As your customers get increasing sophisticated in their shopping behaviors, their expectations in receiving personalized experiences from your brand are increasing exponentially. According to an Infosys report:

59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decisions.

31% of customers would like their shopping experience to be more personalized than it actually is.

74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized.

And according to a Marketo study, over 78% of consumers will only engage offers if they have been personalized to their previous engagements with your brand.


So what does this mean for brands? We sat down with Jim Hooven, Vice President of Operations for Clutch, who advises an array of brands from Meineke to Pandora to Godiva on customer strategy to discuss the impact on brands and customers alike.

Q: Jim, is this increasing shift of customers embracing personalization a surprise?

JH: No, not really. Most consumers are savvy and as they become customers of brands they realize that their digital interactions leave footprints behind on their behaviors, tendencies, preferences and more. They widely view this data as a tradeoff to receiving enhanced experiences from a brand that are tailored to their personal interests.

Consumers are tired of the ‘one size fits all’ marketing approach and largely equate it to spam. Since they are providing this data, they are now expecting brands to have solutions that use it intelligently and will often reward those brands that do. Unfortunately for many brands, they continue to drown in their cross-channel data and simply fall down when it comes to delivering the exceptional experiences their customers expect.

Q: With 74% of customers saying they’re frustrated by impersonal experiences, what’s the impact to brands?

JH: Well, a lot of brands have been intimidated by data-driven personalization, so they have largely ignored it. Most marketing technology stacks have been cobbled together with disparate systems like point-of-sale networks, ecommerce platforms, mobile applications and social accounts, generating massive amounts of fragmented customer data. This largely contributes to the intimidation given the complexity. However, customer marketing technology can now integrate these disparate technologies into a streamlined data hub that delivers unprecedented customer insight.

On top of this, the feeling is largely that brands are simply missing out on an advantage by bypassing personalization. However, this study shows that it is actually putting their business at a major disadvantage in the market which is creating frustrated customers who could easily abandon the brand altogether. And this can lead to customers actually preaching against your brand and warning friends, family and colleagues to steer clear of the poor experience. So, it can generate significant damage.

Q: With brands struggling with personalization, how do most get started?

JH: It’s really not rocket science. Technology does a lot of the heavy lifting for today’s advanced customer marketing. Aggregating cross-channel data to advise intelligent marketing is a relatively easy undertaking with the right technology and strategy. And many brands that adopt a customer personalization strategy do it in a staged gate approach starting with simple segments like gender or geography to present relevant products. From there they build on the complexity with dimensions like purchase history and channel tendency and then add sophistication with specific product preferences and more. Each level enhances the relevancy and boosts offer conversion.

Too many brands think they have to immediately jump into the most complex segments when starting simple can have a major impact on their customers.

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