Aimia recently contributed to a VentureBeat webinar titled The mobile effect: How to turbocharge your personalization.” The recording can be found here. This article expands on questions that came up after the panel presentation.


What are the biggest gaps you see in brands’ approach to personalization and how easy/hard is it to fix them?

We see three major gaps that occur frequently:

  1. Data quality

“Garbage in, garbage out” still holds true. Challenges include:

  • Frontline staff entering consumer information incorrectly
  • Lack of verification or validation checks
  • Creation of duplicate records

It is essential to invest in data quality through process improvement and in choosing the right tools and partners. Even with clean data, effective personalization depends on knowing where to use it. Provide opportunities for consumers to share their interest and preferences and then use that information to shape your messaging and offers.


  1. Personalization strategy

Many brands spread their resources too thinly to make a difference. Start by asking which behaviors you want to drive, and then ask where personalization will have the biggest impact on changing those behaviors. Is it in product recommendations, tailored content, or another aspect of the user experience? That will allow you to get the most bang for your personalization buck.


  1. On-boarding and opt-in process

Some brands ask for too much information and others don’t ask for enough. Consumer relationships evolve and grow over time. In the early stages, consumers will be hesitant to share much about themselves. Asking for too much personal detail too soon makes it more likely that consumers will drop out. Over time, as trust grows, brands can ask for more data, because consumers will believe in the value exchange. This is a golden opportunity to learn more – and one that many brands miss out on because they don’t take a long-term view of the customer relationship.


How should brands think about the interactions between loyalty and personalization offerings?

Loyalty and personalization go hand-in-hand - when executed correctly, each makes the other stronger. Rather than thinking about these as separate concepts, brands should treat them as intertwined components of the customer experience.

Loyalty supports personalization by creating incentives and opportunities for consumers to provide personal information in exchange for a better experience. The long-term, relationship-driven nature of the loyalty context makes it ideal for seeking such information. And offering loyalty currency for information helps enhance the value exchange while keeping costs reasonable.

High-quality member data increases brands’ ability to deliver targeted and relevant messages and offers, which helps deepen member engagement with the loyalty program itself. Effectively harnessing personalization includes delivering targeted offers, tailored content, and relevant “earn and burn” opportunities. One example is the structure and presentation of a program reward catalog. Rather than simply displaying all rewards based on their name or point value, the display can be ordered based on items that are most likely to be appealing to the member. We’ve seen small personalization efforts like this drive dramatic growth in engagement.


What are best practices for the personalization opt-in process?

The secret to getting the most out of the opt-in process is empathy – seeing the process through the eyes of your customers and members. Far too often, these processes are oriented around what a brand wants from their consumers, rather than serving as the starting point for a trust-based relationship that grows over time.

The relationship model helps us identify best practices that brands should employ with their opt-ins. For example, an escalating opt-in process (starting with the minimal amount of personal information needed to create an account or establish a membership) increases membership pull-through. Ask for more information over time, as you build trust with the consumer. Better yet, make sure a customer is happy with the product or service before asking for more – use an email or app notification to ask them to rate their satisfaction.

Too often, brands use generic or legalistic opt-in language or system-generated app dialogs. In plain English, explain what kind of information you want and what you’ll do with it. Don’t use standard system dialogs – create custom pop-ups that allow you to use your brand voice to make the process easy and unthreatening. This helps reduce the risk that consumers will opt-out solely because they don’t understand why you’re asking for a piece of information – and it ensures that the people who do opt-in, do so on an informed basis. The result will be a higher open rate and higher customer engagement levels.



Personalization can be a powerful tool to deepen customer engagement – if it’s designed and executed correctly. Use business strategy and consumer empathy as your guides to making the most of your approach to mobile personalization.


Jesse Grittner is Senior Director of Strategy & Analytics at Aimia.

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