Most marketers are now familiar with personalization or using data to deliver targeted or even individualized messaging and offers to consumers.

Perhaps less well known is ‘hyper-personalization’, a technique which uses real-time contextual and behavioural signals to provide even more relevant messaging for customers. For example, an email may be personalized by using the customer’s name in the subject line but could be hyper-personalized by providing an offer based on an item the customer had recently browsed on the company’s website.

Sounds good in theory, but to what extent are marketers currently using personalization and hyper-personalization? And what challenges are they facing when trying to improve their personalized messaging?

To find out, Econsultancy, in association with Oracle, recently held roundtable discussions with dozens of client-side marketers in Manila. At the hyper-personalization table, moderated by Erika de Belen, COO, Netrev Marketing Group, Inc, marketers talked about their experiences, insights and struggles with using personalization in their marketing.

Discussions from the day are summarized below, but before we start, we’d like to let you know about an upcoming event in Jakarta, Indonesia. Econsultancy, in association with Oracle, will be holding a free roundtable discussion for client-side marketers, ‘Creating Customer Connections through Data, Technology and AI’. The event will take place at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta on 20th June 2019 from 9AM – 1PM and you can find more information and book your spot at the event website.

To marketers, personalization is all about loyalty

Personalization, attendees agreed, adds impact to marketing communications. Consumers are overwhelmed with messages and to break through clutter, marketers need to deliver something unique. So, regardless of the channel, marketers need to use customer data to make sure that they are presented with messaging and offers which are relevant to them.

While doing so can improve metrics like clicks and engagement, marketers agreed that the main goal of personalization is to get customers ‘hooked’ so that they remain loyal to the brand.

Attendees on the day were enthusiastic about the potential for hyper-personalization as they agreed that using data about customer behaviours would make their marketing more compelling, have greater impact and increase customer loyalty.

Centralizing touchpoint data is key to hyper-personalization

Personalization has been widely adopted by marketers, said one participant, because it uses technologies which marketers understand very well such as CRM and marketing automation.

Implementing hyper-personalization, though, requires new systems which collect data from every consumer touchpoint, centralize it and make it easy for marketers to use it in their communications.

One of the challenges delegates faced with making their marketing more personalized was that touchpoint data is currently spread across departments and efforts to centralize it have not yet started at most organisations.

Improving data analytics skills is the next step

Yet, even if marketers had access to touchpoint data, attendees agreed, they will still face challenges when trying to use it intelligently in their marketing.

Participants said that basic personalization, such as using a customer’s name or other demographic data in marketing communications, was relatively straightforward. Hyper-personalization, however, would require marketers to analyse behavioural and other contextual data and most attendees felt that their teams lacked the skills to do so.

So, delegates concluded, before hyper-personalization would be adopted by most firms, marketers needed to learn more about data analytics, how to interpret behavioural signals and when to apply them to increase marketing effectiveness.

Hyper-personalization has not been adopted by many marketers

While acknowledging the benefits of hyper-personalization, participants indicated that they still had more work to do implementing even standard personalization.

One attendee said that one reason for this was that most companies in the Philippines still operate as they have been for many years and have yet to digitize many aspects of their business.

To move forward, participants agreed, marketers must first lead their companies through digital transformation so that the data required for personalization is available. Next, they need to close the analytics skills gap so that they can harness customer data to improve their marketing personalization. Then, they will be better able to use all the data their business generates to implement hyper-personalization and deliver improved results for their businesses.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank the moderator for the hyper-personalization table, Erika de Belen, COO, Netrev Marketing Group and Oracle for sponsoring the event.

We’d also like to thank all the marketers who took time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences and challenges with marketing personalization.

We hope to see you all at future Econsultancy events!