You can’t just personalize for email

By Marc Hummel

April 1, 2015

An unseemly tirade for retailers with ambition: Part 1

It’s something we got off our chests in our recent personalization rant. We discussed the disconnect between what most retailers say (they want an actionable personalization strategy) and what they do (not much).

The point was about multichannel personalization, and we think it’s a point that bears repeating.

Here’s how we put it in the rant:

Every retailer also gets that you can’t just personalize in one channel, like email. They know that customers just don’t think of your brand as a bunch of specialist teams that never talk to each other (even if that’s true) (which we really hope it isn’t). Your customers see you as one brand. One thing. One entity and personality and organization. And you should return the favor.

Email marketers know that to keep customer engagement high, they must personalize the emails they send. Most ESPs make it easy to segment messages according to basic high-level customer attributes. That’s good; it drives open and click-thru rates. But sophisticated providers like Monetate can link web behavior to the email, and even change that content in real-time when the email is opened.

But the power of personalization shouldn’t end there. It’s possible to use the same customer segmentation data you utilize in your emails on your website and mobile apps. And it can be even more powerful, since you can incorporate things like in-the-moment browsing behavior as well as dynamic product recommendations along with your first-party CRM and POS data.

We have a client that’s working with a data analytics vendor to bring sophisticated segmentation and targeting to their email program. The impact of this sophisticated approach to data-driven personalization on their email campaigns was so powerful that the client decided to use the same data to personalize their website experience for anonymous web visitors. They used email IDs as identifiers, and delivered customized homepage experiences created specifically for women. Their efforts drove a 100% increase in conversion rates.

Read the rant to learn more about our frustrations and the myths that may be stopping you from beginning now. We’ve seen organizations earn a 10% boost to conversion rate just implementing simple behavioral and contextual targeting. And Office Depot (UK) was able to realize a 15x ROI in just 1 month. These real gains can help your business improve results at a time when growth is becoming an increasingly slow and elusive target.

Personalizing the customer experience for one channel isn’t just “eerily fake,” as we said in the rant. It’s also a big missed opportunity.

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UPDATE: You can now view part 2 and part 3 of this series.

Marc Hummel is a former Content Marketing Associate for Monetate. He's also a part-time grad student at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys biking to work, reading, listening to podcasts/music, and eating ice cream. Usually not all at once. For more about Marc, go here.

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