Spotlight on Personalization: Building a Culture of Personalization Within Your Organization
If you attended our recent client summit events in London or NYC, you’ll recall that we discussed the importance of building a Culture of Personalization within your organization.
As a refresher, let’s review exactly what we mean by a Culture of Personalization. A Culture of Personalization refers to the way of thinking, planning and ultimately the behavior across your organization that is focused on delivering successful, relatable and engaging customer experiences for each individual across all touchpoints.
Keeping this concept in mind, I encourage you to consider How you could change your way of thinking, beliefs, experiences, and behaviors across your organization and Why would you want to make these changes. What would be the benefit?
To answer that, let’s look at what’s at stake. A McKinsey report released in 2021 is quite telling.
This report revealed that not only is personalization bringing in more business, but it’s also becoming the bare minimum to succeed in the modern environment. The research found that companies that do well at personalization generate 40% more revenue from those activities than businesses that are average at personalization. It also showed that 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And of those, 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
Let’s talk a bit more about this 76% of users who get frustrated and what the impact of this could be on your organization. To look at this another way, this means that if you aren’t doing personalization effectively, then over ¾ of your customer base could be turned off by your brand and are prime targets to be swiped by your competition who might be doing a better job of providing engaging personalized experiences.
Why is personalization so important now?
The new and the next generations of shoppers have been bought up in a world where they can get pretty much what they want when they want, without asking for it. But, what does this mean for your organization and personalization?
Do you remember going into Blockbuster? You’d look around and try to find what movie to rent. Maybe you’d find the movie you were looking for. And if you didn’t, then maybe you’d hunt for an alternative movie. You might enjoy it, or it might be terrible!
Compare that to going onto Netflix today. You log on and there’s a selection of content available for you upfront. The algorithm knows what you like already and can compare you against others who have similar tastes and interests. You’re shown content that you’re very likely to enjoy. No friction – it’s a curated and bespoke selection for you personally.
This is the new expectation that business such as Netflix, YouTube and Spotify are creating. Based on these expectations, it’s now a race to deliver this same experience for eCommerce, travel, and finance organizations. The next generation do not have the patience of our traditional customer bases (who are already losing patience – remember that 76%), and we need to act now to build more dynamic, relevant experiences to win their loyalty or lose out completely.
So, here’s my question for you: In 10 years time will your brand have been a Blockbuster or a Netflix?
Building a Culture of Personalization with The Three Ps
Monetate can work with you to become a leader and future-proof your organization for what comes next. We can help prepare you for a more dynamic world where every element of the customer journey is curated. Our Strategic Consultants can help you embark on this journey and there are some core places where you can start building your Culture of Personalization.
We find that the companies that have a strong Culture of Personalization have this culture because they are truly customer-centric.
They use data to remove their personal, biased opinions and let the customer’s intent, profile and interests determine what they should see. Their organization’s Plan, Process and People revolve around the customer.
We call these the three Ps:
It’s very easy to get excited and start filling up your roadmap with all your ideas. If you’re lucky, you’ll have extra ideas coming from across your organization too!
This makes a tricky situation. Where do you start? It’s tempting to just start throwing ideas against the wall and see what sticks.
One of the easiest ways to lose your way with your personalization program is to start building your solutions before you know what your Personalization Mission Statement is or what Business Objectives, or KPIs you’re trying to impact. You really need to know these to know what direction to aim your ideas at, so they’re effective.
We see that across our clients, the ones who start with a plan for their vision of personalization see a bigger return on their investment in personalization. Their tests are successful more frequently, and they get better buy-in across teams and from senior leadership.
Focus on the Plan results in:
40% More Tests Reach Significance than Average
10x ROI on Monetate
If we want to be customer-centric, we need to know the customer. It would be so much easier if we could just chat with each of our customers and understand their likes and dislikes, but it doesn’t work that way. You would need an army of people!
We do have the next best thing though – data!
We need to understand what our users are trying to achieve, so we can relate to them better, and let them relate to us better. Letting them feel seen, and understood and critically supporting them so they can achieve their goals means that they will be more likely to buy, promote you to their contacts, and then buy from you again.
If you must go all the way up to the CEO to find the first person responsible for and owning the end-to-end customer journey, you are in trouble.
Almost everyone in your organization touches the customer, and everyone should feel responsible. From marketing, CRO, UX, IT, Customer Support, and shop assistants, employees across the organization are influencing the customer journey, and therefore should be singing from the same hymn sheet and have the opportunity to personalize that journey.
All of these teams and individuals know the customer. The customer who is speaking to a representative of your brand doesn’t care who they are talking to. They are indifferent to your internal silos, and they want a consistent, engaging experience. By bringing the entire organization into building your Culture of Personalization, you can start supporting the delivery of that today.
If you don’t have them already, build ambassadors and champions across the business. Democratize ownership of the customer journey. Give each of them some accountability across departments. Get them involved, excited and energized.
Why bother to Build a Culture of Personalization?
Your stakeholders get to help their customers and a route to work on opportunities that they’re aware of.
You get more buy-in, support and resources.
The customer’s experience is improved.
So where do we go from here?
Unfortunately, there’s no book you can read to tell you how to build a Culture of Personalization. This is breaking new ground! And even if there was a book to read or an example to follow, every set of users, every site, every app, and every business is unique. What may work for one, won’t work for others. But there are some steps you can follow to set you on the path to building a Culture of Personalization.
You can think of the areas of your program. The Plan, Process and People as like muscle groups in the body. As with muscle groups, you can devote a specific day of the week to working on these areas, but like building muscles, there isn’t an endpoint. You can never be too fit or strong, and you can never have too effective a Culture of Personalization!
Maybe you spend Mondays working on your Plan (make the vision clear and share it, identify levers to impact your KPIs) and Wednesdays on Process (Have you got your data sources? Are they utilized in the Monetate Personalization Engine?) Thursday might be devoted to People (Have you got your champions? Are you keeping them involved, listening to them, and sharing with them?) And, on Friday? Better launch some experiences!
Build a vision to aim at. Share it.
Use data to understand areas of opportunity. Bring in champions and ambassadors. It’s much easier to keep working out with workout buddies.
Remember, there’s a true cost of inaction.
Companies accelerating their personalization programs are getting 40% more value out of it than those lagging behind.
And the companies that lag behind the consumer demand for personalization will eventually be phased out.
We’re here to help. The next generation is coming – in five years’ time, don’t be the Blockbuster in the next story about digital progression. Blockbuster’s business is consigned to the annuls of history. Instead, be Netflix!