Marketers believe in personalization — 98% say it advances customer relationships, and 48% plan to spend more on it this year compared with 37% in 2018, according to 2019 Trends In Personalization, a study by Evergage. But that doesn’t mean they grasp it.
Only 18% are highly confident that their firm has a successful personalization strategy, the study found. In addition, 45% lack the data they need to drive effective personalization. And 65% give themselves a “C” or lower in the personalization skill sets.
What’s more, personalization doesn’t appear to very robust outside of the email channel.
Of the 314 B2B and B2C brands surveyed by Evergage, 78% personalize their email, and 58% do so with their websites. Yet only 42% deploy personalization in person, and 35% personalize in their online advertising
Things are worse when it comes to apps — 28% personalize in mobile apps, and 19% through web applications.
Those are the negatives in this study. Now on to the positives.
For one, 85% believe customers and prospects expect a personalized experience. For another, 74% feel personalization should be a higher priority at their firms. And 70% believe it has a strong or extremely strong impact.
There is good reason for thinking this. Of the brands using personalization, 90% report a measurable improvement in results. For 58%, that boost is higher than 10%, and for 15% it tops 30%.
What are the primary reasons to deploy personalization?
For 88%, the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, while for 59% it is to increase loyalty and for 50% the goal is to generate measurable lift/ROI.
Some of that is being achieved, if the list of benefits is any indicator.
The top benefit, cited by 61% of the respondents, is increased conversion rates -- up from 51% last year. And 59% report improved visitor engagement, a jump from 55% in 2018.
Another 56% see an improved customer experience, versus 55% last year. And 56% enjoy increased lead generation/customer acquisition, a gain over 46% in the 2018 study.
Adding it all up, 97% are increasing or maintaining their personalization budgets.
How are brands approaching personalization? Of those surveyed, 68% are using rule-based targeting. Another 51% send triggered messages and 40% utilize machine learning/algorithmic personalization, a jump from 26% last year.
These findings seem to support the results of other studies. For example, BRP recently reported that only 53% of retailers see personalization as a top priority.
The trouble is that consumers want it — 79% in the case of retail. Clearly, some brands have to catch up with customer expectations.