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This article was contributed by Diane Keng, CEO of Breinify

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, brands are looking to help consumers reconnect. With people now spending so much time online, the most effective way for brands to do this is by creating meaningful and relevant digital experiences with personalization that span the consumer journey.

The importance of optimizing the consumer journey

It’s no longer enough to personalize digital experiences by demographics and broad segments. Consumers want to be catered to as individuals, which means brands must deliver personalized experiences that are relevant at every stage of their journey. 

With the increase in time spent across digital platforms, the consumer journey is now more complex and takes place across multiple channels. There’s no longer a linear funnel — a clear path from point A to point B, like in a physical store. The journey has splintered into numerous touchpoints across multiple digital channels, where decisions are made and preferences formed in real-time. 

  • Google’s content marketing team discovered that consumers experience about 150 of these “micro moments” per day, including purchase moments, research moments, and discovery moments, among others. 
  • In these moments, brands have mere seconds to capture and keep consumers’ attention. 
  • It’s no longer enough to personalize digital experiences by demographics and broad segments. 
  • Personalizing each intent-rich moment can help brands gain a competitive advantage. These are opportunities to earn a consumer’s loyalty or turn them off completely.

Here’s an example of this level of personalization in action:

Diane usually buys wine online from her favorite online beverage retailer on Thursdays to prepare for the weekends. However, before a long weekend, she buys beer in addition to wine because she often hosts dinner parties and enjoys spending time with friends. 

With effective personalization, before a regular weekend, Diane will see product recommendations for wine, but before a long weekend, she will see product recommendations for both beer and wine, perhaps even with discount pricing on bundles of both. This ensures that Diane has a good experience and finds exactly what she’s looking for at the right moment. 

How brands can create micro moments with personalization

1. Set clear business objectives on what personalization will accomplish both in the short- and long-term. 

Long-term objectives, like increasing sales, are important but sometimes difficult to measure or take a while to see results. Short-term objectives, on the other hand, can be used to measure progress and results relatively quickly. For example, it would be easier to gauge the results if the short-term objective was to improve cart-to-checkout conversions on ecommerce channels in a quarter.

2. Identify one or two data-driven use cases that could help achieve these goals on a specific marketing channel. 

Using the above example, there are a couple of ways to improve the cart to check out conversions on e-commerce channels. The most basic use-case for personalization for brands is to provide personalized product recommendations based on purchase history and changing preferences to increase the likelihood of a conversion. Alternatively, if things are sitting in a consumer’s cart for a week, nudge them to check out by offering a 20 percent discount that expires in two days. 

3. Use AI-driven predictive personalization technology, which can deliver meaningful experiences and also be used to measure results. 

AI-driven solutions that are plug-and-play enable marketing teams to be more data-driven because they can identify patterns and discover opportunities for personalization that humans can’t. Predictive personalization for brands allows marketers to see results quickly and deliver personalized experiences at scale without manual-heavy processes like analyzing tons of data and then setting up segments and personalization rules. Aside from quick results, these tools also improve marketing ROI. 

4. Pick tools and vendors that align with your business goals and offer solutions that are scalable.

Technology should make your team’s day-to-day easier, not more difficult. Choose tools and vendors that understand your business, offer easy integration with existing marketing technology, and that don’t require too much manual configuration or too many engineering resources. Most tools take a minimum of six months to integrate, but it’s important to find tools that can integrate within weeks to get results faster. 

Brands can improve their connections with consumers by understanding their journey and optimizing it in meaningful ways — by creating relevant experiences at the right time through predictive personalization. This involves understanding consumers’ changing preferences, external factors, and additional context that might impact their behavior to provide them exactly what they are looking for at intent-rich moments. It’s a win-win because consumers find what they need at the appropriate time and have a good experience, and brands can meet their business objectives and improve marketing ROI. 

Diane Keng is the CEO and cofounder of Breinify

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