Make It Personal: The Importance of One-to-One Marketing
While many businesses tout the importance of personalization, it seems to be more of a buzzword than an actual marketing strategy. Despite the frequent talk, few brands are really doing it. That means consumers aren’t getting the truly personalized shopping experience they want, and companies are missing out on potential revenue from loyal, highly engaged shoppers.
The risk of unrealized revenue is real. In its 2016 Personalization Pulse Check, Accenture Interactive shared that 65 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase in-store or online from a retailer that sends personalized promotions. If you’re not willing to invest in getting to know your customers, you’re leaving that revenue up for grabs. And without a second thought, your competitors will gladly reach out and take it.
So how do you tempt shoppers to invest in your brand and then stick around for the long haul? Dig deeper into your data and get personal with your customers. Let’s look at a few ways your business can incorporate personalization in all aspects of your marketing program, including how to:
- Capture new and relevant data points and use them effectively.
- Use the data you have to build clearly defined segments.
- Create unique, targeted messaging tailored to specific goals and customer needs.
With so much data at our fingertips, it’s imperative to make a plan and align the data you’re gathering with your goals. Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish, and then start with the data you already have. Are you asking subscribers the right questions? Tracking the right browsing and buying behaviors? If so, it’s just a matter of looking at that data and using it to build relevant campaigns for your shoppers. If not, it’s time to revisit your priorities and processes for collecting data.
For example, if you’re trying to win back shoppers who browsed your site and left, you should focus on the products they viewed, how long they stayed on certain pages, which products they put in their cart, and their general shopping preferences. If your goal is repeat customers, a focus on product purchase history, average order value, and time between purchases can help you create effective communications that will keep customers coming back.
Other key metrics, such as age, gender, marital status, and location, can also be vital in better understanding and speaking to customers and prospects. If you aren’t already capturing these data points, get started.
To make the most of the data you gather, establish a highly integrated data structure that allows you to automatically share information across platforms. This will help you identify the patterns and behaviors that will have the biggest effect on your bottom line.
With your data integrated, you can now begin to think through a segmentation strategy. The first step is to identify clear goals and expected outcomes. Do you want to increase the ROI for your marketing campaigns? Improve the customer experience? Earn more customer loyalty? Or is your goal more revenue-focused, such as targeting conversion rates? Once you’ve established your goals, you can create segments to give you the best chance for success, while serving subscribers the most personalized, relevant messages.
Segmenting your data allows you to zero in, to find groups in your database with similar interests, shopping preferences, and locations. While these examples may seem like common sense, there are many other ways to segment your data that can also deliver very positive results.
Product Verticals. Creating personalized recommendations based on a product vertical can have profound results, driving increased conversions, email clicks, and average order values by 50 percent or more in many cases. Active wear retailer Brooks Sports grew its email-generated revenue by 60 percent in the past year by building segments based on popular web products and sending automatic reminders to shoe buyers based on the number of miles they run.
Order Data. Oracle Retail 2025 reports that nearly three of every five consumers (58 percent) responded positively to a grocer who suggested a shopping list for their approval based on purchase history and social and environmental data. Segmenting by recency, frequency, or even average order value allows you to isolate groups with similar shopping behavior and create personalized campaigns that reach customers at the right time.
Gender. Often collected at sign-up, gender data is frequently overlooked. But if used correctly, it can lead to tremendous success. Shoe retailer Greats implemented a light level of personalization based on gender and has experienced conversion rates of up to 78 percent for emails targeted specifically to females.
Other top-level segments include engagement (How often do shoppers open or click on your messaging?) and brand preference (Are there specific brands customers gravitate toward?). It’s important to determine which segments make sense for your ideal customers and build those first. It may take time and testing to identify the best segments for your business, but such diligence is essential when creating a more personal customer experience.
Creating solid segments is just one piece of the personalization puzzle. There are many different programs and campaigns you can use to reach these groups, and each must offer the same thing to your subscribers: a unique and personal value proposition.
Put simply, a value proposition is a service or feature that makes your brand stand out. Once you’ve established value, you’re ready to focus on the tactics that will truly set your brand apart.
Browse Recovery. Using data on the products that shoppers have viewed, you can reach out to them at a later time with a personalized message to remind them of those items and even offer a discount potentially valuable enough to convince them to buy. According to Derrick Riley, digital marketing manager for Fox Racing, “Understanding what our customers are browsing on is really the next frontier. While we can analyze browsing results separately, being able to leverage the data within our marketing platform really makes it useful.”
“The Essentials of Turning Abandoned Carts into Sales.”
Cart Recovery. When shoppers add an item to a cart, they’ve all but crossed the proverbial finish line. Capturing and using this data is a no-brainer when you want to offer a personalized shopping experience. The Block Shop created an automated series that is converting at 33 times the rate of standard emails. The series begins with a reminder email that has a “ridiculously high [open rate] at 58 percent, click rate of 25.5 percent, and a conversion rate of 15 percent,” says Social Media Manager Emma Garland. “The second message features a note from the host of the show. Its open rate is 52.7 percent, with a 21-percent click rate, and 11-percent conversion rate. For the third message, we offer a 10-percent discount. That delivers a 52.7 percent open rate, a click rate of 37.1 percent and a conversion rate of 10.5 percent.” You can’t argue about its success with results like that.
Welcome Series. Not only can a welcome series build brand awareness and encourage new subscribers to interact with your brand, but it can also help you sell products. Munchkin, an innovative designer and marketer of products for children and parents, deployed a three-part welcome series with great success. According to Ecommerce Manager Laura Bradford, “The welcome series has an open rate above 50 percent, a 24-percent click-through rate, and a 42-percent conversion rate — all with just a 10-percent off coupon.”
Cross-channel Marketing. While you might find success with a single channel, such as email or pay-per-click marketing, focusing on a number of overlapping channels can also yield a positive ROI. One company that has seen success with such an approach is tarte high-performance naturals™. By tying email back to social and launching a new product line with YouTube fashion blogger Grav3yardgirl, tarte saw an increase in both new customers and subscribers. With the added boost from social, it then turned back to email with a post-purchase campaign tailored around what customers bought. “The campaign had much stronger response rates than average editorial messages,” said Digital Marketing Director Stephanie Urban.
Reactivation. Quite often, customers purchase something, but fail to become a repeat buyer. Many businesses drop the ball here and don’t have a reactivation (or win-back) program in place, costing potential sales. But Woodwind & Brasswind put a plan in place to remedy this situation. It offered a 15-percent off promotion to customers who had not purchased in the past six months. After two years, those same customers received a “make-up or break-up” email campaign offering discounts of 25 percent. These simple yet effective campaigns pulled in customers who might otherwise have been gone for good.
These are just a few of the many programs and tactics you can use to further personalize your marketing efforts. An investment in these programs can yield fantastic results and improve not only the customer experience, but your company’s revenue as well.
“Marketing Personalization: Let the Data Do the Work.”
The days of blasting the same message to the same list and hoping for the best is long gone. Consumers today expect you to know who they are — their likes and dislikes, where and when they want to buy, and even the price they will likely pay for your products. If you’re listening to customers and responding with relevant messaging, bravo! Otherwise, it’s not too late to get started. Take the time to get to know your customers and offer them the best experience you can. Who knows? They may enjoy your new relationship so much that they recommend you to a friend or even become a lifelong fan of your brand. Just a few of the perks of getting personal.
About Oracle + Bronto
Oracle + Bronto arms high-growth retailers with sophisticated marketing automation to maximize revenue opportunities. The Bronto Marketing Platform powers personalized multichannel content that generates the higher engagement needed for retail success. Keenly focused on the commerce marketer, Bronto continues its longstanding tradition as a leading email marketing provider to the global Internet Retailer Top 1000 and boasts a client roster of leading brands, including Rebecca Minkoff, Timex, Lucky Brand, Theory, Brooks, Ashley Homestore, and Christopher & Banks. For more, visit Bronto.com.