Personalization Everywhere. Everywhere Everywhere

Eric Jones, VP Digital Marketing

Two weeks ago I was part of a panel at the 2012 Digital Hollywood Media Summit called: “The Social Experience: Personalized Communication, Personalized TV, Personalized Apps, Personalized Commerce.”

The challenge with this topic (the inter-connected world we live in and the ability for brands and individuals to have a highly tailored experience in it) was the inability of the panel to provide a cohesive overview and executable plan in just 75 minutes. The conversation wandered into personalization, but remained mostly in the realm of Facebook and the pros/cons of EdgeRank.

Right now social is at a critical tipping point in terms of user experience, engagement, and content development/publishing. The rules of engagement are changing faster than marketers can sometimes react. Brands need to recognize this and build strategies to be successful in creating one-to-one engagements that maintain relevancy, while at the same time reaching a scale that drives a return.

  • Where does this leave brands in regards to providing personalized digital experiences?

  • What happens when you have a customer and employee base in the millions?

  • Is one-on-one personalization for organizations of all sizes possible and more importantly, scalable?

A Digiday article recently explored Proctor & Gamble’s move from their old marketing ways, to this more engaging direction. Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand building officer for P&G, says that the company is emphasizing the importance of creating and keeping one-to-one relationships by placing a greater emphasis on engaging consumers through mobile and social strategies. At r2i, we couldn’t agree more.

In my opinion, having worked with brands of all sizes across various industries, there are key steps to keep in mind that will help ensure the success of scalable mobile and social one-to-one personalization. Although the methodologies you use or the level of personalization your organization achieves may vary based on resources, industry, budget, or other factors, aiming to have a personalized and conversational approach is a great place to start. Implementing at any level will help avoid what Giselle Abramovich, author of the Digiday article, so aptly calls "the old-school broadcasting spray-and-pray approach that we have seen with some brands’ digital efforts…”

At r2i we focus on five building blocks for creating a personalized customer engagement model:

  1. Identify the audience & their decision making behavior: Personalization is going to be a challenge but even more so if you are trying to talk to everyone about everything. True personalization is going to start with clearly articulating your core audience and then making decisions based around why and how they want to engage with you.

  2. Listen to the conversation: Engage in a comprehensive listening exercise to understand how the audience is talking about you and your products. Start to build a plan/approach around how you would engage or escalate various conversations on a one-to-one level.

  3. Find your voice: Based on the listening and any active conversations, determine how you would engage, what you would say, who would say it? What types of assets or content needs to be created? This will allow you to craft an editorial calendar or simulate conversations based on real-time information?

  4. Reach out & engage: Jump into conversations to the level that you and your organization are capable of and comfortable with. Create digital and mobile assets that foster engagement and create an experience that your customers can engage with on the platforms that THEY WANT to engage with you on. In the beginning, it may start with utilizing social conversations in your email newsletters to make them more personal or timely while also ensuring that your content can be viewed on a mobile device. Beyond that, it should evolve into a conversation across various platforms.

  5. Analyze & optimize: Any program that you put into place needs to have a layer of social intelligence and analysis. How you are going to determine success needs to be agreed upon at the start and then monitored accordingly.

Although it’s not going to happen tomorrow, any organization in any industry , with direction and a focus on the individual and not the sale, can offer customers a true, fully integrated personalized digital experience.

As always, I welcome your feedback and thoughts. You can get me here,  @bmore_jones or info@r2integrated.com.
Eric Jones

About the author: Eric Jones

The R2i blog is a place for digital marketing and technology thought leaders to share their insights and perspective. We welcome contributions from experts in these areas and appreciate sharing fresh ideas, case studies, best practices, and innovations in online marketing. Interested in joining our esteemed group of guest bloggers? Send your ideas to marketing@r2integrated.com

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