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Personalization is King

By Zimm Zimmermann, SVP Personalization and Solutions, Wunderman

Zimm Zimmermann, SVP Personalization and Solutions, Wunderman

We have heard that “Content is King” and “Data is King”, yet they are merely ancillary pieces to the true King (or Queen), which is the customer.

As we all know, customers live in an always-on interactive engagement through any number of digital means. Whether checking the news, the weather or their most recent search, customers are constantly leveraging any number of digital tools in their daily life. With ever engaged customers, both data and content have become required aspects in the delivery of personalized experiences. 

"Customers are the kings and queens of marketing, and now is the time for us to listen and provide personalized experiences that engage, interact and delight"

Before we get to far along, let us take a moment to understand personalization. Personalization is more than simply recognizing an individual by their defined demographic attributes. Today, personalization is about providing recent relevant information to the customer at each and every moment of the entire customer lifecycle. Where data lets you know the context of the engagement, content provides the basis of a response to the context of the interaction – or “personalized experiences.” It is only by these two working together can a company optimize the engagement of a customer experience from awareness to consideration and finally acquisition.

Data is foundational, and companies have access to more data than ever before. Through artificial intelligence, we can leverage both structured and unstructured data in the management and optimization of our customer’s experience; however, most companies are still grappling with the management and utilization of structured data – as the availability of such data has grown in leaps and bounds. In the past, our focus on structured data consisted of first party demographic, transactional, and behavioral data, but today, we now have access to second and third party data. Data that is not our own – but is still data about, related, or even impacting our customer’s.

Think of weather data. Inclement weather might foreshadow a retail business sales. Understanding the relation of this this third party data (e.g. weather) to the customer has become a key advantage in delivering true personalized experiences. That is, the relevancy of the data changes the context by which the content/creative is decided.

Content has become dynamic – which, when done correctly, requires data. Dynamic content refers to the changing of content based upon the context of data available at any given moment of engagement. The copy, creative and calls-to-action are dynamically generated so as to deliver the most relevant personalized experience – an experience that needs to remain consistent from channel to channel and awareness to conversion.

It is only through the culmination of these two that we can truly recognize and focus on the customer. If data is king, than we have reduced the person down to a set of attributes – which may or may not define “who they are.” If content is king and we fail to recognize its dependencies on data, than we are merely leveraging the old methodology of marketing of flinging everything against the wall in the likelihood that something will stick.

Let data and content be the knights, rooks, and bishops, so that we can keep our focus on the true king and queen the customer. We will leverage our various chess pieces in an effort to deliver seamless experiences throughout their entire journey, while recognizing them as an individual through personalized experiences.

To that end, I would suggest that as a company, you move away from the data, content and (dare I say it), the brand, and in turn, focus on the audience, individual and personal relationship between your product and the consumer. Take the time to fully understand your customer. Identify additional and new ways by which you might better appreciate the individual customer. For example, do you know the motivational drivers related to your product or brand? Such an understanding changes the content, while providing you with additional data surrounding your customers.

Customers are the kings and queens of marketing, and now is the time for us to listen and provide personalized experiences that engage, interact and delight.

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