As a small business owner, you know that customers are gained and retained based on your ability to give them what they need, when they need it, at the right price.
Post-pandemic, customer behavior is evolving. Consumers don’t want to be a faceless buyer that fits a user persona—they want to be known and treated as individuals. Thus, it might be time to implement a hyper-personalization strategy to make buyers feel like you’re helping them—and only them—with their purchase journey.
Need convincing? Read on.
Salesforce defines hyper-personalization as “seek[ing] to hold a 1-to-1 conversation with each customer, across all channels.”
Personalization techniques like inserting a customer’s first name in an email subject line are still relevant—but hyper-personalization goes well beyond that.
Hyper-personalization enables a business to provide an exceptional customer service experience to existing customers. It also moves other consumers into your sales funnel based on their behavior within or outside of your company. Creating hyper-personalization requires having enough integrated data to predict how a person may behave—perhaps even anticipating what they want before they figure it out. (We’ll cover how to get this data later in the article.)
Having an integrated data solution means having 1 place to know everything about a person—no more surfing 3 different spreadsheets to find a customer’s last order date, routine order details, and birthdate.
Hyper-personalization often requires using data you wouldn’t ordinarily possess based on your interactions with a customer. For example, suppose someone bought hiking boots from your retail store and a local hiking trail map from another retailer. That’s a missed cross-sale opportunity for your business. Suppose instead that, using outside data sources, you’d known that the customer had recently moved to the area. In that case, you could have suggested a map to go with the customer’s new boots.
Another example is determining the customer’s intention when they search for “best cooler” on your website. With enough data, you could predict that they are tailgaters, not car-campers, and then display search results to fit that need. No more forcing the shopper to narrow down the options using product filters such as cooler weight and capacity.
Hyper-personalization might sound like yet another buzzword, but it’s really a progression of the personalization that consumers already expect.
Customers want customized interactions, and providing them can increase your business’s sales revenue. Gartner says that “88% of surveyed consumers reported not receiving ‘tailored help,’” or messages that actually help them in their journey. And supporting consumers using hyper-personalization could, according to Deloitte, “lift sales by 10% or more.”
Hyper-personalization is relevant even if you run a B2B business. The buyer is now a group of people with different roles in the purchasing process—but they still want to be treated as a business with needs, not a spoke in the wheel.
B2B hyper-personalization means focusing on the other business’s challenges vs. simply selling your product’s features. If you understand what problem that business is trying to solve as well as how to communicate to each member of the team, then you can move the collective buying team along your customer journey.
Hyper-personalization sounds great for Fortune 100 companies with resources to spare, but can your small business actually do it? Yes, you can—if you identify your goals and then use technology to your advantage.
Deloitte’s whitepaper “Connecting With Meaning” says: “It is important that an organization choose the solutions that are best suited for its brand image, customer relationship, and industry. This means conducting a self-assessment to understand goals and current state, and then building a roadmap based on identified priorities.”
In other words, you won’t implement every aspect of hyper-personalization. Instead, focus on your most important business goal (e.g., increase customer loyalty, increase conversion, etc.).
Imagine, using our hiking boot example, that your goal was to increase cross-sales. Your current state is that you have known data (e.g., a hiking boots purchase) and missing data (e.g., the buyer recently relocated to the area). That means you need a data source to tell you if the customer is new to the area. That data could be purchased through a partner or generated via a lead-generation form that allows the person to download a “Best Local Hikes” in exchange for that information.
Next, choose where you’ll house the data—a customer relationship management (CRM) software, a customer data platform (CDP), or a combination of both. There are similarities between the 2 choices, but a big difference is that CRM software captures interactions (e.g., purchases), while a CDP can store behaviors (e.g., consumer browsing on your website).
Whichever tool you use should include artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities since hyper-personalization requires tracking and analyzing large amounts of data. AI algorithms can find data patterns and predict behavior, freeing up your time to provide the human touch in your interactions.
Finally, start collecting data, analyzing it, and testing which strategies help you accomplish your business goals. Hyper-personalization will involve testing different messages to see which resonates with each individual. Part of your balancing act will be to personalize without over-personalizing—you don’t want customers to complain that you know too much about them.
Effectively implementing hyper-personalization will require spending time and money—and maybe even seeking some help from outside experts.
Fortunately, Lendio can help you find a business loan so you can take steps to achieve the maximum benefits of using a hyper-personalization strategy.