Personalization: Why It’s Important for Your Brand (and How To Do It Correctly)

December 8, 2023

Personalization is becoming increasingly important for brands to remain competitive in today’s market. By providing a personalized experience, brands can differentiate themselves from their competitors and build stronger relationships with their customers. 

Unfortunately, even big brands can still make the common mistakes of: 

  • treating their customers as a homogeneous group
  • failing to collect and enrich customer data
  • relying too heavily on automation
  • focusing too much on technology 
  • failing to adapt to changing customer needs

So how can you ensure that your focus is on personalizing your data? 

Dial in on understanding your customers’ unique needs and preferences and use that knowledge to provide a personalized experience. This requires a combination of data collection, human touchpoints, and willingness to adapt to changing customer needs over time. Let’s go over 5 mistakes common brands make and how to do it correctly.

1. Treating Customers as a Homogeneous Group

The first mistake that brands make is treating all customers the same way, without taking into account their unique preferences, behaviors, and needs. This can lead to generic marketing messages and offers that are not relevant to individual customers which can result in a poor customer experience. 

For example, Tanner Clinic texted its full database of contacts, including men, looking for female participants in an upcoming trial.

Not only did Tanner Clinic treat all customers the same, but they also assumed that all their female participants would be intrigued by this upcoming trial rather than segmenting their audience. 

2. Failing to Collect and Use Customer Data

The second mistake that brands are still making is collecting customer data and using it to personalize their customers' experiences. Many often fail to even collect enough data or fail to use what data they have effectively. This can result in missed opportunities to provide personalized products, services, and communications to customers.For example, Bill, formerly known as Divvy, is serving ads to current clients to set up a demo.

Divvy failed to use customer data the personalize the ad experience for their customers. A better opportunity for them would been to customize ad messaging and targeting based on where customers are at in their lifecycle.

3. Relying Too Heavily on Automation

While automation can be a powerful tool for personalization, brands can make the mistake of relying too heavily on it. This can result in generic and impersonalized experiences that fail to meet customer expectations. 

An example of an automation mistake is Shutterfly sending automated “congrats on the new baby” messages to women struggling with miscarriage and infertility.

Automation tools are designed to operate based on rules and algorithms, and may not be able to capture the full complexity of human behavior and preferences. One way businesses could avoid making the same mistake Shutterfly did is regularly prompting customer to update their pregnancy status.

4. Focusing Too Much on Technology

A common mistake brands tend to make is investing heavily in technology to provide personalized experiences, but they may overlook the importance of human touch points. A human connection can be a powerful way to provide a personalized experience that technology alone cannot provide.

For example, most marketers start their personalization efforts with email and addressing people by their first names. The problem arises when people don't provide their first name and you don't have a backup phrase to insert in its place.

A great way for brands to ensure human touch points is to seek feedback from customers using engagement tools such as surveys and UGC. They can use this information to continuously improve their customer service while making the customer feel as if their individual experience is heard.

5. Failing to Adapt to Changing Customer Needs

Lastly, customer needs and preferences can change over time, and brands need to adapt their personalization strategies accordingly. Failure to do so can result in a customer experience that feels outdated and out of touch. 

A great example of this is Amazon targeting customers who purchased toilet seats by serving up more toilet seat repurchases.

Rather than Amazon targeting those customers with something they already bought and most likely will not repurchase, they should follow up with other home improvement items or other consumable household products. They could also use an engaging data collection tool like Audience as enter in a giveaway marketing strategy with Squatty Potty (brand collaboration opportunity) where they can collect customer intent on why they bought the product, feedback on how they like the product, and collect reviews. They can further use this data to identify patterns and create even more personalized targeted ads to increases customer lifetime value.

In today's competitive landscape, it is imperative that brands are providing a personalized experience for customers in order to stay relevant. But personalization is only possible with a sound zero-party data collection strategy. If your brand is not implementing a data collection strategy now using tools like Audience, you run the risk of falling behind your competitors.

Learn more about how Audience can help you not make similar mistakes as Amazon, Shutterfly, and others did.

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December 8, 2023