Sales and marketing have evolved dramatically in the 21st century. One particular trend that’s gained huge momentum is personalization.
Remember when the primary mode of reaching consumers was through “old school” outbound, push strategies like TV and radio commercials, billboards, print mail and email blasts?
Well, these techniques are now largely antiquated and likely to fall short for most brands. Today’s consumer is smart and savvy. They not only like to have marketing and sales materials tailored to their needs, they expect it.
Research has even found, “81 percent of consumers want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them and when not to.” Furthermore, “74 percent of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized.”
This shows the importance of treating your customers as individuals and delivering a highly personalized experience. But to truly thrive, it’s best to take it one step further and go beyond personalization to hyper-personalization.
What’s the difference?
Personalization initiates communication based on basic information such as a person’s name, location or purchase history. A simple example would be sending an email to a prospect and including the recipient’s name in the subject line.
Hyper-personalization is like personalization on steroids and borrows from much more comprehensive data such as:
- Browsing behavior
- How users interact with a product
- Real-time data
This information is then used to create an extremely personalized experience that addresses a customer’s immediate needs and pain points.
An example would be adjusting a user’s in-app experience based on recent behavior.
So if a person recently visited the E-commerce section of your app, you might show them relevant product recommendations once they returned. But if a person is likely to churn, you might show them targeted promotions to encourage them to stick around and engage with your brand.
In other words, hyper-personalization goes way beyond the surface level and digs deeper to tailor your marketing/sales materials to the customer’s exact needs.
Brands that implement this model effectively
To provide a bit more context, let’s look at three wildly successful companies that currently use hyper-personalization.
First, there’s Amazon which provides product recommendations based on previous purchases and browsing history and sends targeted emails featuring products you’ve looked at.
Next, there’s Netflix which gathers data on the shows and movies you’ve previously watched and offers suggestions of titles that you may be interested in.
Finally, there’s Spotify which offers you a weekly playlist featuring music you may be interested in based on what you’ve recently listened to as well as recommended radio stations.
With these three companies being at the head of their respective industries, it’s hard to argue about the validity of hyper-personalization. They’ve all created massive brands and have some of the most loyal customers in the world.
A big part of succeeding at E-commerce or any type of online sales is reducing friction for customers. You want to remove barriers in the sales funnel and make it as simple as possible for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for with the least amount of effort.
Hyper-personalization provides the perfect framework for accomplishing this. Just take a look at some key data from a 2016 study by Accenture Interactive.
According to their findings, consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that:
- Recognizes them by name – 56 percent say yes
- Recommends options based on past purchases – 58 percent say yes
- Knows their purchase history – 65 percent say yes
- Offers any of these three options – 75 percent say yes
By hyper-personalizing your offerings, you’re making the entire shopping process much smoother and more seamless. Your customers don’t have to do any heavy lifting to find what they’re looking for because you’ve already done it for them. In turn, they can find what they need without a lot of hassle.
Reducing the number of options
Accenture makes another great point that modern consumers are often drowning in options. They explain that 39 percent of consumers have left a company’s website and purchased from a competitor simply because they were overwhelmed with options.
It’s a phenomenon known as “choice-overload,” and it’s more common than ever. While it’s nice to have a few options, many people are becoming burned out by the barrage of different products they come across.
At the end of the day, they don’t need to see every single product you’re offering. They just need to see the ones that are right for them.
Hyper-personalization is one of the best ways to overcome this problem. Even if you have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of products, you can filter them so that customers only see the handful that are highly relevant to their needs.
As a result, things are more likely to get started out on the right foot, and you won’t overwhelm customers with excessive product choices.
Consumers have a ton of information thrown at them each and every day, which can make it incredibly difficult to grab their attention.
According to a study by LookBookHQ, “79 percent of marketing executives say that it’s a challenge to get and hold the attention of target customers.” Proof of this is the fact that the average person’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2015.
This has resulted in people collectively “tuning out” marketing/sales materials and being highly selective about what they actually pay attention to.
Just put yourself in a customer’s shoes. If they arrive on your app or website and find generic messaging and products that are geared toward the masses, odds are they’ll promptly leave. But if they find hyper-personalized messaging and a particular product that perfectly addresses their pain points, they’re far more likely to stick around.
You’ve successfully gained their attention, which means they’ll be more willing to engage with your brand by checking out your products, reading your content, learning about you, and so on.
Strengthening customer relationships
Most consumers are very selective about who they choose to do business with these days. With so many brands vying for their attention, why would they want to settle for a company that fails to address their unique needs and provides anything less than a stellar experience?
It just wouldn’t make sense. The top brands recognize this fact and understand that they must deliver an amazing experience to be successful.
And you could make the argument that hyper-personalization is one of the best ways to build better customer relationships.
By removing barriers, simplifying the shopping experience, eliminating extraneous product options and increasing engagement, you’re setting the stage for an awesome customer experience. Not only does this increase your chances of making an initial sale, but it also increases your chances of making repeats.
Just think about Amazon. Their retail E-commerce market share was 37 percent in 2017 and is expected to reach 50 percent by 2021. While hyper-personalization is by no means their only selling point, it’s certainly been a major factor in elevating them from being merely an online bookstore to an E-commerce titan.
They’re known for creating a super-personalized experience and streamlining the way we shop, which is a big reason why people return again and again.
There’s one last thing to touch on and that’s loyalty.
By segmenting users into smaller subsets based on behavioral data, you can adjust and optimize the buyer journey. In turn, this enables you to focus on each person’s pain points, issues and preferences and deliver exactly what they need when they need it.
This implies that you’re truly listening to them. And guess what?
Your customers will love you for it. They’ll realize that you have their best interests in mind and are treating them as individuals—not lumping them together in masses.
This is inevitably a recipe for loyalty and a long-term relationship that’s mutually beneficial for both parties.
Adapting to the modern consumer
The demand for personalization is nothing new and is something that’s becoming increasingly commonplace.
But what is fairly new is hyper-personalization, which has largely been made possible by access to robust analytics platforms. Without the data, none of this is possible.
When you look at current trends, it’s clear that hyper-personalization is front and centre and something that more and more brands are experimenting with. With the immense benefits that it offers, this is definitely something you’ll want to adopt moving forward and can be integral for helping you build better customer relationships.
Have you experimented with any forms of personalization before? Please let us know what your experience has been like.
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In-post image 1: bruce mars / Pexels