key functions, roles, and responsibilities outlined.