Customer Data & Analytics Blog

Personalization versus relevance for today's customer

Chuck Leddy | 3 minute read

Personalization vs. relevance in #CustomerTech_Header

Today’s customers expect marketers to relate to them for an optimal customer experience. When marketers know their customers deeply, and can anticipate their needs, mutually-beneficial bonds get forged. Customers feel understood and get their needs met; marketers effectively nurture the relationships they’ve built, and continue to win them over with the right offers at the right time.

In this blog post, we’ll explain the difference between two commonly-confused buzzwords about engaging your customer, “personalization” and “relevance,” exploring each as a tactic and defining where they fit into today’s marketing landscape.

 Clarifying Terms

1. Personalization means that marketers have collected personal information about customers, such as their names, where they live, and other demographic data (likely via a CRM system), and utilize that data to communicate with customers. Think of how much better a customer experience feels, for example, when the salesperson uses your first name throughout an interaction.

 An example of personalization, in its simplest form, would be an email that says: “Hello [Your Name Here]! This week we’re offering you a free night at our hotel in Las Vegas if you book two nights.” While the message is personalized, it may not be relevant to your needs at the time you receive it. For a savvy customer, such personalization can feel empty, communicating that “the marketer might know my name but doesn’t really know anything else about me.”

2. Relevancy, on the other hand, is personal and timely. It can be defined as “using your marketing toolbox to create . . . offers and incentives which are relevant to the person on the receiving end.” So with relevancy, you not only use the person’s name to drive stronger engagement, but you are connecting with your customers preferences and needs in real-time, in a one-to-one way. Relevancy is customer-centric across all contexts.

Customers may appreciate personalization, but they love relevancy because it’s all about paying attention to their personal tastes, their preferred ways to interact, etc. When marketers deeply understand their customers and use that understanding to deliver superior customer experiences, you have relevance, satisfaction, and conversion.

Data is Key to Understanding Customers & Being Relevant

As marketers, the goal is always twofold: first, to understand your customer; second, to respond to customers by offering them the right messages at the right time and in the right way. How can marketers gain this profound understanding of their customers in order to drive great customer experiences? First, you need data management that enables you to access, analyze, and effectively channel customer data towards lift.

Gaining a deep, data-driven understanding of your customers requires visibility into their full customer experience/CX. You want to engage your customer in real-time, understanding and anticipating their needs rather than merely reacting to what they’ve already done. 120618_Personalization vs. relevance in #CustomerTech_subYour customer data is key to providing you with actionable insights that drive better messaging and superior CXs. With the help of automation, you can build and execute on complete customer profiles.

Automation like Zylotech offers marketers analytics about customers that can be quickly activated for meeting customers where they are. Indeed, the AI-driven Zylotech platform recognizes patterns in customer behavior and offers marketers predictive capabilities that enable them to proactively offer relevant products and content all along the customer’s journey. As all marketers know, nothing supports profitability like consistently delivering superior customer experiences.

4 CX Questions to Consider

To gauge whether you are indeed understanding your customers and their CX through your data, ask these questions: (1) Do you know who you’re talking to? (2) Do you know what problems your customers are trying to solve at each moment? (3) Do you know what needs your products might resolve? (4) Do the offers/messages you communicate align with the demographic, psychographic, and behavioristic knowledge you’ve collected about your customers?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you cannot understand and respond to your customers in the way they want. Achieving such visibility into the customer experience, through enhanced data capabilities, will certainly require investments in new technologies, but it’s far more expensive to continue wasting your scarce marketing resources on “irrelevant marketing” that gets ignored. Leveraging your customer data through customer analytics is the best way to deliver memorable customer experiences that will nurture your leads, convert them into sales, and boost your bottom line.

Chuck Leddy is a Zylotech contributing writer.

If you liked this post, check out our recent blog post, Democratizing data: How marketers are joining the data boom.

Topics: Customer Intelligence