2016- The Year Of Personalization, Think Local

Will 2016 finally be the year that we all manage to engage our customers with some levels of personalization?  It has long been the goal of marketers to provide one-to-one marketing. In the digital age that translates to every digital and physical touchpoint which makes it incredibly challenging to deliver at scale.  With today’s advanced technologies in Customer Experience Management from leaders including Adobe, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce and others along with CRM and supply chain data now being pushed to the outer edges of marketing the possibility of delivering personalized experiences at scale is becoming closer to reality everyday.

Personalization – Think Mobile &  Think Local:

Personalization can come in many forms. This year I believe that the mobile experience and Location are two key factors to build into your personalized marketing.  Take into consideration the huge shift in search traffic generated on mobile devices. Google surpassed 50% of searches coming from Mobile in 2015 and the trends are increasing each month.  For a mobile consumer on the go, personalization often starts with location. Search queries that contain a location qualifier such as “nearby” or “near me” have doubled in the past year, according to Google Trends data, eighty percent of those searches come from mobile devices.

Mobile consumer are on the go and are thinking about convenience more often than they are thinking about brand names. So, it’s important that you as a marketer put yourself in their shoes and make sure you are findable around both generic terms and your brand terms.  many of the top  “near me” searches for products or services are generic in nature because they are more about proximity and immediate needs.  It is critical that you as a marketer be found in those mobile moments of truth and be relevant and useful.

I am seeing a strong trend toward  local and toward being useful or providing  some sort of utility to consumers when they find you.  Being found is job one but also being relevant and providing immediate value is key. The basics include providing accurate  local information like name, address and phone number but your relevancy should not stop there you should provide hours of operation, directions, a map, product availability, perhaps even driving conditions, weather and other related local data that will help the consumer in their mobile journey to your location. Brands like Macy’s, REI, and PetSmart are using new ad types and innovations. For example, companies are leveraging Google local inventory ads that show availability nearby — right in the search ad.

Google is building  out their local search services to leverage the trends of mobile local searches and have analyzed their data and conducted online surveys to explore the behavior that feeds this local trend, Google calls these “micro moments” and breaks them into key categories of “want-to-know”, “want-to-buy”,  “want-to-do moments” and “want-to-go” moments  which are all on the rise, with the searches specific to location when trying to find something nearby, per Matt Lawson, Director of Search Ads Marketing at Google.

Some 50% of consumers conducting a local search on their smartphone visit the store within one day, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within a day. Interestingly, if they’re not sure where to eat, nearly half of people searching for a restaurant won’t search for one until they are within an hour or less of going. That number jumps to nearly 60% for millennials.

Focus on Context & Intent.

The mobile consumer needs to be addressed in his/her context and delivered personalized content based on their intent at the moment.  Many factors go into this but as marketers armed with data we can intuit some factors right at the exact moment of consumer engagement including, time of day, keyword phrases and proximity. These 3 factors alone provide us with a wealth of data to inform our offer strategies and calls to action and can programmatically deliver “personalized” messaging at the moment of need.

Immediacy & Relevance

Upon reviewing Google’s research they make a clear point, that I agree with , that there is a heightening expectation  from consumers for immediacy and relevance.  I also translate that to a heightened level of impatience and perceived urgency.  The patience levels (or lack their of) of digitally connected consumers is reaching ridiculous levels.  Consumers expectations are often outpacing our ability as marketers to keep up.  Thus the need for smart use of technologies and business logic to help tech savvy marketers keep pace with tech savvy consumers.

Technology today is making it much more straightforward to personalize at scale, according  to EConsulting research presented by EMarketer with more than three-quarters of client-side marketers worldwide agreeing.  21% of respondents remained neutral about it and 4% disagreed.

Attitudes Toward Personalization Among Client Side Marketers Worldwide (% of Respondents)
Attitude

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Technology more straightforward to personalize at scale

76%

21%

4%

Need personally identifiable info (PII) for true personalization

42

39

19

Contextualization more important than personalization

41

51

8

Experience must be completely unique to target to be truly personal

21

32

46

Source: Econsultancy/RedEye November 2015

And, while 42% of respondents said that personally identifiable information is needed for true personalization, almost the same percentage were neutral about it, says the report. Similarly, 41% of client-side marketers said contextualization is more important than personalization and 51% were neutral.

Furthermore, says the report, though 21% of respondents said the experience needs to be completely unique to the individual to be truly personalized—and 31% felt neutral about it—almost half (46%) of client-side marketers disagreed.

For many of us reaching the ultimate level of personalization will be a long journey and as they say all great journey’s start with the first step. So I encourage you to take small steps this year towards your goal of being more personal.

In summary

– Think Mobile

– Think local

– Think Contextual

– Be Relevant

I wish you all great success on your journey!

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