At last week’s Millennium Alliance Digital Retail Transformation Assembly in Nashville, personalization was on everyone’s mind. Everyone has some amount of data to work with, and everyone has their pain points when it comes to creating that targeted, personalized customer experience. What I found to be interesting was these pain points differed from person to person. A few examples:
- Getting a personalized experience across all touchpoints
- Coordinating different outbound channels
- Creating an engaging in-store customer experience
- Combining information from or back to a digital identity
- Retargeting from email to web personalization
If you notice one theme about the list above, when it comes to personalization most retailers are struggling to create a strong omnichannel approach. The digital team isn’t working with the catalog/direct mail team, or the POS system isn’t integrated with the CRM or digital identity system. Marketers are focused on their day-to-day, without realizing how their marketing function fits into the bigger picture of the customer lifecycle. Without integrating all of your touchpoints, a customer’s journey can’t be truly personalized, causing headaches and customers disengaging.
So, how do you create a personalized, omnichannel approach? Here are three key things to remember:
- Take a top-level approach.
At the Assembly, we spoke a lot at the strategic level, and less at the tactical level. This is where you should begin when discussing personalization. This can be difficult for marketers who, in their daily lives, are wrapped up in the minutia of one channel. When I spoke with another attendee at the conference about her main challenges, one of the things she pointed out was how it is difficult to navigate her current CRM database. While that is a valid pain point, creating this level of personalization needs to be bigger. VPs, SVPs, and CMOs need to be involved in the creation and implementation of personalization strategy and tying these strategies back to the business goals, to ensure that each channel will be integrated into the strategy.
- Make sure messaging is the same.
Although each message should be personalized to the customer, you also have to ensure that your core messaging is the same across all channels. Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO of Flywheel Sports, was the keynote speaker at the Assembly. In her keynote, she spoke about making sure you communicate your core value to your customer base through all channels and efforts. Your core value is why your customers choose you over your competitor, so every interaction should remind customers of this. No matter how personalized your messages become, you need to also remind customers about the brand they are buying from.
- Take it one step at a time.
We find that brands or retailers who are starting the journey of omnichannel integration and personalization are often overwhelmed by the number of touchpoints that they have. Start by connecting data between two touchpoints, such as email and POS. Once that personalization has become seamless, add mobile, and digital, and push, and social data feeds, until all of your data points are connected.