Personalized Marketing is a Must Right Now

The idea of online personalization is nothing new. However, with the new normal we are living in, marketers are looking for fresh and innovative ways to stay connected with consumers. As the consumer mindset has changed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, run-of-the-mill ads will no longer work — many are wanting personalized content to come across all digital media channels. Let me explain why.

Ad personalization, simplified, is the ability to analyze and visualize multiple data points in real time to deliver the most relevant and individualized ad experience. However, in today’s reality, this is not enough on its own. As a marketer, you need to be able to deliver that personalized ad to the consumers through omnichannel distribution — on any device and on every channel, to measure consumer engagement and optimize for better performance. Since consumers today are constantly subjected to advertisements, they are liable to tune out generic ads that have no real connection to them. The key is to ensure that the content being consumed is as relevant, personal, and geographically applicable as possible.

The shift toward personalized, targeted shopping experiences is largely due to the advancements in marketing technology, with elements of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and biometric identification all becoming more integrated with one another to deliver customized promotional opportunities. The Covid-19 outbreak demonstrated this. Consumers were not allowed in stores, so advertisers took to omnichannel retail experiences, with online sales growing nearly 50%. In a recent Adweek Intelligence study, which surveyed 200 business-to-consumer marketers, 75% agreed that personalization is critical to their long-term bottom-line success. 

Today, marketers have the luxury of being able to see consumers through the entire advertising funnel, enabling them to target consumers based on where they are in the buying process — from introduction of a product all the way to purchase intent. Brands have the ability, either in-house or via third-party vendors, to create and target ads that scale cross-device and cross-channel, reducing repetition, eliminating ad fatigue, and enhancing consumer experience throughout the funnel. They can, and should, A/B test different messages, offers, and calls to action in real time to determine what resonates with each consumer down to the color of the button that generates more engagement. Marketers can do all of this across programmatic display, video, social, on YouTube and over-the-top (OTT) TV.  So, why aren’t they?

Well, over a third (35%) of B2C marketers still struggle with fragmented data. Others identified organizational challenges like a lack of ownership for personalization. Having a well-defined personalization strategy can mean the difference between success and failure. Of those with a clear strategy, 63% rated themselves above the competition for delivering personalized experiences, compared to just 16% of those without a cogent strategy. Personalization requires the right technology and tools. Per the survey, 56% of marketers now use a customer data platform (CDP), and another 28% plan to in the next 12-24 months.

In addition to the tactics above, smart advertising today is about bringing your data to life with the right dynamic creative optimization (DCO) partners and technology. Marketers now can use geo-fencing and weather data to personalize ads in real time, based on nearby stores or weather triggers such as snow, rain, and wind conditions. This level of personalization can make a difference in winning your consumer’s engagement away from the competition. It is all about being relevant, and to achieve that, you need to be able to utilize the data the right way with the right DCO partners and technology. 

Keeping a customer-centric approach and an increased focus on zero-party data—that starts with getting a complete and accurate picture of who your customers are and what they want through a transparent, ongoing dialogue. The new consumer has evolved during the pandemic, and what shoppers deem essential is now completely different from the pre-pandemic shopping experience. 

In the ever-changing landscape of personalized advertising and consumer comfort levels, marketers must be adept, prepared, and ready to pivot. As long as marketers keep the customer at the center of their efforts and are willing to adjust to the expectations, personalization can keep the relationship between you and your client everlasting. 

Oz Etzioni is CEO of Clinch.

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