Multichannel personalization is no longer just a marketing dream. Thanks to data and technology, it’s a real thing—and pulling it off is essential if you want to meet the demands of today’s customers.
Companies like Amazon and Netflix are redefining what’s possible and leaving a trail of higher customer expectations in their wake. Personalized recommendations and customer experiences that jump from channel to channel without a hitch are becoming the new normal—and these expectations are quickly spreading to the B2B space.
Personalization tokens don’t cut it anymore. Neither does a siloed approach. Whether customers are browsing your website, clicking your Twitter ad or reading your email newsletter, they expect relevant content on every channel that anticipates their personal needs at every moment. To deliver on these expectations, you need to unify your martech tools and align them with your personalization strategy.
3 martech trends for 2020
Today, many marketers are on the right track when it comes to personalization. They understand the that to provide connected customer experiences, they need to re-evaluate their tech stacks. In fact, Intercom’s three martech predictions for 2020 are:
- Companies will shift from siloed tools to all-in-one solutions.
- We’ll see an emphasis on tools that connect and play nicely together.
- Teams will leverage data to create personalized customer experiences.
These trends are right on the money. But we see many marketing teams put the cart before the horse and try to jump directly to #3. The result—companies are falling short from implementing the 1:1 personalization that customers crave.
Too many tools, not enough planning
The challenge to implement personalization generally boils down to poor planning—only 40% of marketers report they have a clear personalization strategy and roadmap.
Many companies are experiencing SaaS overload—they got excited by new martech tools and hastily purchased and implemented them. But without a plan to connect data and processes, these technologies are failing to deliver the ROI they promised, and in turn, brands are struggling to deliver seamless, personalized experiences.
Every company is different. And there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to multichannel personalization. But as you start honing your strategy, these three focus areas will help ensure your plan unlocks more opportunities with customers:
1. A true 360-degree view of the customer
Despite investing in all the latest and greatest technology, 55% of marketers don’t feel they have sufficient customer data to implement effective personalization.
It’s not a data collection issue—90% of people are willing to share behavioral data to have cheaper and easier brand experiences—it’s a siloed data issue. With a disconnected martech stack, companies are struggling to obtain a complete 360-view of their customers.
If you want to deliver relevant messages on the right channels at the right time, your personalization strategy needs to be centered around the end-to-end needs of your customers. And to achieve this you’ll need to consider how and what you’ll connect. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Do you use a platform like Salesforce that offers Customer 360?
- Will you need to assess 3rd-party customer data platforms (CDP) and integration strategy?
- Does your IT team have an existing integration framework they can tap into? Or will you need them to evaluate new options?
- What data sets do you need to connect to get a full picture of your customers? This may include:
- Website behavior
- Marketing channel engagement
- CRM and sales data
- Customer support cases and service requests
2. The shift from segmentation to individualization
For years, marketers relied on segmentation to provide more relevant experiences. And for a long time, it worked! But customers have higher expectations today, and it’s no longer enough to send emails based on past purchases—especially when website and app browsing behavior provide marketers with real-time insights into customer needs.
Building a single view of each customer equips marketers with the data they need to build 1:1 journeys. With the well of data in a single view of the customer and through the power of AI and machine learning, companies can engage with customers based on their current interests, in-real time. To do this, your organization must shift away from building strategies around surface-level customer segments and shift away from traditional segmentation, embracing individualization:
|The Past: Segmentation||The Present: Individualization|
Past purchase history
Interested in X product category
Attention to detail vs. spontaneous
Ability to buy
Other brands they love
3. Scaling content management across channels
Are you feeling inspired or overwhelmed at this point? Maybe you’re on board with adding data integration to your personalization strategy, and in theory, you’re good with creating personalized journeys at an individual level. But maybe you’re also thinking, “HOW IN THE HECK WOULD WE CREATE ENOUGH CONTENT TO SCALE THIS?!”
There’s no easy shortcut—delivering multichannel personalization requires a lot of content. In fact, 97% of marketers report that content is their biggest concern. But technology can help streamline content in a big way.
You’ve probably heard of “headless CMS.” When you boil it down, headless refers to a single back-end CMS that allows companies to surface content across multiple UIs. It consolidates content management across websites and apps to a single content repository.
Headless CMS is one example of how technology is helping businesses scale via consolidation. When it comes to multichannel personalization, we’re not just talking websites—you need to be thinking about apps, emails, social, ads across marketing, sales, and service. That’s a lot of content to manage. To solve this issue, enterprise experience platforms are leveraging the concept of single-point content management to help companies scale into multichannel personalization.
Take Sitecore and Salesforce Marketing Cloud as an example. Many companies use Sitecore to manage their website experiences, but use Marketing Cloud to manage email, social and digital advertising. In the past, you would need to load a content asset within each of these platforms (sometimes more than once). But today, when these systems are properly synced, marketers can manage campaign assets from a single upload. So, if you need 15, 20 or 100 images to execute a multichannel marketing campaign, you no longer have to individually update them across your website, email, social and ad channels. And when you update an image on a landing page, it automatically updates on corresponding Marketing Cloud assets like social posts and emails.
Beyond making you a little jealous with this anecdote, I have a bigger point. The companies that are investing in best-of-breed technologies like Sitecore and Salesforce are the only ones achieving true 1:1 personalization to build efficiencies. Why? Only an enterprise-level tech stack provides streamlined data and functionality like single-point content management. In 2020, all-in-one solutions are Intercom’s biggest martech trend. When you’re trying to scale personalization, 20+ SaaS tools won’t cut it.
Is your tech stack optimized for success?
Achieving multichannel personalization may require taking another look at your tech stack. Where can you consolidate and optimize? Is it time to migrate from a CMS to a DXP? If I was a betting woman, I’d bet on enterprise tech rather than siloed solutions.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by personalization, you’re not alone. But don’t think about personalization as a singular initiative—think of it a comprehensive operational shift. You don’t have to do it alone. Our CX experts are implementing 1:1 personalization for many of the world’s biggest firms, and we’d love to help you make it a reality.