The Right Data is Key to Personalized Marketing

September 1, 2020

With the hundreds of marketing emails that an average person receives each day, it is easy for your brand’s marketing efforts to get lost in the crowd. Even with focused targeting, improving click-through rates (CTRs) is a difficult task for most digital marketers despite the wide array of tools and techniques at their disposal.

One-third of all marketers believe that personalization is the one key element that will drive marketing in the future. When personalization in marketing first emerged, it gave marketers the ability to distinguish themselves from the generic, commonplace bulk emails and marketing communication many organizations typically rely on. Back then, it was a breath of fresh air to see an email addressed to you rather than the whole wide world.

Wider adoption of marketing automation software and customer relationship management (CRM) software over the last few years allowed for a greater extent of personalization, including not just the customer name, but also specific pieces of information like their company names, relevant interest areas, and even customized discounts and offers for different customer segments.

Organizations, today, collect customer information at every touchpoint. From website forms and subscriptions, to details of how a customer landed on their website and what held their interest, information on what they purchased or added to their basket, companies have access to enough first-party user information to create a 360-degree representation of the customer journey. With the vast volumes of data organizations have at their disposal and the tools available for personalization, one would imagine a utopian world of near perfect personalization for every customer. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.

Marketing Misses Due to Digital Pollution

While most organizations today have scaled up their data collection capabilities, there is much room for improvement in their abilities to verify and validate the data for accuracy, completeness, consistency, relevance and duplication. What ensues is an unfortunate case of digital pollution, with marketing communication often being sent out to the wrong people, with the wrong information. Poor quality data is more common than you think and according to a report by Zoominfo, as many as 94% businesses believe that their customer data is inaccurate!

If you have ever received a marketing email that addresses you by the wrong name or an incorrect pronoun, you are probably familiar with the frustration it creates and the irresistible urge to hit unsubscribe. As customers, we have come to expect the brands we engage with to know us, especially when we have time and again been prompted to share our personal information with them.

On the upside, personalized marketing results in higher customer engagement, retention and loyalty. Research shows that emails with personalized messages have an 18.8% open rate, compared to 13.1% for emails without any personalization. Personalized emails also deliver up to 6x higher transaction rates. Other forms of personalized marketing, including advertising, too, have demonstrated similar incremental results.

However, the downside, especially in situations of data gone wrong, is the risk of losing a customer or losing an opportunity for conversion, simply because your perfectly crafted message was delivered to the wrong recipient. Bad data leads to bad marketing outcomes, and in more damaging cases, can also affect your business decision-making.

With personalization emerging as a norm – a bare minimum from the customer’s standpoint – ensuring that your data is clean, correct and complete has become a necessity. Some solutions and vendors are also available for filling in some gaps in data using publicly available information. Many organizations also offer rewards to customers for sharing additional information (including their experience with service and product quality) through surveys.

Recognizing this need, many organizations have brought in data governance experts to unify and validate their customer data and create what is commonly termed “golden records” for each customer. Some other companies have cultivated internal processes and practices for checking data coming in from different sources (website, retail, call center, etc.) and converging it into a unified record that can be traced back to its source and can be verified.

Emerging Solutions for Personalization

As is the case with most technology-driven offerings, early adopters of solutions for personalization tend to reap the most benefit out of them. Innovative solutions can help marketers differentiate themselves from their competitors, improve customer recall and while also delivering greater engagement and returns.

With online content consumption veering increasingly in favor of video, personalization in marketing videos is expected to be the next big thing in digital marketing. Solutions like AmetIO personalized video have already demonstrated tremendous returns for early customers. With 4 times higher conversion rate compared to standard video marketing, AmetIO can help brands onboard new customers, sell or upsell more and establish themselves firmly in their customers’ minds. In addition to marketing and sales, personalized videos can also be used for customer retention and building brand loyalty through personalized care. Flexible solutions like these allow for varied degrees of personalization, based on the data your organization has on the customer and their preferences.

However, data quality is foundational for personalization of any kind, and even the most advanced personalization solutions will be ineffective unless your data is clean, accurate and complete. The objective of personalization is to speak to your customers on an individual level, and that is possible only when you have the right information, in a format that is usable and fit for the channel you plan to use. With a combination of quality data and innovative personalization, brands can finally find a competitive edge that won’t dull with time.

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