Why You're Probably Not Doing Personalization Well Enough

Chris CrumBusiness

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SAP's hybris released some interesting findings about how companies use personalization. In short, the company found that brands are failing at personalization at the expense of customer experience.

Is personalization a significant part of your efforts? How do you personalize the customer experience effectively? Discuss.

Hybris commissioned the study, which was conducted by Forrester. It polled 1,200 consumers and 200 advertising and marketing professionals at organizations with 500 or more employees.

It found that while 66% of marketers rate their personalization efforts as "very good" or "excellent," but only 31% of consumers think companies are consistently delivering personalized, cross-channel experiences.

It also found that 40% of consumers say most promotions don't deliver anything of interest. Meanwhile, 40% also say they receive too many offers and promotions.

So in other words, people are getting too many marketing messages that they find meaningless. That's not good. 37% of consumers say they delete most email offers and promotions without even reading them. 40% of consumers have unsubscribed or opted-out because they feel overwhelmed.

Of those reporting less than satisfactory personalization experiences, 61% said they were somewhat or much less likely to take advantage of future offers.

"Because consumers are sharing so much personal data with brands, they expect value in return – in the form of transactional perks and improved customer experience," hybris says. "While most marketers seek to improve personalized customer experiences from this customer data, their strategies are immature and their marketing efforts are falling short in this regard. Many still rely on segmentation methods that target certain demographics, such as a specific age group, which is not nearly enough to engage customers."

The survey found that 70% of consumers say they're aware that companies use personal info to send them targeted offers, and 74% are "somewhat" or "very comfortable" with companies using data about them to provide personalized experiences.

66% of marketers use demographics to create targeted content offers, and 44% say they use demographic categories to create personalization for unidentified prospective customers, but half are using more sophisticated methods like leveraging data extracted from loyalty programs (52%) or behavior-based data (48%).

91% of marketers are prioritizing improving customer experience through personalization over the next year.

“Consumers today are bombarded with more marketing messages across more channels than ever before, and the vast majority of these communications are irrelevant,” says Charles Nicholls, SVP Product Strategy, Marketing Solutions at SAP Hybris. “For this reason, it’s paramount that organizations are able to break through the noise and engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. To make this a reality, marketers must go beyond traditional personalization and towards contextualization by leveraging real-time signals of customer intent at the moment when the customer chooses to interact with the brand.”

Just 16% of marketers have the capability to capture customer intent and deliver real-time, behavior-based marketing across all channels, but more sophisticated marketers are starting to get it right, the study suggests.

You can find the full study here.

What makes you think you're doing personalization right? Let our readers know in the comments.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.