When reflecting on the enormous success of companies like Starbucks, Amazon, and Netflix, I often wonder what exactly it is that separates them from the rest. There’s no doubt that an innovative leadership team and a massive marketing budget come into play, but what’s that one thing they’re able to do that so few seem to be able to?
Now, I know this will be considered blasphemy to some everyone, but let’s take Starbucks for example. Starbucks actually has pretty shitty coffee; yet, you can’t go 1-block without seeing a hoard of caffeine-crazed lunatics stumbling out with a pumpkin-spiced something. It’s clearly not their ability to roast a coffee bean, so what is it that compels people to chronically purchase a $5, 500-calorie cup of “coffee”?
It’s their unbelievable ability to deliver a hyper-personalized experience to their customers.
What is Hyper-Personalization & Why Do I Care?
Simply put, hyper-personalization is the use of data to provide more personalized and targeted products, services, and content. Before the advent of technology and the ‘social boom’, organizations were only able to leverage the most basic forms of customization, like a name, location or purchase history, to deliver personalized communications to customers and prospects. However, our generation’s willingness to divulge every thought and emotion we have has given today’s marketers the greatest gift of all; key insight into our names, email addresses, website and other browsing history, user preferences, purchasing behavior, mobile app behavior, social data, device location and demographics, just to name a few. And although hyper-personalization can be applied to all aspects of a digital marketing strategy, the impact it has on email marketing efforts is arguably the most significant.
According to Campaign Monitor’s article “The New Rules of Email Marketing”, email marketing has generated the highest ROI for marketers for the past 10 consecutive years – with every $1 spent yielding a $38 ROI. The same article also states that:
- 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last 12 months
- Email opens on mobile devices grew 30% from 2010 to 2015
- Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened
- Marketers utilizing segmented email campaigns are, on average, able to realize a 760% increase in revenue generated from email marketing efforts
Meaning, if marketers want to survive, and thrive, in today’s digitally-driven business environment they must look to leverage the consumer-generated data that is made available to them through various digital and social channels and apply those insights to their email marketing efforts.
How to Incorporate Hyper-Personalization into Your Email Marketing Strategy
In order to deliver the seamless and hyper-personalized experience that consumers have come to expect, organizations must stop viewing their audiences as segments, but rather as unique individuals. Simply listening to what consumers are saying, using that data to build intelligent customer profiles, and tailoring each email communication to reflect the interests and preferences of specific consumer segments is critical to realizing a hyper-personalized email marketing strategy.
The internet has made mass data collection possible, through tracking customer clicks on advertisements, visits to websites, purchase history, demographic information, and email subscriptions. However, although data can be aggregated from a wide variety of mobile and web-based consumer touch points, social media is the undisputed leader in capturing unique customer data. With the ability to track consumers’ specific interests, likes, dislikes, and behaviors, social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide marketers with the data points and analytics needed to transform ‘one-size-fits-all’ email marketing tactics into relevant, engaging, and hyper-personalized interactions with consumers.
Data analysis is a critical step in executing on a hyper-personalized email marketing strategy. Having a large accumulation of consumer data is great, but if marketers aren’t able to interpret what the data is telling them or simply don’t take the time sift through it, they’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with their audience on deeper and more intimate level. While it’s unrealistic to assume that marketers have the capacity to scrutinize each individual piece of raw data that’s made available to them, marketing automation tools have made data aggregation and interpretation much less of a manual and time-intensive process. Platforms like HubSpot, Act-On, Marketo and Pardot offer features like smart content and progressive profiling, which allow marketers to gradually gain more detailed information about their audience and alter content based on the interests of past behaviors of their viewers, in an effort to help marketers create a more relevant and personalized consumer experiences.
With greater consumer insight, marketers are able to minimize the amount of assumptions they make about their audience and use predictive analytics to deliver hyper-personalized marketing experiences to consumers. From individually targeted incentives to product recommendations and content based on likelihood to buy, organizations are able to use predicted customer value and behavior-based preferences to create relevant and engaging content that compels prospects and leads to move further down the sales funnel.
As traditional, disruptive forms of marketing continue to give way to more digitally-driven marketing strategies hyper-personalization will play a more critical role in the successful execution of an organization’s email marketing efforts. By taking a page out of Starbuck’s book and leveraging consumer-provided data to create more targeted and personalized email marketing campaigns, organizations can increase email conversion rates and, ultimately, yield a greater ROI from their email marketing efforts.
To learn how you can transform your organization’s email marketing efforts and create a hyper-personalized consumer experience, schedule a strategy session.