Building blocks of personalization, block 3: Role of content

*This completes the 3-part series: The building blocks of personalization. If you missed the others, see block 1, achieving a 360-degree customer view through data capture and block 2, making data useful.

As 2018 came to an end, did you take time to reflect on the successes you achieved?

For many, personalization has been front and center as marketers continue to enhance their programs by incorporating technology advancements to implement their strategic vision towards 1:You communications.

Throughout the year, I’ve shared building blocks of personalization around achieving a 360-degree customer view through data capture and making data actionable while gaining an enhanced customer view. To complete the three building blocks of personalization, here I’ll explore the role of content and why it’s so important to keep it consistent to achieve your personalization goals.

Channel preferences

Now that you’ve developed your personalized messaging strategy, knowing which channel to communicate in (mobile, email, direct mail, etc.) along with the time of day to send the message is important.

Understanding customers’ channel preferences is essential and often times consumers don’t have just one channel preference. Do your research and don’t make assumptions regarding your customers’ channel preferences. For example, 68% of Gen Xers use coupons they receive in the mail and are more likely to receive paper bills and send birthday cards through USPS instead of email. Clearly direct mail is an active channel for this segment.

However, it’s important to understand all channel preference. Gen Xers also actively make purchases in social channels and have a preference towards Facebook shopping. In addition to having insights into channel preferences, marketers need to have a consistent content strategy prepared and available to ensure they’re ‘talking to’ their customers with the same message, regardless of the channel.

Relevance and consistency

Relevant and consistent content is essential to effectively communicate to customers and achieve 1:You. When establishing your content strategy, consider creating a library of content so you’re prepared to deliver unique content to each customer.

For example, if you’re in the travel industry, curate a number of images that reflect different travel interests and life-stages of your customer base. This proactive approach to content planning, with technology ready to active content in real-time, will allow you to reach your personalization goals in a planned and timely manner.

Machine learning

Enabling technologies like machine learning allow us to achieve personalization at scale. Loyalty marketing efforts have advanced with the integration of recommendation engines and the ability to identify the next best offer along with content profile matching.

For example, eBay is starting down the path of an enhanced personalized customer experience by using machine learning to drive better results. Their holistic approach includes utilizing larger data pools for decisioning for real-time interactions, product recommendations and channel preferences on a continual, around-the-clock basis to learn what is working and what is not. No two emails, product recommendations or curated purchasing paths are the same.

Machine learning is even defining what colors and pictures are more successful; and it’s automating the process of improvement allowing humans (marketers, product managers, etc.) to better focus on strategy versus managing a campaign. Success is leading to the expansion of machine learning into search analytics, the creation of citizen data scientists and voice-assisted interaction to ensure the experience along with content is relevant regardless of the channel it’s delivered in.

It’s an exciting time for marketers in the era of personalization where 1:You messages are achievable. And get ready, because there’s lots more coming in 2019.

*The original version of this article appeared on Loyalty360.