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Hyper-personalization Marketing, when implemented correctly is a win-win
Thought it’s always been driven by market research and insight, marketing has historically cast a wide net, looking to get the maximum return on investment through reaching averages.
You can’t please everyone all of the time, so find a middle-of-the-road option that will suit the most.
This is entirely understandable because manually deploying different tactics and content versions is a no-go, particularly at scale.
No one has the time or inclination to track down individual prospects and give them custom sales experiences — it can work if you’re in a brick-and-mortar store, but not at scale, and certainly not online with a much larger audience.
But you don’t need to take that approach to work in elements of personalization. In fact, even without manual input, hyper-personalization might be the future of marketing.
What do I mean by hyper-personalization, and why is it on the rise? Allow me to explain:
What hyper-personalization involves
Standard run-of-the-mill marketing personalization factors in elements such as the customer’s name, purchase history, location, and stated preferences (as set in their user account).
This serves the purpose of giving them a more individual customer experience and makes it easier to deliver content likely to drive action.
Hyper-personalization, however, takes things significantly further. While it still factors in all of the above elements, it also considers the wider context of the situation.
For instance, everyone who arrives at a landing page takes a certain route to reach it, and that route can reveal a lot about their intentions and requirements — if they’ve been looking at a similar page, they’re seeking alternatives, but if they’ve come from a marketing email, they’re looking to be convinced.
To take hyper-personalization to its logical zenith, imagine that you were standing behind someone as they browsed your site, and could adjust content and layouts on the fly based on their actions.
If they let their cursor linger over a certain section, you could ensure that it appeared on subsequent pages, tempting them to explore their clear curiosity.
Naturally, hyper-personalization is perfect for supporting growth marketing: it strives towards optimal customer experience, leaving people happier and much more likely to talk positively about your brand elsewhere.
It’s so hard to stand out through high-quality products or prices: UX is one of the few remaining areas in which you can really set yourself apart.
How technology is making it easier
As noted, the main barrier to this type of personalization (with a secondary barrier being the concerns about the use of personal data, though that’s a matter for another article) is the practical difficulty.
Doing it manually, as in the scenario I mooted, is obviously not even close to viable, so the only way forward is through a combination of creative direction and sophisticated machine automation.
Is this realistic? Well, yes — it’s already happening.
The technology to draw from countless data streams and immediately make suitable customizations has been around for a while now, and we’re increasingly seeing businesses take advantage of powerful integrations to achieve an unprecedented understanding of marketing and sales funnels.
You can find some interesting examples of big brands using this type of sophisticated hyper-marketing in this piece from WebEngage.
The digital media companies (Spotify and Netflix) are particularly good examples, because the media you consume can have a powerful effect on your buying habits (branded items, etc.), and finding the people demonstrably most likely to enjoy a show is the best way to achieve ROI when promoting it.
Why it can be so valuable
Having established what hyper-personalization is, and how advances in technology have made it so much easier to achieve, you might be wondering why exactly it stands to be the future of marketing. To make that clear, here are just some of the many reasons:
- It cuts down on manual demands. The online sales process can’t be totally automated — not yet, at least, and likely not for a long time, if ever. Shoppers have nuanced requirements. But with every part that can be done by algorithm (identifying products to recommend, for example), time is freed up to go towards the parts that can’t.
- It optimizes the impulse-buying process. One of the financial pitfalls of owning a smartphone is that you’ll get the urge to buy things at inconvenient times (through what are known as micro-moments). You might be lying in bed early in the morning and suddenly wish to buy a new shirt. What tends to save you is some kind of snag in the sales process: you can’t find something you like, or that fits your budget, etc. Hyper-personalization helps to get those snags out of the way, making the process as smooth as possible and making you more likely to convert.
- It engenders customer loyalty. There are three main reasons why a customer might stick with a particular brand: they feel inclined to support the company, there’s a rigidly practical reason (they can’t get products elsewhere, or the prices are the cheapest around), or there’s something compelling about the experience. Hyper-personalization helps with the third, and the effect compounds: the longer you’re a customer with a given store, the more data there will be to inform recommendations and customizations.
- It feeds into broader operational improvements. Leaving aside what’s helpful for the customer, the benefits of hyper-personalization can be extremely wide-ranging for the seller, because along the way it will glean a huge amount of information concerning when and how people choose to buy. Using machine learning, this will drive sales funnels that automatically adapt to sell more over time.
Overall, hyper-personalization — implemented correctly with suitable data protection — offers a win-win (albeit one likely to worry those who fear the rise of AI). Customers get shopping experiences that better suit their preferences and save them time, while sellers get expanded analytics, improved conversion rates, and greater customer retention.
Kayleigh Alexandra writes all about the entrepreneurial tips and hacks for Micro Startups, a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. Stop by to read about the latest developments in the startup world, and take a moment to follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.