OK, so check this out: If you go to the various sports properties around the web, you may be targeted with an SAP banner. But when you click the banner or logo, you aren’t blindly taken to our corporate website or an expensive “landing page.”

You are taken to the homepage of our Business Innovation blog site.

You may not realize it but you don’t see the same featured story everyone else sees. You are presented with a feature story and “Top Content” that relates directly to the site you just came from.

This is a very simple form of personalization where we try to show you content that is at least contextually based on the website that sent you to us.
The Age of Personalization
Welcome to the age of personalization and what may be the new battleground in marketing. Personalization brings up a whole host of issues like Big Data, Privacy concerns, real-time analytics,and more, but ultimately the goal must be to improve customer experience without being creepy.

SAP recently commissioned a new paper with Forrester called Delivering New Levels Of Personalization In Consumer Engagement  in order to highlight the importance of personalization. Forrester conducted in-depth interviews with more than 100 marketing executives to understand the importance of personalization, the needs of businesses and the current state of implementation of these technologies.

Personalization Comes Of Age
While the technology has been around for quite a while, most businesses are still using known CRM database records in their targeted personalization marketing efforts.  So while you may be receiving fewer “Dear Sir / Madam” emails, the technology exists to create a digital profile of every user to your website and to deliver improved customer experiences personalized to their unique wants and needs.

More than 70% of the executives Forrester interviewed believed that personalization was of strategic importance to their business.
The goals of Personalization these executives look for most?

  • Increased website traffic
  • Better conversions
  • Higher revenue per order.

Despite this strong desire, only 17% of marketing leaders are going beyond basic transaction data to deliver personalized customer experiences. 80% hope to do better with utilizing personalization capabilities across their digital channels.

86% of Marketers reported challenges in using real-time data to deliver the right content to the right visitor in the right channel at the right time. One example is location-based data which is used by only 13% of those surveyed.
Where do marketers turn for help with personalization?

Mobile - Social graph
According to the study, 43% turn to specialist firms in the BI or data space and 35% are turning to Enterprise software companies like mine. But app developers and ad agencies are also places marketers turn to try and solve this problem

While email, call centers and websites are the main channels  of focus for marketers presently, they are also looking at mobile sites, apps and social channels in the next 1-2 years.

Marketing leaders graph

Most marketing personalization today utilizes stated customer preferences (80%) and purchase history (68%) but in the future, marketers will look to social sentiment (79%), contextual behaviors (77%) and inferred emotional states (53%) in addition to time of day/week (73%) and location information (59%).

The biggest challenges expressed by marketing leaders include content delivery, getting the data right, and navigating the technology required for analyzing the data in real-time.
To meet the needs and expectations of today’s consumers:

  • Step up to meet consumers’ personalization expectations.
  • Adapt marketing channels to align with consumer behavior.
  • Partner with providers, agencies and developers to build the right technology solution
  • Identify your road map. You will need a single customer data repository, real-time profiling
  • Do an inventory of your content by channel and buying stage to map the right content
  • Build support for personalization initiatives throughout the wider enterprise.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Check out the original post and more on B2B Marketing Insider. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook  and Google+.

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