As clients and customers, we crave to feel unique, and we love extreme personalization.
A couple of examples?
We’re delighted when we receive a customized newsletter for our birthday, or when the Facebook feed matches our interests. Or even when we find the ideal item on an online shop at first sight.
And guess what? You have to thank AI-based algorithms for it, but we are going to discuss it later.
If you need an offline example, only remember the last time you went to Starbucks. They gave you a cup with your name written on it. It feels good, right?
We will talk about personalization and why it is so essential in today’s marketing.
We are going to discuss a curious case history about… pasta and music.
Are you ready to play?
Why personalization is relevant
Let’s begin by saying that if you want to run a business and want your customers to love you and be faithful to your brand, you can’t escape personalization.
If there is something that modern marketing can teach us, personalization is a must-have for any modern brand because we live in a hyper-personalized world.
It is over the time when Ford could say, about his Model T car, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.”
Personalization is one of the most important drivers of modern marketing because of several reasons.
People are expecting companies to provide a personalized experience. If a brand wants to stand out, simple personalization is not enough – it has to be particularly good and remarkable. Even original, if possible.
From Harvard to Deloitte: the importance of personalization
Studies proved that people crave a personalized experience. According to a Deloitte study, “36% of customers are interested in buying personalized products, and 48% said they would be willing to wait longer to receive it”. You can tell that personalization has a lot of power!
As we were saying, it is a must-have and not a “nice to have” any more. We are not only talking about a competitive advantage that could distinguish you from your competitor, but of something more meaningful and subtle than that.
Of course, marketers are not blind, and they gradually implemented personalization in their marketing strategies to improve sales and leads – and they succeeded. The reasons why personalization pays backs are, again, numerous and all valid.
Everage published a survey in which 61% of marketers said that personalization “helped them deliver better customer experience”.
If you use personalization tactics well enough, you will provide an enhanced experience, which will lead to more interactions and a growing reputation and relationship with customers.
Benefits of personalization are uncountable. It will increase sales and conversion, creating better revenue. Also, retention will skyrocket – if you manage to increase customer retention by 5%, you can also increase profits by 25% up to 95%. Who says so? Well, Harvard.
However, personalization is not an easy job, and you may wonder where to start.
We will explain in a second, for now, let’s say that there are several ways to do it: enhance your customer journey, email marketing, A/B testing… and even something more uncommon, as you will see in the next lines.
Personalization, a case: Barilla, the cooking time and music
Barilla is an Italian brand that produces pasta and baked goods, and it is famous in its home country and worldwide. Recently, the company hit the headlines because of a new branding campaign about cooking time and… music playlists.
The insight for the campaign was the cooking time for pasta. It seems an easy thing, but it is not so simple everywhere.
In Italy, pasta is usually cooked “al dente”, literally “to the tooth”, which means that it is still slightly firm on the outside and not overcooked. To obtain this result, all you have to do is to bring the water to a boiling point, put the pasta in it, wait for it to start bubbling again and cook the pasta the number of minutes written on the packaging (even if sometimes this number is quite hard to find).
It seems pretty straightforward, so, where is the problem?
There are several ideas about cooking pasta times around the world, and they don’t necessarily match.
Some people throw pasta against the wall and, if it’s stuck, then it’s ready.
Other people put raw pasta in cold water and then bring it to a boil.
Every time you do this, an Italian has a heart attack (we are joking, of course).
Apart from the risk of overcooking pasta – a real crime in Italy -, there is another issue: waiting for your lunch to be ready can be dull.
You only stay here waiting for heat doing its job, and the tic-tac of the clock seems a never-ending story, especially if you are hungry or in a hurry.
The Barilla solution: Spotify playlists
Barilla, along with its communication agency Publicis and Spotify, found an idea to avoid overcooked pasta. An idea that is funny, entertaining, engaging and, last but not least, extremely customizable.
The best part is that Spotify created eight different playlists, each one between 9 and 11 minutes long – several pasta shapes’ cooking times. In this way, Barilla playlists become a timer and also a way to have fun while you are waiting for your dinner to be ready.
However, how can it be personalized and why we discussed it in a personalization-themed article?
Because it is not only music, but it is personalized in three different ways – pasta, genre and even album cover.
First, we saw that every playlist has a different time. Why? Because it adapts to different shapes of pasta, that requires an extra time of cooking. In this way, people can choose the music according to their favourite format.
On the other side, the playlists match a different music genre to every shape. In this way, customers can also select their favourite pasta of the day according to the music they want to listen to.
Last but not least, there is also a graphical part of the project. Every playlist cover is an original design by an independent illustrator.
People can choose their lunch according to their music preferences, the amount of time they have, their favourite pasta or even the artwork they love the most.
How to achieve personalization with AI and machine learning
We understood that personalization is the non plus ultra of marketing, and now we all are hungry because of Barilla’s playlists.
But how does AI work when it comes to personalization?
It works marvellously because it helps personalize digital strategies thanks to different tools and techniques. Let’s see some examples together.
If you want to know more about your customers, prospects and market, you need data. Moreover, you need to collect and analyze them at best.
Artificial intelligence helps you collect the data from several sources in no time. If needed, it can also segment them by different categories – it will make the analysis easier.
Track data about the channels they prefer, and then cross them to obtain the big picture.
You can do that by using Target Market analytics tools, for example, or you can leverage them from calls, CRM, feedback, reviews, social listening and more.
You can use the GhostwriterAI CX Analytics tool to have some meaningful help.
Study of the competitors
Again, if you don’t know who you want to attract and who you should watch your back from, you will probably have some troubles.
Thanks to several tools and techniques, AI helps you to identify your competitors and define the field you are playing in. Algorithms can give you pieces of information about topics, keywords, and queries that will help you better determine your opponents.
Google Suggest, using machine learning, finds user searches related to the topic. It is one of the advantages when you decide to use search completion. Google uses Semantic search and Natural Language Processing to understand the search query’s intent and suggest new results.
Ghostwriter.AI uses Artificial Intelligence and algorithms to help brands to define the limits of their competitive field and better compete in their niche.
Use of Buyer Personas
We love buyer personas. We love them so much that we have already discussed them as one of the most valuable marketing tools.
If you craft some buyer personas, you will have a more precise vision of how your customers think and act. So, you can decide your net marketing actions. Artificial intelligence helps their definition in many ways, for example, by making them even more efficient and focused. Next to it, it can evolve personas into personalization, from 2D to 3D models.
AI can collect a lot more information. Thanks to the high level of automation, it can assist in the content creation and delivery processes uniquely. It can thanks to a lot more data, by automating the process and maximizing relevance to prospects and customers.
If you aren’t new in advertising, you know how crucial A/B tests are.
They can tell you which elements of your advertising work best. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about copy, headline or CTA buttons.
With Artificial Intelligence tools, you can use AI to run A/B tests in a more efficient way and obtain a higher ROI.
AI makes data analysis faster and more accurate, thanks to the fact that it can work by itself, adjusting parameters. Moreover, it can test many variables at a time. It means shorter times and more chances to identify the best combination of variables.
It also means that it can analyze at once more pieces of information and reach its conclusions in a more accurate and faster way.
Personalization isn’t easy to achieve in the best way possible. Still, it is a work in progress, a journey that never stops and brings you several advantages in terms of brand awareness and your target audience’s loyalty.
Moreover, there are several ways to do this, even funny ones, as Barilla teaches us. And if you use AI, the game is on fire!
Did you already use personalization techniques and tactics? How did it go?