Let’s Get Personal: Five ways retailers can ensure their loyalty marketing programs are truly personal – at scale

Customers are fast becoming less tolerant of irrelevant and impersonal marketing and they’re telling retailers to “Make my life better, more exciting. Show me something new. Meet me where I am now!” I feel the same way. But, even when retailers understand the importance of getting personal, many lack the proper tools to make it happen. Meaning, their loyalty marketing programs simply fall short.

As retail marketers mine for insights, CRM remains a top priority, but how can technology be applied to navigate complexity and personalize marketing efforts to delight customers and enrich customer loyalty?

1. A solid foundation based on a 360-degree view of the customer

Effective personalized marketing must be based on a 360-degree understanding of the customer, and this can only be achieved by consolidating disparate data into a single view (see related paper on successful loyalty marketing personalization). Add to this, data elements that enhance both depth of shopper purchase insights and breadth of shopper profiles. Now you have a massive data pool which AI-enabled solutions with machine learning love. That’s because the more complex the data, the better AI can uncover customer trends and anomalies (think of it as a larger sample which yields greater veracity). Only with this level of insight can the marketer create offers that really matter to the customer.

2. Personalized marketing solutions must improve operational efficacy and simplify complexity of loyalty marketing programs

Whether it’s email, direct mail, or another medium, when retailers develop marketing campaigns, they’re complex. As we discovered in the recent survey of marketing executives at leading US retailerswith 88% of retailers targeting customers across different communication channels, a system needs to ease complexity, streamline processes and give marketers the control.

Such a system should provide a “journey builder” to guide customers across channels and provide rules for users around when is the best time to communicate to customers. For example: A CRM system should seamlessly push files to the Email Service Provider and/or Direct Marketing Production vendor. It should make building campaigns easy, enabling users to manage a large variety of content – from coupons, to health articles to recipes. In addition, these efficiencies should extend to an organization’s Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) ecosystem to enhance collaboration and teaming – all with the end target of building the most customer-relevant offers possible.

3. Fast access to advanced analytics to fuel continuous program improvement and predictability

As connected customers become progressively sophisticated, the only way for retailers to truly understand them is by incorporating new technologies that include AI and machine learning. Systems lacking this capacity simply cannot achieve continuous improvement, the ability to learn and refine, to become more customer relevant.

Technology with AI and machine learning at the core is essential to get the insights needed to truly personalize marketing. Again, as I mention in point 1, marketers require access to massive data pools to extract the most relevant and personal data, but doing this far exceeds human analytic abilities. AI-enabled systems make easy work of this, recommending what offer might be best for a given customer at a given time.

4. Easy access to accurate, automated distributed reporting gives a unifying “single version of the truth” to all stakeholders

There’s simply no place for manual processes in today’s fast-moving, disruptive marketplace. For a personalized marketing solution to earn the right to enable your customer relationship management strategy, it must offer the ability to see interim insights mid campaign, as well as provide a complete, post-campaign analysis.

Sharing this information between marketing or merchandising groups and CPG manufacturers is essential to collaboration and collaborating with internal groups and partners.

5. Clear alignment of program goals and metrics with campaign approach

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With 34% of retailers unable to measure ROI of marketing activities according to a recent marketing survey, campaign goals may not be as clear as they should be. Personalized marketing solutions should have AI capabilities to match personalized, highly relevant content to the right customer to meet your goals. Can you tell your system that the campaign you’re executing is simply to drive sales, for example? Perhaps you want to target that goal exclusively? Or maybe it’s about ROI, and so the engine runs a different allocation with that in mind.

As retailers recognize that the control of the customer-brand relationship resides with the customer, they’re also realizing that the best way to embrace this shift is by getting more personal, not just knowing who your customers are and their favorite channels.

The right personalized marketing system will get you as close to 1:1 marketing as possible. It will incorporate the incredible power of AI through multi-channel analysis. The retail marketing “winners” today understand this. They’re not hampered by the massive amounts of data from various sources given freely by their customers and prospects – they thrive on it!

Learn more by reading Let’s Get Personal: A perspective on marketing in the grocery, convenience, healthcare and pet specialty sectors.

Discover how retailers are prioritizing their marketing approach in our recent marketing survey of 50+ US retailers.