Personalization: Tomorrow is Now

Personalization as the nice-to-have of yesterday has become table stakes today, and the cost of doing nothing has become too high. Brands must start personalizing the customer experience and journey, now.

Director of Marketing, Dynamic Yield

– Jeff Bezos, Letter to Amazon Shareholders, 1997

Tomorrow is now.

You have to start personalizing the customer experience and journey. Customers no longer make exceptions for brands that fail to deliver engaging, personalized experiences.

The topic has taken over industry marketing blogs and forums. It’s featured in webinars, talked about at conferences, and reported on from some of the top research firms in the field. Best-of-Breed solutions are building out their personalization capabilities as part of their marketing suites and eating up smaller point solutions to ensure their foothold in the market.

So, while some may operate under the assumption that personalization is just some new fad in an ever changing landscape of digital marketing tactics, or that a business can continue to float by without truly investing in personalized, individual experiences…

Well, it’s not. And, they can’t.

(P.S. If you want read further, be sure to check out our free book on Amazon.)

My, How the Market Expectations Have Changed

Rather than have some state of the art technology figure out their interests and delight them with products they undoubtedly love, most consumers prefer to customize web interactions for themselves.”

– Personalization? No Thanks. HBR 2001

We saw customer frustration at being targeted outweigh any benefit.”

– E-Tailer Customization: Convenient Or Creepy? New York Times 2012

These were the conversations of yesterday. But the tone has changed…

Customers know that companies need more of their data to deliver personalized experiences and the majority are on board with that.”

– 2016 State of Marketing, Salesforce

Meet the World’s First Personalization Technology Stack
Personalization, Recommendations, Behavioral Messaging, Testing & Optimization in a Single Platform

This survey of over 7,000 consumers worldwide shows just how far customer expectations have come:

  • 58% of consumers say it’s absolutely critical or very important for companies to provide a personalized experience.
  • 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.

And Big Brands Have Taken Notice

At Dynamic Yield, we have the opportunity to talk to hundreds of retailers, publishers, and consumer brands every year, and we’ve noted a vested change in the vernacular marketers are speaking with.

Three to five years ago, the word personalization barely appeared in an RFP. Across many of the global markets we serve, companies are now coming to us specifically looking for personalization. Conversations centered around personalization are taking place in the board rooms of top retailers and being communicated back to investors.

The company continues to be focused on three strategic areas for growth in sales, earnings and cash flows in the years ahead.

(i) Maximizing personalization

(ii) Driving the omnichannel business

(iii) Customer centricity

– 10K, FORTUNE 100 Retailer

51% of marketers said they planned to increase their spending on personalization this year. And with its ability to deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales upwards of 10%, you can expect that number to rise.

It’s not just one retailer. Personalization has been cited by Gartner as the #1 strategic investment area for retailers in 2017.

What’s Hot in Digital Commerce 2017, Gartner

It’s All About the Customer

Personalization is part of a larger systemic shift in marketing, dwarfing previous approaches to customer centricity with a more holistic, individualized approach to the entire customer experience.

Forget that amateur {“First Name”} gimmick, true personalization is customer engagement’s older, more mature cousin–on the side of the family that’s better looking, well-respected, and all around more successful. I’m talking about advanced targeting, behavioral messaging, dynamic content and product recommendations, as well as onsite/in-app customization.

And thankfully, because this is only an analogy, you don’t need to commit unlawful acts to marry up and into the personalization family in order to reap the benefits of its status and power.

But you will need to compete for its hand, as over the next five years, personalization is set to push a revenue shift of some $800 billion to a mere 15% of companies that get it right.

When it comes to customer experience, everyone is chasing the hyper-personalized digital experiences of current leader in personalization, Amazon. The guy cutting into your bottom line.

– How Amazon’s Brand And Customer Experience Became Synonymous. Forbes 2016

And while this goliath has redefined consumer expectations and set the bar pretty high, 41% of U.S. consumers claimed they would shop elsewhere if personalization were improved.

That leaves a huge opportunity open for retailers who never before thought they could go head-to-head with the likes of Amazon. Screw, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” You can beat ‘em if you invest in the right personalization strategy.

The intention of this post wasn’t to just throw a bunch of stats at you, but the bottom line is that personalized customer experiences are now table stakes in retail and beyond and the cost of doing nothing has become too high.

So, whether you’re a marketer considering personalization for the first time – or moving beyond simple customization techniques and into implementing sophisticated strategies, the time to make this a part of your brand’s mission is now.