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Research Shows Marketing Personalization Misses The Mark

Type: Blog

Here’s what a leading CMO told me recently when I asked about the quality of their CX and personalization: “We are using new CRM technology to automate old, bad behaviors…not being guided by how our customers define improved CX. Result: High volume, irritating and brand damaging spray and pray.”

Per VoC research conducted by our firm among customers and lost customers of leading brands, many marketers are kidding themselves when they say they’re doing personalization. What they are really doing is putting lipstick on tired, transactional emails and blasting them from the latest and greatest CRM technology.

As John J. Curtis, SEO manager at Walgreens stated regarding the importance of content and CX, “Good content marketing is designed for your customer…. with any tool, you have to use it properly for the job you’re doing, and every tool isn’t used for every job. … [Assess] the issue at hand, identify the customer need, …then decide what to grab from the toolbox.”

Per the VoC research findings, here are three ways to stop damaging consumer relationships and start delivering truly personalized CX:

Fulfill The Promise Of Value
As illustrated by the recent Apple privacy controversy, consumers clearly understand the value of their personal information and are willing to provide marketers with that information if there is a promise of value in exchange for this interaction.

However, all too often this is what people are telling us in the VoC research:

“What we receive is not smart personalization. They aren’t personalizing the things that matter to me.”

“What they consider personalization is so old-fashioned”

“I want more than just buying history-based emails.”

“With today’s technology, I expect the experiences and emails to reflect my interests and preferences.”

Enable Customers to Drive Personalization per their Individual Preferences
Reciprocity of Value is a fundamental requirement for gaining in-depth customer information in exchange for significantly improved preference-driven personalization.

Customers want explicit, preference-based personalization, such as product recommendations that are based on their previous shopping history, favorites, or noted preferences.

Consumers also want to be partners in their personalization. They also want the ability to correct a company’s algorithm when it picks up on the wrong signal such as a purchased gift that was not in line with their own preference-based wants and needs.

Don’t Be Afraid to Request Appropriate Personal Data
Sephora uses shopper data to deliver amped-up CX by gathering data on shopping habits. Actions analyzed to deliver a more personalized experience include behaviors and interactions within product pages. Choices indicate intentions that can be used to develop a more personalized user experience at three specific shopping stages: consideration of a purchase, planning a purchase or ready to purchase.

The important point to remember is that even with privacy concerns, your consumers are willing to provide the information you need to boost their CX interactions to a higher level. The problem doesn’t lie with consumer willingness; the problem lies in marketers’ abilities to deliver in-depth personalization and high levels of value.


About the Author:

Ernan Roman Direct Marketing’s Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients’ customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM’s VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at:

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