By Jack M. Germain

Aug 18, 2020 05:00 PT

New research shows just how much marketing personalization boosts brand loyalty, but consumers feel brands aren’t doing enough to recognize them as individuals.

Training, a company using artificial intelligence to promote loyalty programs for brands like Starbucks and United Airlines, released a report Wednesday with data showing that the more a brand uses personalization tactics, the more loyal consumers are to it. Mark.

One of the main takeaways from the study is the importance of personalization in marketing. For example, 81% of consumers are willing to share basic personal information in exchange for a more personalized experience.

The survey further found that 79 percent of respondents said the brands they engage with the most recognize them on an individual level; and 73 percent said they are more likely to engage with a brand that offers a loyalty program compared to one that does not.

The Training report, “Brand Loyalty 2020: The Need for Hyper-Individualization,” surveyed 2,000 consumers to find that while consumers prefer brands with a loyalty program, many companies do not provide such opportunities. More importantly, brands miss out on opportunities to engage customers with personalization that recognizes them at the individual level that consumers increasingly prefer.

Consumer loyalty has increased dramatically over the past five years. But it has not reached boom status for all brands. Retaining consumers is becoming increasingly difficult, especially with the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, according to Formation co-founder and CEO Christian Selchau-Hansen.

“The need for brands to deliver real value has become more pressing as shoppers weigh their purchasing decisions against personal safety and tighter household budgets,” he said.

In the era of COVID-19, consumers are shopping less. Brands that aim to engage customers beyond a single purchase need to better understand customers and must adapt their offerings to align with changing customer behaviors and priorities in order to create and maintain a loyal following. , added Robert Fagnani, vice president of strategy at Formation.

“No matter what the industry, brands are all competing to stand out in a crowded market, and individual personalization that goes beyond basic segmentation is the most effective way to do this,” he said. he declared to CRM Buyer.

Consumers as stakeholders

Another study, this one by Gongos, an advisory agency that works with Fortune 500 companies to make customer focus a reality, found that consumers, more than ever, see themselves as stakeholders in companies where they are valued as customers.

In the first half of this year, many brands – whether through product or media messaging – have shifted focus to meet the functional and emotional needs of customers. But pandemic aside, today’s customers are demanding more than transactions, according to this survey of 2,700 people around the world.

The results of the Gongos survey include:

  • 81% of global consumers think companies see customers as stakeholders, the same percentage who see employees as stakeholders too.
  • 75% of US consumers (68% worldwide) prefer companies to ask them directly for their feedback rather than collecting information about them without their knowledge eg. transactional and social data.
  • 67% of U.S. consumers believe participating in an online invitational community where they engage in discussions related to a category or a company’s products and services would give them a greater sense of purpose.

“The results of our survey validate recent clues that have emerged in the market, namely companies and consumers wanting to achieve greater mutuality between them. The problem is that neither are equipped for the do, in large part due to the long-held belief that companies look to metrics like customer lifetime value which is used to extract value from consumers, ”said Camille Nicita, CEO of Gongos, to CRM Buyer.

His business plan is to use these survey results to change the paradigm within organizations to research different ways to create value for the customer throughout their life. It starts with treating them as value-added stakeholders in the business, and online customer communities open the door to a type of value exchange that more conventional customer interactions are not designed to forge, a- she declared.

AI replaces old strategies

Targeting customers by age, gender and location is no longer a differentiator. So brands of all sizes need to go beyond basic segmentation to build meaningful customer relationships that build brand loyalty over time, said Fagnani of Formation.

Seventy-five percent of consumers said the marketing emails they open frequently contain their name, indicating that this step of personalization is now a tabletop issue. Businesses need to go further to make consumers feel seen on an individual level, he said, adding that large volumes of customer data had to be analyzed for individual personalization to occur.

“Investments in advanced digital technologies and proprietary data pay off. Brands need to invest in AI and ML to truly master effective individualization and earn greater long-term brand loyalty,” he said. he declares.

The relevance of AI in marketing will only increase over time, so being one step ahead of a competitor now can help build customer loyalty for later, he noted.

Building personalization with AI

In the age of brands touting endless AI capabilities, marketers need to understand exactly what AI is and what isn’t, according to Fagnani. Lots of marketing platforms claim to use AI, but in reality AI can vary from a simple algorithm, search capability, or chatbot, to something more sophisticated and powerful.

Personalized offers, chatbots, content marketing, and social advertising are all areas of marketing that can be improved with AI, he said. In addition to having an understanding of AI, it’s equally important for marketers to have a clear set of use cases that will drive value for their business and their customers.

“Identifying and matching use cases with AI technology solution sets helps prioritize the importance of specific features and needs, which makes purchasing decisions more effective,” a declared Fagnani.

Loyalty programs must be exceptional

The majority of respondents (63%) belong to only one to three loyalty programs. This shows marketers that a program must deliver exceptional experiences to be successful.

In addition, 77% of consumers believe that brands could do more to gain their loyalty. The data, collected just before the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, has become more resonant in recent months, according to the analysis of the Training survey.

“The bar for creating relevance to consumers has risen dramatically as tech giants like Netflix, Amazon and Spotify deliver increasingly personalized user experiences,” said Selchau-Hansen.

“Consumer expectations for one-on-one experiences are rising and the pandemic is accelerating that. If brands are to retain today’s consumers, they need to deliver experiences and communications that are so personalized that they feel like they are. have been designed for one person “. he added.

Personalization phases

Marketers have many ways of approaching personalization. But the best ways are to understand the behaviors and psychographics of customers, according to Nick Swekosky, founder of Market measures. Even the smallest organizations can implement personalization tactics in their marketing programs.

“Use automation to prescribe information or functionality to increase awareness, engagement, or other actions. Evaluate customer issues, goals, and priorities over time to set intent. Depending on the responses, take advantage of simple automation like drip campaigns and more personalized experience webinars, ”he told CRM Buyer.

Other approaches include implementing email delivery campaigns with services such as Mailchimp. Organizations can also implement webinars with solutions like Eventbrite and Zoom, he added.

Artificial intelligence can also play a role in improving loyalty programs. For example, AI clustering can help identify common characteristics of users versus user actions. Better correlation between user characteristics and actions will help create automation like drip campaigns that suggest information to users to become more educated and operate more efficiently, explained Swekosky.

Additionally, AI prediction can be used to better understand when users will take specific actions; and to help decide how or when to increase their service. This provides automated information resources that could help clients make more informed decisions before taking action.

Tap on psychography

Product marketers can push personalization efforts even further using psychography, suggested Aadith Moorthy, Founder and CEO of Radial, which provides AI-based personalization services.

Psychography is the personality, values ​​and lifestyles of individuals. They are the most fundamental predictors of customer behavior.

“E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart have already accomplished this on a large scale, and other companies are currently catching up. In fact, psychography is considered the holy grail of marketing,” he said. he declared to CRM Buyer.

Small and medium-sized businesses can struggle to have the data and resources to develop psychography. This is a unique area where AI could play a huge role in generating these levels of detail and expanding it to all customers, even small businesses.

Radial’s claims that its “plug-and-play solution” for this is platform independent and can integrate with any CRM, without the need to contribute data or engineer time.

The platform uses a lot of data generated by deep learning about the personalities of those who visit an ecommerce site. Radial then offers them the best products with AI. This leads to a 20% plus an average increase in sales and a significant reduction in the churn rate, according to Moorthy.

Personalization tips

Personalization is essential to gain trust and loyalty. It should go far beyond a simple “Hello, first name” to be effective, Heather Wilkerson, VP of Marketing at Registria, said the CRM buyer.

She offered these keys to personalization success for a business of any size:

  • Invest in understanding customers and what is important to those consumers to motivate them to provide the information a business needs to deliver a personalized experience. The motivations are the status of the loyalty program, better service / care, exclusive offers.
  • Capture customer self-reported data, including product (s) owned, date of purchase, and place of purchase (if not direct). Use these motivators above to encourage customers to take action first.
  • Offer opt-ins to specific channels to truly serve a personalized customer experience.

“From there it uses the combination of data, channels and self-reported value drivers and makes it easy to engage in a two-way conversation that provides valuable insight (status, level progression, exclusive promotions ) that build confidence. over time, ”added Wilkerson.

Jack M. Germain has been a reporter for ECT News Network since 2003. His main areas of interest are business computing, Linux and open source technologies. He is an esteemed critic of Linux distributions and other open source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Send Jack an email.

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