How to create personalized digital interactions with your customers

I recently spent the night in a downtown San Francisco hotel. One part of the experience really jumped out at me as a way to build consumer advocacy.

Standing in line to check in, a hotel staff member approached me and simply said, “Hi, it’s good to see you again. Can I get you a bottle of water?”

It had been about three years since I last stayed in that hotel, and I’m sure that she sees thousands of people per day. Unless she has some kind of supernatural, freaky memory, there is no way that she could have remembered me. However, it was a nice, personal touch that remains memorable to me.

Digital Retention Marketing works in much the same way. In the real world, when the experience is face-to-face, it’s much easier to share the love and make an experience personal. Online, to millions of faceless consumers, the same degree of personalization becomes harder to replicate. Retention Marketing, when done well, can bridge the online gap and make digital interactions truly personalized.

Hypothetically, if you are a digital marketing professional who gets access to an army of data scientists, what kind of personalization would you offer to your customers?

Something easy would be to address customers by their first name: ‘Hi [FIRST_NAME]’; but you have an army, not just one soldier, so you should think bigger than that.

Maybe you could do some analysis to figure out what times people open their emails or come to your site – afternoon vs morning. Interesting idea, but again, you’ve got an army of data scientists, not just a few soldiers.

Perhaps you spent a little bit of time and did some A/B testing on your subject lines or on the colors of your website to ensure the best possible conversion rate. Good, but you’re still not thinking big enough.

Here is a thought. If, hypothetically, you had an army of data scientists, what if you analyzed when each one of your users opened their email? What if, at 2:14 PM, when Jane is taking her mid-afternoon coffee break, you sent her a specifically tailored message – the optimal one that was selected out of thousands to ensure a high rate of opening. And since you have an army, what if you also used the system to scour through your entire inventory and include in the email a set of products that are in stock and that match the sizes Jane is interested in?

And really, while we are fantasizing about our army of data scientists who have analyzed Jane’s behavioral, transactional, social, demographic, and a wide range of other custom data sets, we might as well predict what kind of offer she needs to receive to persuade her to purchase. Maybe it’s a 10% off coupon, 40% off, or maybe it’s something entirely different that is high value but low cost.

Our army would certainly make sure that Jane would be shown the same offer when she checks out on-site. They’d also be certain that any message pushed via a mobile app will be consistent with the offers everywhere else that have gone through the exact same amount of scrutiny.

Maybe our army could tie in to a call center so that when Jane calls up to ask a question about the widget she received an offer on, the call center representative could see the offer that Jane was given.

What if our army also tied in to POS, so that when Jane goes to the store in person, an employee can be standing by, prepared to present the specific offer or offers once more.

We’ve come a long way from personalization in marketing being ‘Hi [FIRST_NAME] at the start of a batch-and-blast campaign.

This scenario isn’t a fantasyland. This is the reality we live in, and every day at Retention Science, we help our clients manage this level of personalization. Not only does it generate higher conversion rates, it also creates as close to a digital experience as possible to my bottle of water at the downtown San Francisco hotel.

That doesn’t just create conversions, it creates advocates.

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