You’re One In A Million: Personalization With Marketing Cloud
Point of View
April 6, 2022

You’re One In A Million: Personalization With Marketing Cloud

Different types of personalization and how to get started using Marketing Cloud.

Different Types of Personalization & How to Get Started

It goes without saying: friends remember your birthday. In fact, your best friend likely knows all your favorites. We show others we value them by paying attention to their values and quirks.

Mom-and-pop shops used to replicate this dynamic to make customers feel valued.“The usual for you tonight?” stands in stark contrast to the impersonality of dealing with a giant corporation. But here’s the twist: today’s digital-first customers always expect the warmth of a small shop, regardless of the actual size of a business.

Personalization Feels Genuine

We all know our data is constantly recorded. In return, we expect convenience. Of course we should hear about products related to past purchases. Of course we should get loyalty rewards without asking. Personalization gives us the feeling of a relationship with brands – like we’re seen as more than an order number.

Urgency for Businesses

As consumers, 72% of us only engage with personalized messaging. Of course, from the business perspective, serving up personalized experiences at scale is tricky. Companies must ensure their audience receives end-to-end, omni-channel personalization. A breakdown in continuity between channels is a major faux pas.

Businesses equipped with Salesforce enjoy an edge. Marketing Cloud opens the door to personalization at scale, even if you’re not a Netflix-level industry giant.

“Today’s digital-first customers always expect the warmth of a small shop, regardless of the actual size of a business.” @Accelerize360

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All the Ways to Personalize

Your business can personalize across three dimensions: content, frequency and channels.

Content personalization can be as simple as starting a message with “Hello {firstname}.” On the other end of the spectrum are hyper-specific recommendations based on past customer behavior. Recommendations can be sent via email (think brand newsletters) or displayed on the company site as customized pages and banners.  

Messaging frequency cannot be customized entirely, but it’s possible to segment an audience into preference categories. Here’s how:

  1. Suppressing email addresses of subscribers who don’t open emails
  2. Suppressing email addresses of subscribers that have submitted a recent complaint
  3. Sending additional emails to those who open and click emails (or sending reminders to subscribers who haven’t clicked in a while)
  4. Using AI time optimization to send emails only when recipients are most likely to open

The channel is just as important – if not more – than the message. Customers and prospects won’t engage on platforms they find inconvenient. If an audience segment prefers text, emails would be wasted. Or maybe in-app push notifications are the way to go; it all depends.

Keep reading to see how it all comes together.

What Smart Automation Looks Like

Think of an online retailer equipped with Einstein AI.

The right data architecture setup allows the team to create tables with unique identifiers for customer and product information (SKUs). A relational database further empowers marketers to organize the audience into separate segments. Personalized communication journeys become possible based on rules tailored to these segment preferences.

For example, hardcore brand enthusiasts receive emails featuring discounts on new products. Other journeys can be triggered by actions, such as asking for a rating right after a purchase. The marketing team is free to experiment with various strategies, sending messages according to loyalty programs, or only offering a certain deal to high spenders. Every brand should experiment, developing their own unique voice and rapport with prospects and customers.

Human intervention is required upfront to establish the logic of each journey. Since millions of contacts can be included in a single marketing journey, rendering each message relevant takes thoughtfulness. This system needs checks and balances and failsafes. Marketers must have the option to stop all activity or override messages in case of emergency.

Lastly, before the online retailer sends out a personalized campaign, a marketer should review the emails for errors. This way, automation and humans collaborate to create an experience that feels customized for recipients.

How to Ditch the Need for Human Intervention

Marketing teams also have the option to let AI take charge. This is ideal for web recommendation scenarios.

Web page personalization can be realized with Einstein Recommendations. A tag management system categorizes all information within the brand website. Even before visitors share their emails, a beacon on the site tracks all their clicks, purchases and other activity. Once the individual customer can be specifically identified, that past activity enables personalization. Since AI carefully monitors customer behavior on the site, recommendations don’t come out of left field. So, a customer that’s purchased exercise apparel within the past year might get a discount offer on similar products.

Of course, personalized service must transfer across channels. A customer would be jarred to switch from a tailored web page to speaking with an agent that knows nothing of their history. Continuity is important; that’s why Interaction Studio (currently known as MC Personalization) boosts customer support. Agents get timely suggestions based on personalized customer data, such as next best products to recommend.

When customers are engaging on mobile, Interaction Studio helps marketers serve up customized in-app messages and push notifications. Here, personalization increases app stickiness. Content zones, messages and special offers display differently based on the user. Without a sophisticated AI tool, it would be impossible to send the right in-app communication to a specific customer at just the right moment.

Create Unique Connections

With Salesforce, your business has a convenient entryway to personalization techniques. Marketing Cloud tools will drastically reduce your team’s upfront effort. After that, it’s up to you to fine-tune your brand’s style. There are endless journeys and experiences you can configure for your customers. Experimentation will yield insights into your audience’s preferences.

Digital-first customers expect – and downright demand – personalization. Show them you care, that you value the relationship. Don’t worry if getting started seems daunting; with a little help from a strategic consultant, you’ll be up and running in no time.

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