Personalization matters. Consumers expect the brands they spend money with to know them as an individual – and know them well.
That expectation exists even before the first interaction. Most companies aren’t going to cut through to customers at all if they’re not appealing to them on a personal level.
Today’s consumers don’t want bland, generic, by-the-numbers marketing. They want to be treated like individuals rather than just a nameless face in the crowd. And there is plenty of research to back this up (which we’ll come to shortly).
But first, we’d like to clarify exactly what we mean by ‘marketing personalization’, and then we’re going to show you how digital humans can help optimize your personalization strategy.
What is marketing personalization
Marketing personalization is when an organization interacts with its audience or customers in a way that feels uniquely personal to them. That means understanding their likes, dislikes, personal info, previous purchases, and hobbies and interests.
The most effective personalization is across all touchpoints that a consumer has with a brand, whether that’s email, in-store, online or through the post. A typical personalization strategy includes targeted emails, personalized online ads, tailored content and product recommendations on websites.
Why personalization is important
Remember the supporting research we mentioned earlier? Well, there’s a lot of it, so we’ll pick some of the most compelling stats to show why personalization can make a difference:
- 90% of customers find personalization appealing
- 91% are more likely to shop with brands that remember them
- 42% are actively annoyed by a lack of personalization
- 72% say they only engage with personalized marketing
Four different studies, all with the same message. There are many more.
But personalization doesn’t just matter from a consumer perspective. Businesses can also gain a significant competitive edge through greater insights into their customers, with Accenture figures showing 83% of people are willing to share their data in order to receive more personalized offers
How digital humans can offer a personalized experience
So how DO digital humans help with your valuable personalization efforts? We’ve chosen six of the best to highlight:
- They use your customer’s name
- You can speak to their interests
- They provide information when it’s needed
- You can predict future demands
- They embody your brand values
- Users interact across various touchpoints
We’ll unpack these further below.
1. They use your customers’ names
“What’s in a name?” mused Romeo in Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy. The protagonist inferring that you can call something by any name, it doesn’t really change anything.
“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
But if Romeo was responsible for talking to your customers, he’d soon change his tune, and discover how wrong he actually is.
Using your customers name is perhaps the easiest way to show them that you value them as an individual.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? You’d think it would be a no-brainer in any personalization strategy. And yet customer service reps only use a customer’s name 21% of the time, on average.
Jumping to another author of merit, American writer Dale Carnegie disagreed with Shakespeare’s idealistic lead man. “A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
So be more like Dale, and less like Romeo. And make sure your customer-facing technologies do the same.
Digital humans not only ask a person their name at the start of an interaction (and use it throughout) but they can also pull the information automatically from your database if that person is already a customer.
Notice if you chat to Sophie (our digital human) she’ll ask your first name. She’ll then remember it and greet you when you return for another chat.
2. Speak to their interests
We know what you’re thinking. “If I can’t base my entire marketing personalization strategy on a Shakespearean character, what’s the point?” Well, you can. Consider Hamlet
“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio. A fellow of infinite jest; of most excellent fancy.”
Make an effort to know your customers – and potential customers – and appeal to their interests.
Marketing personas hold a wealth of insights and can help you understand what your customers are interested in – and use that to tailor your communications. After all, people may not be passionate about your brand (yet!) but they do care about their hobbies and interests.
Most brands are lagging far behind in showing this extra level of care and interest.
Some 68% of customers expect brands to demonstrate empathy.
Two in three want brands to understand their unique needs and expectations. The same amount (66%) say they’re generally only ever treated like numbers
One relatively simple way to understand customers better on this level, is to better understand how they use your product or service. Know what they spend most of their time doing. It means you can understand what they’re interested in, and even suggest other areas of your business they may not be fully utilizing.
Being able to call on this information when talking with a customer in real-time can take interactions to the next level, leading to deeper, more meaningful conversations.
Digital humans can do that by simply connecting to your databases. They find data in an instant and talk to customers with a sophisticated understanding of who they are and what they care about most.
3. Giving people answers when they need them
Digitalization has helped brands reach more consumers than ever before. So many, in fact, that it’s sometimes difficult for marketing and customer service teams to keep up.
Once a potential customer is aware of your products and services and is showing purchasing intent, they’ll likely have some questions. That’s why marketing teams write thousands of words in landing pages, brochures, emails and more – they’re trying to answer the most common queries people have.
But this puts the onus on the consumer to make the effort. They need to spend time and effort searching for the information they need. Why make it so hard for them? Real-time responses are what’s required, particularly when someone is still deciding on which brand to go with. You’ll want to strike while the iron is hot, not cool their interest by being unresponsive.
Digital humans offer a conversation at any time, day or night. They can find answers for your potential buyers, instead of buyers having to do all the leg work themselves. They can even qualify leads before funneling through to the right human teams, if necessary.
4. See into the future (kind of)
So by now, you can probably tell that we’re not huge Romeo fans when it comes to his stance on marketing personalization. So much so, we’d consider the Three Witches from Macbeth to be better representatives of your marketing efforts
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
Don’t misquote us, digital humans don’t have a crystal ball into the future. But by collecting the most common things your customers ask, you can start spotting trends in what matters most to them.
If you sell hats online, for instance, you might notice more and more people asking about Panama varieties. Next thing you know, Panama hats are back in fashion, and you’ve pre-empted it by analysing your customer interactions.
This isn’t an exclusive trait of digital humans. Conversational AI platforms in general can perform the same functions. Digital humans just look great doing it.
5. Embody your brand values
If someone follows your social media accounts, subscribes to your newsletter and regularly buys your products and services, it’s fair to say their values probably align with yours. They obviously see something they like.
Up to 83% of people now say it’s important to them that they buy from brands who align with their own personal values.
Marketers will tell you it’s sometimes difficult to appeal to those shared values in a way that feels authentic and personal. It’s why so many major brands partner with ambassadors and influencers who can loan a brand their personality, values and credibility.
This is an ever-growing part of digital human strategy. A digital human is a brand ambassador that embodies the values of your company.
In fact, determining how a digital human embodies the brand they work for is one of the most exciting parts of the journey. How they look, act and sound – even down to the clothes they wear and the words they use – can all be tailored to represent what your business stands for. Much like real brand ambassadors, it’s about letting the power of personality reflect brand values. Showing them, not just talking about them.
6. Interact across troublesome silos
Almost half of us say being transferred between people is the biggest customer experience bugbear. Things we enjoy more? Sitting in traffic or waiting in line at the DMV!
It leads to the customer being asked the dreaded “and how can I help you today” for the third time in a row.
And that’s when things go wrong. What about when things go right? Customer journeys are rarely a straight and narrow path these days.
If your customer speaks to you in store, by phone, via email, on social media and through your app, it’s safe to say they won’t be speaking to the same person – let alone someone who remembers them.
With a digital human, you can have the same person speaking to your customer across multiple touchpoints (online, mobile and in-person via physical kiosks).
Having a familiar face at every stage of the journey delivers a more personalized experience. And when that digital human has the right information at its virtual fingertips to continue conversations, it’s clear we’re entering a new era of personalization and customer experience.