5 tips for creating a personalization strategy to drive brand loyalty

Email has always been referred to as a relationship channel. It’s a channel that enables a dialogue with a customer. That being said, personalization needs to be top of mind for marketers as they focus on sustaining customer relationships and creating loyalty to their brands.

There’s a fundamental shift in the mindset of the consumer and they expect brands to know them. Did you know that 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences? It’s true. Consumers expect an experience that’s going to be valuable and personal.

Consider these five tips for advancing your personalization strategy beyond the norm:

  • Align and activate your data: With your data strategy, it’s important to: focus on the outcome, identify the data attributes that will allow you to achieve your objective, and understand how data helps to make the connections by peeling back the layers to truly get to know consumers. When it comes to activation, marketers need to put a plan in place. Integrating the data into your brands’ marketing ecosystem is essential to making use of all the information you have. Without the right integrations to maximize decisioning power, you may as well not even have the data.
  • Be timely with all decisions: You snooze, you lose! Marketers need to find the right customer, and provide them with the best (the most relevant and personalized) offer and deliver the message to their preferred device in the moment that matters the most. This is no easy task, but with the combination of a strategic vision and plan that’s enabled by technology, it is certainly achievable.
  • Create a content management plan: Batch and blast is a thing of the past. Consumers have grown to expect personalized content. In fact, 90 percent of consumers find personalization appealing, and those consumers are 10 times more likely to be your most valuable customers. As a marketer, it’s important to know and understand your customer segments so you can create unique content at the individual level. Evaluate your content strategy to determine if it needs any updating. Several companies are hiring dedicated content resources –  such as a digital librarian –  to manage all things content.
  • Align and optimize all channels: Removing channel siloes is a goal for marketers. Brands strive to integrate their email and social teams and have the desire to all work together in the customer’s interest. But at the same time, attribution comes into play and each channel team is hungry for their revenue. To avoid this conflict, several organizations have removed siloes and are unifying their teams, so all remain focused on the customer journey regardless of the channel. Having a centralized omnichannel strategy is key.
  • Test, measure and repeat: Measurement and testing are essential to the success of any digital marketing program. To be successful, marketers must: define their business objectives, map to KPIs and metrics, implement data connections, establish robust test designs, monitor performance and analyze and adapt. 

So be personal with your customers. There’s even an expectation that you’re going to predict what they want not only today, but tomorrow too. Using behavioral data to understand their past interactions with your brand (and others) will make your messages more personalized. Incorporating real-time marketing strategies into your programs will also help you to achieve a deeper level personalization. Performing or reacting in the moment shows consumers that you truly understand their lifestyle, wants and needs.

Be real. Be true to your brand, and to your customer. Understand the intention of email and the role personalization plays. Think holistically when planning for email, beyond the individual components, like subject line, that add value to personalization. For example, consider how you can develop an experience that speaks to the individual using the subject line, CTA, header, and creative symbiotically. The key to success is that the entire experience needs to be personalized. 

**This article first appeared on Loyalty360.