Marketers Turn to Personalization to Gain an Edge

The majority of marketers reported a lift from their personalization initiatives, and approximately half said they are seeing a lift greater than 10 percent.

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Nearly all (91 percent) marketers either use or intend to use personalization for online customer interactions within the next year, according to a worldwide survey of 242 marketers conducted by Evergage, in conjunction with Researchscape International.

Just about one-half (49 percent) of those surveyed intends to increase their budgets for personalization over the year ahead, with 80 percent planning to increase spending by more than 10 percent.

For now, 42 percent of respondents indicated they are not using real-time personalization, but 78 percent of this same group intends to do so within the next year.

The survey also found 86 percent of respondents got a lift from their personalization initiatives, and approximately half said they are seeing a lift greater than 10 percent.

"Many companies have great content – but when you treat all visitors the same and present the same experience, conversion rates can be low, and customer experience suffers," Andy Zimmerman, chief marketing officers of Evergage, told eWEEK. "Personalization lets marketers interact with visitors in a highly relevant, individualized way to drive deeper levels of engagement and more leads. By understanding your visitors’ intent based on their behavior on your site, along with data like their location, source, company or industry, you can serve up helpful content or recommendations in real time, at the right point in the buyer’s journey."

Zimmerman said relevance is critical, and the more relevant you can make your communications with customers and prospects, the more likely it is they’ll take your desired actions – such as buy, sign up, download, or call.

"Today, it’s unreasonable to invest a lot of time operating a personalization system or to rely on IT, engineering or data scientists for an effective personalization program," Zimmerman said. "Technology exists so that digital marketers can quickly and easily launch a personalization campaign, test it, iterate on it and optimize the results, without the need for IT. Personalization solutions can also offer built-in intelligence, helping to automate the process of delivering personalized content – so sites can serve up relevant information based on browsing behavior while visitors are still there, not the next time they visit."

When asked what primary benefits they expect to realize, marketers who plan to deploy personalization indicated they anticipate increased visitor engagement (78 percent), improved customer experiences (78 percent) and increased lead generation (60 percent).

"Many of the personalization solutions used today are built on databases that were created more than 25 years ago – when data looked substantially different and the volume was exponentially smaller," Zimmerman said. "This set-up results in a rigid, high-latency, IT-intensive and asynchronous approach to segmenting and responding to user behavior. It doesn’t align to the pace of business or, even more importantly, to the 24/7, global, multi-device customer, who demands information right here, right now."