Better personalization begets better marketing.

Brands and marketers have both been well aware of this fact for a long time. It’s why “personalization” has been one of the biggest marketing industry buzzwords for the better part of the last half-decade.

But what does personalization actually look like?

There was a time not too long ago where adding a subscriber’s first name to an email was considered a marketing personalization coup. Things have become much more complicated since then.

Today’s consumer has developed a completely different pattern of purchase behavior. With that pattern has come a whole new set of consumer expectations.

Today’s consumer is all about convenience.

If a brand makes someone work too hard today, that person will quickly lose interest and move on, and the window of opportunity has closed.

Consumer expectations are shifting quickly; they want what they want when they want it, and they have little patience for those that can’t deliver.

Brands which can provide a convenient, easy, seamless experience are quickly gaining ground, even while those brands which struggle to keep up find themselves left out in the cold.

Welcome to the new digital marketplace.

In the new digital marketplace, personalization has come to mean something completely different.

Hyper-targeted campaigns, driven by fresh heaps of data, can now be personalized in ways that make <fname> personalization look like a cave painting.

As brands have striven to deliver increasingly relevant messages to increasingly fickle users, diving deep into customer purchase and behavioral data has become indispensable.

Companies with real-time access to this data- and which are nimble enough to make appropriate adjustments to their strategies as the data shifts- have found themselves with a leg up on the competition.

Here’s how they are making the most of it:

1. Customized content

Providing marketing content based upon what users actually want to see has become increasingly important.

Available data on location, demographics, order history, discount/points card memberships, the weather, and other personal user data offers a window into what is “relevant” for a particular user on a particular day.

Marketing content customized based on this data can deliver a personalized user experience that is bound to increase engagement and generate revenue.  

2. Triggered messaging

Marketing messages triggered by relevant events are streamlining the brand-consumer dialogue in ways which seemed impossible just a few short years ago.

Behavior triggered marketing messages – those messages delivered only once someone has performed a specific action – can now be implemented at every stage of the customer purchase journey and beyond.

The ability to identify behavioral “triggers” from within a prospect or customer’s individual data presents brands with an opportunity to optimize both their customer relationship management (CRM) and purchase journey processes.

3. Real-time experiences

With the worldwide proliferation of mobile devices and social media platform use, the digital lives of consumers have come to be defined by a series of “moments”.

One’s location, what one is doing, the weather, even what is for lunch at any given moment have all grown exponentially in importance when measuring the relevance of a marketing message.

Brands which have found ways to stay connected with consumers and make the most of these moments have already begun to reap massive rewards.

Marketing messages delivered directly to consumers, data-optimized to maximize personal relevance are breaking new ground by the day.  

4. Preferred channel communications

Sometimes it isn’t so much what a brand says that matters, so much as it is how a brand says it.

Every consumer behaves slightly differently in their interactions with brands and marketing messages.

Recent data indicates that the majority of users prefer email as the go-to communications channel for marketing messages.

But that may not always be the case. Understanding which channel a particular user engages with the most, and which channel he/she turns to when looking for product/service information can be very valuable data indeed.

5. Testing

The value of testing in marketing campaigns cannot be overstated.

Expedia, for instance, launches 400+ tests on its email campaigns alone in any given year.

Why? Because testing marketing messages and using test data to optimize those messages works.

Layout, copy, language, frequency, timing, calls to action, even the attached media of a marketing message all have an optimum design. Building your marketing message to be as close to this optimum design as possible will increase the performance of that marketing message.