You've heard the phrase before: If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward. Just as the technologies that enable enhanced targeting in the digital media space have rapidly evolved, so too have the expectations of the consumers who inhabit that space.
Today's "empowered consumer" has come to expect—if not demand—a high degree of precision in the brand messaging delivered to them. As marketers, the onus has never been so squarely upon us to refine our messaging strategies in light of these heightened expectations. "Personalization" has emerged as one of our industry's most popular buzzwords—to the point that personalization may no longer seem like the "promise" or "future" of data-driven marketing but, rather, the status quo.
The truth is that personalization at most organizations is still in its infancy and is not much more sophisticated than sending someone a digital ad based on the last product they viewed online. Personalization 2.0 is about developing a comprehensive and historical understanding of individual profiles from all channels, being able to assemble the most relevant message in real time and delivering that message consistently across any touch point.
Here are three essentials on the road to Personalization 2.0:
1. Develop a comprehensive understanding of individual consumers by linking all available data to persistent profiles.
Building great brand experiences starts with the consumer. It requires understanding individuals at a very deep level while simultaneously respecting their privacy. A vast range of data points can assist in informing this understanding, including who the consumer is (demographics), what they care about (behavioral data including web browsing, app usage, video plays), where they go (location-based data), what they buy (online/offline purchase data) and where they are in the customer journey (prospect, existing customer, lapsed customer), just to name a few. There are literally thousands of dimensions to each consumer. The key is to be able to collect, anonymize and unite these insights into a single, actionable profile.
2. Dynamically craft personal brand experiences in real time.
Once you've developed a deep understanding of a consumer, you need to be able to analyze and make decisions based on the variety of data points you've amassed to assemble the most relevant and impactful messaging possible. This means moving beyond segment-based creative with limited variations based on simple business rules. Personalization 2.0 necessitates the use of sophisticated algorithms to evaluate all of those data points and analyze which of the millions of potential iterations of an ad will most resonate with a consumer (including product, image, text, purchase channel, where a person is in the purchase funnel and the types of deals they're most likely to respond to). Once a decision is made on the most relevant message, it is rendered in either real time (digital media) or batch decisions (offline media). The entire decision and rendering process needs to occur in milliseconds to meet the fast-paced needs of today's programmatic media.
3. Deliver brand experiences wherever the consumer is.
Personalization 2.0 encompasses more than understanding individual consumers at a deep level and being able to take action via dynamic personalization. It is about maintaining continuity of voice—engaging in a persistent and consistent conversation with consumers over time and across channels so that every message in the journey builds upon the last. Consumers do not interact in channel silos. They interact across multiple devices and browsers. Because of this, brands must employ consumer-centric messaging strategies that engage consumers where and when they are most receptive, and where all cookies and device IDs are tied to anonymous online profiles that are linked with a verified consumer. In turn, every interaction through any addressable channel should be based on, and tied back to, that persistent and anonymous individual profile.
Establishing this level of connectivity across desktop, in-app, mobile web, email and social enables brands to deliver a much more cohesive and personalized brand experience to consumers. Those brands that adopt device- and channel-agnostic approaches while delivering a consistent message will be best positioned to foster and maintain the ongoing conversations that consumers value and that build true brand loyalty.
It all may seem daunting at first but, on reflection, Personalization 2.0 is the next natural step in marketers' ongoing quest to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. Brands and marketers that adopt these approaches will be much better equipped to cater to the demands of today's consumer.
About the Author
Dave Scrim is VP of product management at Conversant, where he is responsible for the development, implementation and ongoing management of Conversant product offerings. Prior to joining Conversant in 2011, Dave worked at
About the Sponsor
Conversant is a leader in personalized digital marketing. Conversant helps the world's biggest companies grow by creating personalized experiences that deliver higher returns for brands and greater satisfaction for people. We offer a fully integrated personalization platform, personalized media programs and the world's largest affiliate marketing network—all fueled by a deep understanding of what motivates people to engage, connect and buy. For more information, please visit www.conversantmedia.com.