By this point, it’s no secret to marketers everywhere that personalization matters. Countless studies have demonstrated that personalizing content and messaging to the consumer allows for significantly greater engagement and conversion.
This explains why 74% of businesses that exceeded revenue expectations in 2018 had a dedicated budget for personalization and 93% of businesses with an advanced personalization strategy experienced revenue growth, while 0% of businesses with an advanced personalization strategy experienced revenue loss. The data also shows that 86% of companies getting the highest ROI reported that personalization made up 21% or more of their marketing budget, and over 14% of the same group reported that 40% or more was allocated to personalization.
Of course, this intuitively makes sense. Customers appreciate seeing content and offers that’s relevant to them, that speaks specifically to their interests. Relevant messaging stands out and peaks the customers interest in learning about a product, which is especially important in a world cluttered with advertising. Further, the personalization breaks through that clutter and creates a kind of intimacy between the brand and customer.
This is especially relevant for sports & entertainment organizations who are blessed with passionate, engaged customers. Because of how engaged the fan base is, especially compared to a more traditional brand, it might be easy for a team’s marketers to be fooled into considering generic content to be a success due to the high engagement. But the engagement - of a like, comment, or even a share - is meaningless if it’s not helping drive the business objectives. And more and more sports marketers are realizing the importance of personalization.
But while marketers may understand the value of personalization and have the desire to provide it to their customers, the challenge lies in how to properly and efficiently provide the experience. In an article about ideal digital strategy, Roy Erez explains that “when thinking about how to meet customers’ needs on digital channels, retailers have to be more sophisticated. Just having your content in a digital format and creating basic personalized identities isn’t enough. Modern customers expect a more comprehensive personalized experience, where context, intent, and channels come into play.”
At the next level, it’s about providing contextual commerce. Contextual commerce, which is now entering the marketing lexicon and will likely soon become a fixture, is, as so cleanly defined by Rebel Interactive: Giving people what they want, when they want it, with very little effort needed on their part.
Once again, the data proves the value. According to Monetate, “brands using a variety of types of contextual signals to personalize for their customers are able to drive significant increases in on-site engagement—with an average lift of more than 37%... Personalized experiences that leverage these types of signals in conjunction with session-specific attributes and in-session behavior drive an average lift in engagement of 45%.”
So how does today’s marketer utilize contextualized commerce?
- What they Want - To know what the customer wants, you need to ask them and it can take time. Just like one doesn’t get to know everything about a new friend immediately, a brand can’t know everything about a customer immediately. Over time, more and more individualized data can be collected and trust continues to grow. Ultimately this stored treasure trove of data can be implemented for contextually informed interactions.
For brands to best provide personalized content, they need to rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence to allow for them to personalize at scale.
- When They Want It - Timing is everything and a consumer receiving a great offer at the wrong time is worthless. Having the ability to provide the right content and offers at the right time is critical. Yes, a Facebook post or email can be timed… but it then loses the advantage of personalization. On top of this, costs to advertise on Facebook and other social outlets continue to rise (and Facebook limits impressions unless they are paid). It can also take time to properly design and lay out an email. Marketers should be certain that they have access to a fast sending, easy-to-use platform so that they can be timely.
- With Very Little Effort - This point can’t be overstated. Consumers are inundated with marketing messages and offers and the last thing they want is to expend any extra effort. Marketers need to eliminate hurdles, making it simple to engage with the brand. Given the variety of channels that today’s consumers use to communicate (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, SMS, etc.), it’s also best to enable communication with the brand across channels.
For example, the 2019 Stanley Cup St. Louis Blues were looking to get fans to sign-up for 2020 All-Star info. Through a message sent via Pico’s platform, they received at astounding 88% CTR and 52% conversion rate.
Both marketers and consumers have much to look forward to as contextual commerce continues to take hold.