Don’t Source Data: Go to the Source

Over the years I’ve watched many companies grow their customer outreach, so I know what that track is like. And I know that when brands start to see the benefits of personalization, it’s a game-changer.

That’s why I’m so heartened to check in on VentureBeat’s ongoing survey on personalization, which enhances high-value customer behaviors like loyalty and lifetime value. Personalizing service and content increases critical key performance indicators like click-throughs, open rates, conversions, retention and revenue. And of the many ways to personalize along the customer journey, the survey found that most invest in email – nearly 80% – by doing as little as personalizing the greeting with the recipient’s name.

Yet their results also show that the data sources marketers resort to in order to customize channels include ordinary categories like “search” or “on-site activity” habits, followed by “social,” “communication activity” and “transactions.” Know what’s missing? The customer’s actual voice.

Though you think you may be personalizing communications for your customers, chances are you’re missing out on an even more crucial one-to-one conversation. Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication allow consumers to guide you in having the most successful and engaging conversation possible. Get to them on their terms instead of assigning some generic persona based on surface-level “research” that presupposes a customer journey.


Personalization can happen on every channel and at every step of the customer’s journey, but by empowering consumers to share their own preferences, you’re guaranteed better intel than measuring their on-site clicks and social media behavior. Today we have the capacity to reach consumers in more ways than we ever imagined. So why settle for simple and vague data sources when you can go straight to the source? Even if you’re taking baby steps down that path, realize that personalization isn’t a quick pit-stop, it’s a grander destination. 




About the Author: 
Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores last summer. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.



Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

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