Personalization Enriches the Brand Experience

Lindsay McFarlane, Product Innovation Manager, Valassis
Published Wednesday, Jul 24, 2019



Personalization Enriches the Brand Experience

As my work day winds down, my quiet commute concludes. I snag the mail, the garage door closes and I magically transform into my other profession: “Mrs. Mom” aka CEO of the McFarlane Clan. Dinner, play, meal preparations for the next day and then it’s off to dreamland for my two little boys. And once again my walls sit in silence! Those few moments of quietude are when I indulge in my “welcomed” mail, inviting advertisers into my world to help solve needs for my everyday and aspirational projects.

In a sea of advertisements, as a consumer, I respond to what is welcomed, what is personally relevant and what is timely for our planned household purchases. I am pleasantly surprised when I receive an offer for something I am in market for or from a business I frequent. Bottom line: Brands that take the effort to communicate with me as a busy working mom of two young boys, with a senior canine, living in a home, experiencing what I will call the “15-year home itch” (everything is falling apart) will win my attention!

To engage and retain customers in a short window requires brands to focus on value exchange and think from their customers’ perspective. All content requires an authentic and purposeful message or call to action.

In Martech Advisor, John Baudino, Acxiom general manager, shared three imperatives for marketers seeking to establish and sustain valuable connections, including: tapping into emotional motivators; optimizing the customer journey; and understanding the data. In that same article, it was noted customers who feel a genuine emotional connection with a brand tend to be true brand advocates and have a higher lifetime value.

Marketers have a big job to ensure each touchpoint is authentic and personalized, as it has been proven that brand experience breeds loyalty, drives referral business and revenue! The 2019 Personalization Study by Monetate, revealed that 77.4% of companies practicing a beginning to advanced stage personalization strategy have experienced revenue growth while an astounding 93% of businesses with an advanced personalization strategy have reported revenue growth.

A great example of a brand providing a seamless, personalized, customer-centric experience is General Motors’ Cadillac Division. As a loyal customer, I have found the purchase experience, vehicle delivery-maintenance and loyalty program to be in a class of its own. Every single engagement they deliver is best-in-class and uniquely relevant. And the results are profound; leading the industry when it comes to customer retention. The automaker has been notably transforming customer engagement, creating brand experiences that go beyond the vehicle purchase. With much success, GM has earned the highest customer loyalty among all automakers selling in the United States for the fourth year in a row, according to the Information Handling Services (IHS) Markit with an overall customer loyalty score at 68.3%. The automaker attributes its loyalty success to its customer-centric focus whether they are making, marketing, selling or servicing their vehicles.

So What do we Know?

We know that consumers typically shop from a preferred set of companies: over 80% of consumers have one or a set of preferred companies for each of their purchase categories. Becoming part of (and maintaining a place in) their consideration set is critical.

Forty-four percent of consumers are willing to switch to brands who better personalize communications as identified by InfoGroup Research in the Power of Connection. In that same survey, consumers revealed they are even willing to share personal information such as email address, full name, age, employment status and phone number in exchange for a more personalized experience.

Most advertisers understand the value of relevant messages that speak to consumers’ life stages and interests, but there is also the real challenge of putting this into practice – for a variety of reasons (cost, complexity, bandwidth and/or technology to name a few).

By overcoming barriers to creating personalized experiences, companies can earn favorability and secure greater share of the wallet. As for me, I’ll keep looking for relevant and personalized offers that will help me win as CEO of my clan.