Hyper-Personalization: Insights and action to deliver targeted digital marketing

As Adobe Summit kicks off, CXOs and digital leaders are coming to see their ability to drive hyper-personalization is finally within their grasp. Brands realize they won’t thrive by personalizing only a few customer experiences. The efforts spent on occasional outreach are better spent on a process that continuously learns about customers because the brand relationship with the customer changes every day. Every hour. With every experience.

By combining the systems that provide rich insight on consumers with the systems that take action and engage the customer, companies will finally have a complete view and be able to deliver individualized experiences across all touch points. It achieves a level of personalization that’s consistently efficient and compelling.

Known as hyper-personalization, this process doesn’t just personalize basic parts of the customer experience — such as the initial flurry of emails to create a lead or landing pages based on them. Instead, whole and crucial stages of the customer journey are reimagined for a given customer at the interactions most valuable to the company, leveraging data from every interaction with an individual to create a holistic view of their needs.

That kind of commitment to detail is possible, but it happens only with the support of automated platforms that can help create personalized content or offers for each customer at scale. Platforms and scale are among the most significant focus of IBM and Adobe’s collaboration. Through them, every company can aim to master hyper-personalization as consumers expect more individualized experiences from brands in a hyper-digital age.

Four Stages of Hyper-Personalization

1. Communication

A company should be able to communicate what defines its brand experience. That’s a foundational step in marketing and the first stage on the journey toward hyper-personalization. Some companies struggle to make the most of this stage because their legacy technologies don’t have the agility that’s needed to update content quickly. Instead, they’re stuck running long, somewhat impersonal marketing campaigns.

2. Insight in Sync

Many brands are now thriving in the second stage. They’ve made significant investments in commerce and customer experience technologies, enabling the delivery of content and managing transactions with the same stroke. They’ve achieved a synchronicity between the necessary components that drive merchandising and marketing and are offering a rich customer experience.

Still, that’s not the end of the journey to hyper-personalization. There are two more layers of this stage — insights and action — and a seamless combination of the two is what companies should aspire to have if they want a mature, insights-driven customer experience ecosystem.

3. Progressive Engagement

The third stage, progressive engagement, lets companies piece together profiles of customers. It’s the process of taking the first point of contact, when a consumer is largely anonymous, and continuing to learn from every interaction to build a full understanding of what should eventually become a loyal customer. This understanding goes beyond name, contact information and social media handles; it also includes shopping preferences and the customer’s propensity to buy certain merchandise at a certain time, all captured in a unified profile in a company’s customer data platform (CDP).

4. Multichannel Experience

The fourth stage combines all that insight and applies it across a multichannel experience so customers will see that a brand does, in fact, know what it needs to know about them to deliver a customized shopping experience — a display of intimacy in the context of the moment that boosts sales and engenders loyalty. Multichannel enablement comes through the marriage of the CDP with a brand’s marketing platforms to inject targeted insights into the experience delivery.

Consistently Appeal to Each and Every Customer

Some companies have grasped all four stages and are now consistently delivering hyper-personalized customer experiences. With the help of IBM, a national outdoor retailer has successfully married personalized content with marketing pitches that are delivered through a multichannel experience that doesn’t seem generic when it reaches individual customers.

For example, a customer who has twice viewed some of the retailer’s jackets will receive a targeted offer that connects jackets with an upcoming hike in his area. Delivered in an email and on the brand’s website and mobile app, the content doesn’t smack of a sales opportunity but rather as a thoughtful message at just the right time that tugs at the customer’s love for hiking and apparent need for a jacket.

The retailer’s hyper-personalization initiatives are making a mark because the company has the technological ecosystem to combine what shapes insight — its data management, analytics and customer experience systems — with what drives action: personalization technologies and marketing automation tools.

That should be the destination for your brand: a sweet spot where the systems of insight work in harmony with the systems of action. This integration will allow you to learn continuously and develop complete profiles of your customers so you can engage each one across channels at a level of scale that doesn’t require long lead time. At last, you’ll be able to make truly tailored offers wrapped around content that appeals to the hearts and wallets of each customer.

Come join the conversation at Adobe Summit to learn how IBM iX — leveraging our proprietary AI and cognitive data capabilities, the Adobe Marketing Cloud and the newly introduced Adobe Experience Platform — can help you with your evolution in personalization and progressive engagement.