Driving Value At Scale With Human-Centered Personalization
Brands that personalize at scale are not just winning online, they are educating people to expect nothing less. 80% of customers expect a tailored experience on the web according to McKinsey. Spotify, for example, has trained users to expect tailor-made playlists and music recommendations every day. Spotify’s VP of Engineering said, “We like to say there is no ‘one’ true Spotify. Essentially, there are [286 million] versions of the product, one for every user!”
But personalization at scale has also led to a crisis of conflicting expectations, as people are increasingly unwilling to share their data with brands because of privacy concerns and lack of trust in digital advertisers.
In the following article, we present some of the key findings from Ogilvy Asia’s latest report in partnership with Adobe and Verticurl, designed to help brands deploy tech-enabled, human-centered personalization strategies that put users’ wants and needs first. Click here to download a copy of the full report.
1. Collect Data Fairly
Personalization depends on your knowledge of customers, and that means personal data. Until recently, marketers could acquire some forms of personal data without people explicitly agreeing to it. That situation is changing, and we should adjust our approach from data acquisition to value exchange. A future-proof personalization strategy depends on making a fair offer to people that is clear about what data you will collect and what value customers will get in return.
Today more than ever, brands need to figure out a logical exchange of value for data that is relevant to their customers, looking beyond the obvious route of discounts and promotions, to explore other non-monetary value exchanges.
Data collected without consent is not just unethical, it is ineffective. Going forward, brands should choose quality data over quantity.
2. Analyze Data With Empathy
The value of personalization is based on understanding a person’s unique requirements. Even with abundant data, how do you understand what a person truly wants? “Technology is just the enabler,” says Waheed Bidiwale, Global Vice President for Verticurl, the marketing technology arm of Ogilvy. “We need to understand human needs and correlate that back to what content and offers we are going to present.” Your data will only be as strong as your empathy — how you infer from basic information to insights about what people want. Without a strong analytical framework informed by emotional intelligence, personalization can feel like automatic surveillance and targeting and fail to bring you closer to your customers or motivate the customer reaction that you want.
Today it is possible to update a customer profile in real-time based on their behaviour, enabling you to learn continuously and react accordingly. “For instance, if you know a family that owns a small car loves going on road trips, they might need a bigger car,” says Bidiwale. “If you can track those signals, then you are able to convince them to upgrade to an SUV. Once these emotional inferences are fed into the system, technology does the rest.” Achieving this requires a shift in mindset on segmentation, from fixed segmentation to advanced segmentation.
Experiences can be customized and still feel impersonal. Look beyond superficial details and uncover people’s true goals to guide personalization.
3. Respond to Data With Authenticity
With a data collection system and a framework for analysis in place, brands need to be able to react and deliver personalized responses along the customer journey. But how do brands personalize and still maintain their authentic voice?
Maintaining brand authenticity is particularly important to consider in the context of social commerce. Social commerce can refer to integration of commerce tools into your owned social media, partnership with social media influencers on promotions, or adding social features to your online sales platforms. Whatever the case, social commerce demands more flexibility in terms of who gets to create your brand experiences. How do you make sure the brand story you are telling percolates through social commerce partnerships, and still give influencers enough freedom to engage customers on their own terms?
The key to prioritizing personalization touchpoints and implementing social commerce goes back to clear strategic priorities based on the borderless promise your brand is all about.
Personalization can’t always be perfect, but it can always be authentic. Stay true and stay flexible with a borderless brand promise as the basis for collaboration.
Personalization has become caught up in a broader cultural conversation about how much people can trust brands to serve their best interests. Today there is an ethical imperative to guide personalization at scale that also makes business sense. That imperative is to consider people for more than their utility to you and respect their goals and needs. Brands that are perceived as doing so are not only loved and embraced, but also have an edge in effectiveness.
Learn all about how to earn customers consent to drive value, how to approach advanced segmentation and leverage technology for cross-channel and omnichannel personalization and more in our latest report in partnership with Adobe and Verticurl, Driving Value At Scale With Human-Centered Personalization.
Feel free to contact our Experience team at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how technology can help you generate meaningful, personalized experiences.