January 19, 2017
I have an entire tool chest full of different types of tools. I have hammers, screwdrivers, drill bits, socket wrenches, and almost any tool you need. But over the same time period it took me to acquire all these tools, I have also bought and lost two Leathermans. Now, you would think that with all the specialty tools I have, and my track record of losing past Leathermans ($75 a piece), I might have hesitated before buying a third. I did not. In fact, the moment the second one went missing, I ordered a third one.
The reason is because over the years I came to appreciate that a Leatherman is not merely a tool. It is solution. It fixes problems I did not even know I had, or at least forgot about. Wobbly chair: fixed. Loose light fixture: fixed. Squeaky bike brakes: fixed.
Just like my beloved Leatherman, a personalization engine software can quickly morph into your go-to technology that solves challenges that may not have been the focal point of it’s original use. Beyond the obvious of improving your customer’s experience, personalization software can also help your teams solve the following commonly faced issues.
If you are like many digital marketers, you know full well that your website is not neutral territory. Your homepage and blog pages are just two of your assets that have multiple departments vying for space and time to drive their departmental KPIs. This stakeholder tension is as old as your website itself, and your solution to date is likely a combination of saying, “no” to many of your colleagues and carefully planning out who will get which space when, where, and for how long. That process may settle internal tensions, but what does it do for your customers?
If your high-trafficked pages are not smart enough to adapt to your visitors’ interests and intent, you can show them anything you want, but never know if it is the right thing. The right thing will draw in your visitors, and you will see their heightened engagement reflected in your engagement metrics such as, average time on site, average pageviews, and bounce rates. But with one homepage, and many thousands or millions of visitors, how do you engage everyone on their terms?
The right personalization platform will solve this by placing the right content, from the right department, in front of the person that is most willing to engage with it. You no longer have to manually decide which products receive the limelight nor does the process have to be driven by internal stakeholders. By using the right personalization software, product placement and content are driven by your customers using all available data in order to drive your key performance metrics.
What do ALDO, Steve Madden, and Nine West all have in common? They all sell sunglasses. I would not blame you if you did not know that. We all have products that are not top-of-mind for our customers, but that does not mean we cannot promote them. In fact it is more imperative that we do, but how do you increase the exposure of your smaller product lines without sacrificing the revenue and profits of your top sellers?
Budgets. What problem cannot be solved with bigger marketing budgets? I am joking. Budgets are always a constraint, and rarely a real answer. The answer is strategic personalization that determines when, and to which customers you introduce smaller product lines to drive additional mindshare and incremental purchases. This is exactly what one of our clients had in mind when they wanted to promote their womenswear line. By leveraging their existing technology stack and Monetate’s data integration and targeting capabilities, they were able to specifically target female shoppers on their homepage with female focused content. The results were phenomenal, and led to a 33% decrease in bounce rate.
A/B testing works, but boy can it be slow. Sitting and waiting for a test to reach significance can take weeks or months, and that is assuming you can wait that long. If you are like other marketers, you often stop your tests short of significance and use what data you have collected to make an educated guess as to which split is the winner. You know what you are doing is riddled with errors and false positives, but what can you to do? You have business decisions that need to be made, and they cannot be made by themselves. But what if they could, at least in some small way?
True 1-to-1 personalization avoids the pitfalls of traditional A/B testing by employing a statistical model that informs real-time decisions and automated optimization. True 1-to-1 machine learning algorithms, like the ones available through Monetate, let you run experiences in perpetuity. These learning algorithms become smarter the longer they run because they are incorporating all available data about your customers and visitors to drive the best experience for the individual. There is no need for wait times, because there is no waiting with personalization solutions that start optimizing from the second they are turned on.
Driving engaging and immersive customer experiences is the holy grail of personalization. If done well, your customers will reward your efforts with loyalty and ever-growing market share. At the same time, the very same solution can solve many of the issues you face internally. The problems listed above are common for eCommerce departments, but there are many more that can span the breadth of any organization. So the next time you have the business equivalent of a wobbly chair, or a squeaky bike brake, turn to your trusty personalization software and fix it. After all, it is not a tool. It is a solution.