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4 ways to create an effective personalization strategy

Creating a personalization strategy can ensure that businesses offer the best possible experience to customers, with simple yet effective interactions.

If a company wants to make its customers happy, it needs to know a lot about them, but simply having that information isn't enough; the business needs to know how to use it.

Building an effective personalization strategy doesn't happen overnight -- there are many factors that contribute to personalizing content for a customer experience.

Here are four tips to create an effective personalization strategy.

Adopt a customer data platform

Customer data platforms (CDPs) unify customer data in one platform, drawing from marketing, sales, e-commerce and customer service systems to create a golden record of customer data.

In response to smaller vendors such as Lytics, AgilOne, Redpoint Global and Arm Treasure Data developing CDPs, large CX vendors such as Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle followed suit and now offer CDPs. Collecting customer data into one database is useful for businesses to provide quality customer interactions and is also useful for building a personalization strategy.

Companies such as Entercom Communications Corp., a Philadelphia-based broadcasting company and radio network, use Lytics' CDP to gather customer data using phone numbers from call-in listeners or personal information from people who enter contests using an app, which helps create profiles. Entercom uses the CDP to identify who makes up its customer base, which helps to increase app usage and target radio listeners with personalized content and ticket offers.

Use a personalization engine

A personalization engine is software that runs in the cloud and can select content to deliver to customers based on their preferences and behaviors. Personalization engines can also define customer segments and monitor customer choices so companies can determine what improvements need to be made to enhance an experience.

Having a CDP in place can simplify building audience profiles by creating a single source of truth for all customer-related data.

Personalization engines need access to a lot of customer information, so it is important to organize and tag content appropriately. Having a CDP in place can simplify building audience profiles by creating a single source of truth for all customer-related data.

Create customer journey maps

Customer journey maps show the different stages of customer interactions with a company. When a business is mapping customer journeys, it is essential to create a customer persona. This tells a company what a customer expects and wants from an experience, as well as what frustrates them, enabling a business to adjust the experience to meet expectations.

Businesses can collect behavioral customer data through CRMs, surveys and analytics to create a comprehensive and complete customer profile. Different departments within businesses can see a customer in different ways, so a complete view of a customer is essential.

Businesses should use a centralized system to collect customer data from any team, which creates a complete view of a customer persona. If an aspect of the customer persona changes, then the customer journey changes, too.

Provide an omnichannel experience

An omnichannel experience aims to give a complete view of a customer's activity, updated in real time. To accomplish this, businesses must unify the data. One popular method is through the use of API bundles from the various social, web and mobile channels a company uses, feeding into a CDP. Omnichannel means that there is integration between all channels of communication, which enables companies to easily access all customer information. By creating a cohesive view of the customer, businesses can use all accessible information to personalize the customer experience.

Because customers can communicate with a business via phone, email, chat, social media and more, companies must learn which ones their customers use the most and prioritize those avenues, investing time to create a consistent look and feel across them all. It's also important to keep track of how each channel performs in terms of customer experience.

Once these channels are in place, businesses need to evaluate their success in terms of the entire customer experience, rather than success by channel.

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