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As a seasoned marketer, you know that standing out in a crowded market is no easy feat. Customers are inundated with endless marketing messages, making it challenging to capture their attention and build meaningful relationships. That’s where personalization comes in. In Part 1 of our series, we explored the importance of personalization and how marketers can benefit from it. Now, in Part 2, we’ll dive deeper into the “what,” “where,” and “how” of personalization, examining its many facets and exploring how it can be applied across a range of industries and channels.

What gets personalized?  

When we talk about personalized marketing, it’s essential to consider what exactly gets personalized — that is, what exactly can be changed about the message as it is presented to different people:

1. The Message — what message are you trying to convey?

  • A special offer with monetary value, like “10% Off or “Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO).” 
  • Recommended products, for example, letting the customer know that similar customers bought a particular product or service 
  • A follow-up on earlier events, for example, asking a customer if he wants to complete a purchase or application he started earlier but abandoned. 
  • A thematic message is selected from several options, for example, “Holidays are a great time to travel” or “It’s time for back-to-school shopping.” 
  • An action, for example, perhaps the best action isn’t an offer at all but an escalation of the customer’s case to Level 3 Customer Support.

2. The look and feel of the content — how do you want the content to appear?

What does the email look like? 

  • Use dynamic content: Analyze past customer data, such as browsing behavior, purchase history, and demographic information, to personalize the content and messaging of your marketing materials. For example, a clothing retailer could use a customer’s previous purchases to suggest complementary items, like matching accessories or shoes. A music streaming service could use a listener’s listening history to suggest new albums or artists they might enjoy.
  • Personalize the subject line: Use the receiver’s name or personal information in the subject line to grab their attention and increase the likelihood of the email being opened. A travel website could use a customer’s upcoming destination in the subject line to pique their interest and increase the chances of the email being opened.
  • Use dynamic images: Use images personalized to the reader’s interests, location, or behavior to increase engagement. For example, you could send an email with a subject line like “Don’t forget these items in your cart” and display images of the items the customer has left behind.
  • Another design trend in email personalization is using interactive elements such as clickable images, polls, and quizzes, which can help engage recipients and encourage them to interact with your email.

What does the web page look like?

  • Use personalized content blocks: It’s a win-win if it matches the customer’s current needs or situation. For instance, if a customer has recently purchased a tent from your website, you could display content related to camping tips and tricks or suggest camping locations that are popular among your customers. This can help build a sense of community and loyalty among your customers. Just ensure that you don’t overdo it; displaying too many personalized content blocks can be overwhelming and make the website feel cluttered.
  • Use personalized headlines: Use headlines that are personalized to the reader’s interests or behavior to grab their attention and increase engagement. In addition to displaying a personalized headline based on the visitor’s past behavior, you can also use dynamic keyword insertion to make the headline even more specific. For example, if the visitor searched for “backpacking gear” rather than just “camping gear,” you could display a headline that says, “Top-rated backpacking gear for your next adventure.” This can help increase the relevance of the headline and make it more likely that the visitor will engage with the content.
  • Use personalized calls-to-action: Personalizing CTAs based on customers’ past interactions can increase the likelihood of conversion. For example, if a customer has previously purchased a shirt from your website, you could come up with a call-to-action that says, “Shop the latest collection of shirts in purple color.”

Should you use content blocks, background images, a specific color pallet, and so forth?

  • Use a personalized color palette: Consider using a color palette that resonates with your target audience based on their interests, location, or gender. For example, a fashion retailer targeting a younger demographic may want to use brighter colors and bolder designs, while a financial institution targeting a more mature audience may wish to use more subdued and elegant colors. Additionally, you can use colors that are associated with your brand or industry to create a sense of familiarity and trust with your audience. For instance, if you are a health and wellness brand, using green and blue colors can evoke a sense of calm and relaxation, while using red can be associated with energy and vitality. By using a personalized color palette, you can create a more engaging and impactful email campaign that resonates with your audience on a deeper level.
  • Use personalized images: Including high-quality personalized images creates a positive user experience. Suppose a credit card company targets travelers for their travel rewards credit card. They could use personalized photos of travel destinations or experiences relevant to the user’s location or interests. If a user is browsing from New York, the company could display images of popular travel destinations in Europe or Asia accessible from New York airports.

Depending on a marketer’s expertise, he may only focus on one piece — the message or the design. But the most effective approach to personalization will take into consideration both. It doesn’t matter how compelling the offer or message is if the customer is so turned off by the way the content looks he doesn’t read it. And no matter how amazing a web page or email appears, the effort is a waste if the message or offer falls short. The fact is, today’s customers are bombarded with offers from every direction. You need to differentiate yourself by offering the most relevant and valuable message using the most attractive and engaging means possible. 

Unica Deliver provides message composition and personalization features that you can use to design graphically rich messages that deliver a marketing message with content that can automatically change to fit the characteristics of the message recipient. You can send large numbers of personalized messages to a list of recipients as part of an outbound messaging campaign or one personalized message to a single recipient in response to a transaction.

3. Where is the interaction happening (and how connected is it to the marketing efforts in other channels)?

It’s easy to think of real-time personalization opportunities as existing in a vacuum. But instead, it’s important to remember that each live interaction during which a real-time personalization can occur — be it on the web, in the call center, on the mobile app, or wherever — should be integrated with the rest of your outbound marketing efforts. Customers think of these interactions as part of a broader series of experiences with your brand, so you should, too. Take booking a travel reservation, for example. The customer books the airline reservation online via the web; he then receives an email confirmation; he may interact with a call center representative or the mobile app if he needs to modify or verify his reservation; and he will finally check in at home online in the app or at the airport either via a kiosk or by interacting in-person with an agent.

This scenario demonstrates multiple different points of interaction and opportunities for real-time personalization. Many customer interactions will follow a similar pattern, such as opening a new bank account or making an online purchase with an in-person pickup. The best option is not to make decisions in a vacuum but to make them in consideration of everything that has happened across the entire omnichannel experience. By coordinating personalization across all channels, you can: 

  • Reinforce offers and messages from one channel in another 
  • Learn from previous interactions in other channels to make a better personalization decision now 
  • Ensure consistent messaging 
  • Coordinate efforts across channels

How is the personalized message selected?

There are two different approaches to how the personalization decision is made: 

  1. Deterministic Approach — Marketers structure the logic entirely on their own, deciding under which conditions a specific action or offer is presented. For example, “provide offer A if the customer is in our Gold segment, is on the Products page of the website, and clicks on the For More Information link….” While this approach gives marketers more control over results and makes it easy to anticipate success, it is time-consuming to build and maintain the logic, and the marketers’ intuition limits the entire process. 
  2. Predictive Approach — uses math and algorithms to determine the best course of action to take. While these models do all of the work for the marketer and are self-learning and self-improving over time, they do take control away from the marketers, and performance can be slowed by processing requirements. With the advancement of Machine learning in marketing, marketers are using it to improve their strategic decision. The best option is to blend these two approaches, leveraging the marketer’s expertise with the automation and self-learning function of the algorithms. With Unica Interact self-learning, you can predict the best offer with the highest likelihood of acceptance, considering the response history data. Unica Interact has a Built-In Naive Bayesian-based learning module on Interact run-time. It helps you identify the next best offer based on the offer acceptance by the customer.

In an age of highly pervasive marketing, the best messaging is relevant, timely, and contextual to individual customers. The Unica platform improves your customers’ experience by giving your business the ability to recognize and deliver what customers want – across channels quickly. Looking for more information or have a question? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we look forward to hearing from you!


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