According to a report commissioned by Mckinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions and about 76% of them get frustrated when this doesn’t happen. What we know is that personalization drives performance and better consumer outcomes. It is a crucial tool, but is it the only one?
In an exclusive interview with Communicate Nurcan Arcan, Regional Marketing Director at SaS, and Gül Sağır Aydın, Deputy General Manager at Hopi, an application offering personalized shopping experience discuss personalization and ways in which marketers and advertisers can get it right.
Is personalization the only effective marketing strategy in today’s times?
Nurcan Arcan: Businesses that are serious about providing outstanding CX must satisfy consumers' specific needs - when, how, and how often. Given that marketers now want to make their campaigns precise, targeted, digital, and contextualized, personalization enables them to do all this, in addition to meeting consumer demands at a granular level. Simply put, yes personalization is an effective marketing strategy in today’s times. By combining the capabilities of artificial intelligence and real-time data, this approach enables marketing campaigns to be more meaningful and impactful rather than being perceived as one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter strategies.
In image above: Nurcan Arcan, Regional Marketing Director at SaS
Gül Sağır Aydın: It would be too assertive to identify personalization as the only effective marketing strategy for the contemporary marketing discipline. But it is among the most effective ones. On the other hand, we shouldn’t see personalization as a concept concerning the demographic and personal data of the consumers. This is just the beginning. Knowing the shopping habits of consumers through big data and machine learning technologies, reminding them what they will need in the upcoming period, offering advantageous campaigns and deals, and predicting their likes in the future by analyzing their shopping habits are just a few examples of what you can do thanks to the capabilities of personalization.
In image above: Gül Sağır Aydın, Deputy General Manager at Hopi
As Hopi, we have been utilizing personalization for years by following the shopping transactions of our users. We are one of the first companies to catch this trend in Turkey. With effective CRM management, we aimed to contact our users personally by knowing them in every aspect and to create a difference through special offers and a sincere tone of voice right at the exact moment when they decide to make a purchase.
At the beginning of this year, we collaborated with SAS by taking personalization a step further and started the era of hyper-personalization in Hopi. In the coming days, we will have reached our goal of becoming an integrated marketing technology company that has developed all its muscles in personalization with the project to be completed by the end of the year.
What is Hyper-Personalization and how is it becoming important?
Nurcan Arcan: Hyper-personalization is creating and delivering targeted experiences through the use of data, analytics, AI, and automation. We live in a data-driven world. With touchpoints rapidly multiplying, consumer data continues to increase in volume and complexity. Insights derived from these touchpoints are crucial to improving the context of customer experiences. The whole process of doing so is hyper-personalization.
Gül Sağır Aydın: It is becoming important because businesses need to be more creative in the ways they engage customers with data and insights to succeed in this landscape. This can be achieved through a commitment to rich personalized storytelling to generate unique experiences that both attract and retain customers. Real-time marketing and hyper-personalization result in fewer, more relevant offers that decrease marketing costs while increasing marketing effectiveness. Delivering hyper-personalization to consumers drives brand loyalty and their response provides more insightful customer data. Gathering such detail from the consumer touch point enables organizations to evaluate how effective their marketing department is from an engagement perspective. Furthermore, by understanding their customers at a deeper level, it is easier for organizations not only to retain them but also to attract dissatisfied customers from competing brands.
What are the consumer expectations from a personalized marketing approach?
Gül Sağır Aydın: Today, each consumer wants to be known and feel she/he is treated specially. At this point, companies that are aware of the power of technology prefer to process the data in their hands very well with marketing technologies and develop data-oriented marketing strategies.
The expectation of consumers is to work with user-friendly and much faster companies which are with them at every moment, know them very well and make their lives easier, reduce their mental efforts with artificial intelligence, and they play together, have fun, and get excited. The business world can only acquire these competencies through personalization.
How do you think brands need to approach personalization? As the only tool to target effectively or as one of the many?
Nurcan Arcan: Hyper-personalization is not a tool but an all-pervasive concept that can be applied across the customer journey. Regardless of how many marketing tools an organization uses, hyper-personalization can be applied to each one of them to make the consumer experience more targeted. For example, if an organization wants to market its product using email, it can apply hyper-personalization to this tactic and enable consumers to receive targeted emails with personalized product recommendations based on their geography, demographic, previous purchase, view history, and psychographics.
Gül Sağır Aydın: Today, at a time when classical marketing approaches are becoming insufficient, brands are in competition to offer more personalized products and services to target audiences. There are, of course, many methods that can be used for effective targeting, but today, personalization is one of the most important and remarkable approaches to making a difference. the promise of personalization is not only to offer an effective targeting ability but also to create sustainable and strong ties between the brand and its customers by improving the customer experience. There are so many instruments in the world of marketing, and personalization allows companies to gain the capabilities of having power and speed in this race. So, it is surely impossible not to involve it in every process.
What does personalization mean in the age of AI and digital marketing? How has it evolved?
Nurcan Arcan: In the past, organizations heavily relied on historical data and crafted cookie-cutter campaigns to market products and services because the concept of personalization was present across certain industries, and was narrowed it down to particular products.
In a word, AI can enable “optimization” in hyper-personalization today. It has made digital marketing more experiential, which is a good aspect considering that consumers in the GCC region are becoming more and more comfortable with digital products and services. Moreover, leveraging AI for hyper-personalization has proven to improve customer conversion, retention, advocacy and lifetime value.
How can personalization contribute to the maintenance of business, income, and marketing models?
Gül Sağır Aydın: There is quite intense competition in the market. This competition makes products, prices, tone of voice, and frequency of communication become the same. Customers prefer brands offering the best experience and even pay more for a better experience. As I already mentioned before, personalization creates a magical effect on the customer experience.
We can already foresee those personal experiences will gradually become widespread to increase interaction and brands cannot ignore this. Personalization creates customer loyalty, and customer loyalty creates sustainable marketing models. We can consider this as a cycle feeding each other. The important thing is to regularly care for the needs of each part within this cycle and to proceed meticulously without ignoring that this is an ever-changing one. In other words, sustainable marketing models require the mentioned care and personal solutions. The basis of this care relies on technology and artificial intelligence.
As Hopi, we aim to become different by offering our customers the most suitable proposal for them at the most appropriate time and place in this chaos and competition of campaigns, facilitating life and making the shopping experience exciting and enjoyable. Once the hyper-personalization project we carry out with SAS is completed, unlike traditional segmentation methods, we will have a new customer analytics solution where each of more than 13 million Hopi users is a separate segment. This means that we will almost triple the conversion rates of our business partners working with us. As a result, the project will have created valuable opportunities for all parties with a win-win effect.
With the personalization mechanism, we will turn into a structure that can instantly adapt itself to changing customer behaviors, anticipate the next steps of customers and provide them the benefits with which they will be the happiest. We can say that such a customer experience is the first for the market and our country.