Three steps to delivering a personalised customer experience

Three steps to delivering a personalised customer experience

A customer-driven campaign should ideally include a personalised experience based on the customer’s needs and desires. The challenge is that user data is often siloed and messaging is difficult to track.

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Imagine you could increase every transaction your business does by 20%. How much business value would that bring in? It’s a compelling calculation that’s even more important in times of economic uncertainty.

No doubt, the rewards of personalisation can be high. However, on a daily basis it can pose significant challenges—especially when marketing teams are spread across the globe and data is splintered across multiple silos. If personalisation was easy, wouldn’t everyone use it?

While a path towards improving your bottom line may not seem clear, one marketing strategy can yield impressive returns. According to a survey of marketing executives from 200 global firms, 40% of executives reported that marketing personalisation efforts directly impacted sales, basket size, and profits.

Moreover, studies show that personalisation can also reduce customer acquisition costs by 50% and increase marketing spend efficiency by 30%. Personalisation can also reduce churn, improve customer engagement, and increase cross-sell of relevant products.

Personalisation is easier said than done

Today’s customers have come to expect hyper-personalisation based on their needs and desires—a staggering 80% are more likely to buy from brands that meet this expectation. However, coordinating and tracking highly personalised experiences can be next to impossible.

Here’s why:

Customer data is siloed. Data lives in various sources across the organisation; stitching it back together is difficult. Without connecting the dots, how can you identify interested customers? If you don’t know your customers, how can you effectively segment your audiences or send them relevant messages?

Who individuals are and where they are in their journey isn’t transparent. It’s impossible to know exactly where each customer is on their journey, especially when you haven’t first resolved each customer’s identity into a single customer view. How can you determine where customers should go next in the funnel when the same customer is using multiple devices and identities without your knowledge?

Messaging isn’t comprehensively tracked. Tracking how many messages customers receive from disconnected platforms is time-consuming and impractical. If you can’t track your messaging, then how do you know when you should reach out again and when you should stop?

How to create a personalised experience

Step 1: Audience management, segmentation, and targeting

Before you can deliver personalised experiences, the first step is to understand your customers.

Essentially, the purpose of audience management is to aggregate all available customer data and sift through it to find common demographics, attributes, and behaviours. Such an enormous dataset can be overwhelming, so where do you start? You begin by identifying your business goals.

To do that, you need to stitch together data from all of your silos to create the most complete user dataset possible. Once you’ve created this parent segment (your entire customer base), you can explore customer data more easily with audience management tools dashboard on customer data platforms (CDP) and create audience segments in the dashboard.

This will help you to:

  • Identify key attributes of both high lifetime value customers and customers that churn
  • Better inform customer acquisition efforts by finding lookalike audiences
  • Discover common behaviours and attributes that can be grouped into smaller audience segments for activation

Understanding your audience

Perhaps your business goal is to increase revenue or maybe it’s brand awareness. Think of your goals as you explore your data – including geographic location, products, user commonalities, product purchase history, and usage patterns. Generally, you’re aiming to understand where your consumers are today and where you want them and your business to be in the future. 

Alternatively, exploring your data by audience segments is another way to achieve your goals. Audience management tools are powered by machine learning, which can cluster user data together from your parent segment into smaller digestible content. Enriched with third-party data, these segments can help you better understand common user interests and how user behaviour represents important business trends.

Step 2: Orchestrating  your customer experiences and journeys

After you’ve explored your audiences, it’s time to design paths for your users and segments. Using customer journey orchestration, you’re solving the problem of knowing where users are in the funnel, and then designing where you want them to go next. That way, you can make sure users are receiving relevant content at every step.

Customer journey orchestration features within the audience management tools enable marketers to deliver personalisation at scale and design the best customer journey stages (based on complete customer profiles).

Typically, customers move closer to a purchase through these stages: awareness > interest > intent > purchase > retention. Frequently, designing customer journeys and customer experiences means mapping out all the combinations of behaviours a customer may take, creating hundreds of micro-journeys that look like this: “If a user clicks this link, then send this email,” or “if a user opens this email, then send this coupon.”

Such a highly detailed approach requires considerable time and effort to build on a granular level. In comparison, Audience management tools enable you to design macro journeys depending on where the customer is in their journey.

Segmenting the customer journey

Customer journey orchestration features provide the ability to mark critical stages in the journey to trigger messaging that helps users move from awareness to intent, and from interest towards purchase. For additional customer journey insights, machine learning such as next-best-action modeling can be used to identify the most marketing activation to deliver next and influence your users.

Customer journey orchestration helps marketers see whether their marketing efforts are working and moving customers closer towards a purchase. This enables marketers to plan the best possible journey to progress a customer towards a purchase.

Step 3: Multi-channel messaging

Now, you’re ready to push out messages to users at every stage in the journey across digital ad channels. Using audience management tools you can:

  • Deliver personalised messaging to specific customers or segments
  • Track and score user behaviour to identify the best time for action
  • Activate messaging to multiple channels at the same time

Multi-channel messaging is intrinsically connected to the customer journey. During each stage of the journey, there might be a different activation. For example, in the awareness stage you might want to activate to your social channel and use lookalike modelling to reach a wider audience, while in the interest stage an email activation might work best since you’ve already collected their personally identifiable information (PII).

You can also activate to multiple channels at once, which means you can send users an email marketing campaign as well as an ad on social media. Then wait and see if they move to the end of the funnel and make a purchase. If they don’t, you can send another.

Through this three-step process – managing the audience, examining customer journeys, and determining multi-channel messaging – be sure to yield unexpected outcomes for the marketing efforts of any organisation!


Yili Huang is the Senior Product Manager at Treasure Data

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