Personalization to Individualization

Marketers have always desired to bond with their customers one on one. That kind of relationship has been the fantasy of marketers from long time. Mass personalization got us close to that ideal but its now high time for the businesses to realize that personalization is now archaic. Surprised! But this is true. This is the age of data and it all boils down to adopting data-driven marketing.

Till now you might have impressed your customers with Mass Personalization, a way of marketing where you send out a personal communication to your entire list wherein the only thing personal is the name and every one is doing this. So, the basic personalization is an expectation, not an innovation. Businesses now want to offer their customers what they want. Personalization based on basic data simply isn’t enough anymore.

Today, every customer wants to be treated differently. They want the business to make them feel special, thus changing the face of marketing. Therefore, its time to start participating in Personalization versus Individualization discourse, setting the new standards for the way marketers connect with their customers.

Let’s understand how personalization is different from individualization, in terms of the way they relate to marketing:

Personalization was the first step towards targeted mass marketing messages. As big data and personalization AI evolved, there was every reasons to use basic user data to personalize fundamental mass communications over channels like emails and SMS. It also became common practice to offer a personalized greeting to website visitors, or to drive product recommendation engines from basic data like past purchases or items in abandoned carts.

Segmentation built on basic user data also allowed the designers to create designs and layouts for individual segments, or to scale interfaces for different devices. In essence, personalization has allowed creating cohorts, in order to create better content or massaging for each group.

Individualization, however, is an attempt to communicate directly to each individual within those cohorts, and to utilize a much more specific data set. Rather than communicating with an individual lead based on the group or segment that they best fit into, we try to communicate with them based on their personal preferences, and on data that is unique to them.

Data driven marketing is a concept where one is not pushing or spamming customers with irrelevant messages. It’s a marketing technique, which goes beyond mere conversation and can be called true engagement with the customer

  • Personalization is interruptive and Individualized insights are intimate. Gone are the days of broadcasting messages to audiences. Customers today, are fed-up with fragmented messaging, spamming and other seemingly coercive tactics. Through technology we can now enable businesses and consumers to develop partnerships and – in the best-case scenario – even become one, creating the eventual, close customer experience.

  • Personalized marketing does not require much data and Individualized insights integrate all relevant data. You don’t need much intricacy to add a name to the top of an email or send out an “Anniversary” discount. However, to deliver more relevant and timely interactions, you need to know your customer completely. Businesses need to eliminate silos, integrate all the data points, then analyse data and act accordingly on those insights.

  • Personalized communication is good to have but Individualized insights help you understand your customers better and lets you provide them with what they want. Individualized insights take your marketing campaigns to a completely new level where your engagement is not intrusive. With individualized insights you’re able to give customers what they want, not just what they expect. Your customers want you to understand their preferences and behaviour, and they want you to use those insights to deliver meaningful, timely interactions.

So do not waste time and resources mastering yesterday’s mass personalization techniques. In order to maintain your competitive edge, you need to use all the data that is available to create interactions that are relevant and valuable to your customers. When the customer, brand and marketer are aligned, the customer experience is optimized, and you can move far beyond mere personalization to true individualization.