It’s no secret that personalized marketing was a key talking point last year. And with consumers increasingly demanding more personalized experiences from brands, in 2019 it’s set to reach new heights.

Dynamic Yield surveyed 700 marketers and executives and found 92% believe personalization is valuable, with 49% of companies identifying it as a top-priority investment for them.

For every consumer-centric brand in 2019, garnering trust and loyalty through personalized experiences is top of mind. In 2018, these brands proved how to do it in a unique and compelling way.

1. Asos

Asos is the leading online fashion and cosmetics retailer who netted nearly 50 million app installs in 2017 alone.

Having uncovered the insight that 43% of its shoppers using the saved items function had more than 50 products in their list, and some as many as 500, the brand saw an opportunity to help its consumers organize and compartmentalize these items.

In response, the new Boards function was released in late 2018.

These boards allow its users to sort their saved items into specific categories, either created by the users themselves or suggested by the site. This way, their brand experience is completely personalized to their own wishes, and Asos gets more in-depth insight into the product categories most important to shoppers.

With personalization at the heart of the product, the brand plans to continuously improve using tech like machine learning to cater to its customers in more unique ways.

Asos Product Manager, Charmaine Aksakal, told Drapers, “Future updates, from sharing functionality to new layouts and product and Board suggestions driven by machine learning, will empower our customers with fresh ways to find and share inspiration and discover their personal style.”

2. Graze

Healthy snack company, Graze, is no stranger to to personalization. And it’s a brand that knows for personalization to work, it means data, and lots of it.

The business idea is deceivingly simple: customers share their snack likes, dislikes and allergies and receive a regular subscription box full of personalized goodies.

And with the brand offering around 500 products, there are 20 million possible snack combinations for any given Graze box.

It clearly shows the importance of knowing exactly what each consumer wants and, perhaps even more importantly, doesn’t want to receive.

Graze’s answer to this is to use advanced algorithms to decide what goes into each box.

According to the team, the algorithms use 300 million customer ratings of its products at a rate of 15,000 an hour, as well as other factors. The end result is that the snack boxes are customized based on data straight from the consumers, along with other elements like nutrition and variety.

Proving the power of personalized marketing with data at its core, Graze is one brand that’s keeping the focus squarely on its consumers.

“Graze is a data-fuelled culture,” Co-Founder and CTO Edd Read says. “We use it to make enormous decisions – we are incredibly inquisitive, almost obsessive on some things.”

3. Spotify

It’s no secret that music streaming giant, Spotify, loves to create marketing campaigns based on its in-house user data.

But for its end-of-year campaign, #2018Wrapped, the brand took personalization to the next level.

Going beyond its staple witty billboards, Spotify created an end-to-end experience, entirely tailored to each user.

First, the user received a personalized email revealing bite-sized insight into their listening habits in 2018, such as the number of songs they listened to, along with a CTA to click through to a customized microsite.

Next, after connecting the site to their account, the user got an editorialized overview of their 2018 music habits, including their top artists and genres, minutes spent listening, and even how their habits compare to other users’.

Finally, their personal account generated custom playlists for the user, such as their Top Songs of 2018 and Tastebreakers, i.e. songs they haven’t listened to but Spotify thinks they would enjoy based on their past interactions.

With #2018Wrapped, the brand made use of its wealth of data to create a highly personalized and easy-to-share campaign. It stretched across platforms, but still enabled users to really dig into the catalogue and reminisce over their relationship with the brand.

4. Nike

CEO of the legendary sports brand, Mark Parker, says Nike’s goal is “to be more personal at scale.”

And it makes sense. The brand recently revealed that Nike+ loyalty program members and users of Nike apps (such as SNKRS, a personalized shopping experience, and NikeID, a product personalization app) spend nearly triple what casual shoppers on do.

With this in mind, the brand has made strides towards becoming more direct-to-consumer and personalized than ever, partly by acquiring consumer data and analytics company, Zodiac, for easy access to bespoke insight.

Having this kind of deeper insight into its target audience paid off during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

During the two previous tournaments, the brand kept a singular focus on viral ads featuring international stars of the sport, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

But last year, Nike decided to do something different.

Jesse Stollak, VP of Global Football Brand Marketing at Nike, says, “The first thing we looked at as we built the strategy was how the consumer landscape had evolved since 2014. We noticed how teen media consumption had shifted to time spent on Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube versus traditional broadcast.”

It is increasingly difficult to create a single, one-size-fits-all piece of content, but when we are more specific in the story related to consumer interests and channel, we’re more relevant and thus more effective.”

The resulting campaign spread its content across paid and owned media, creating one overarching storyline and allowing consumers to choose when, where and how to take in the campaign in a way that suits them.

It’s personalization at its finest – adapting strategy and creative to truly meet consumers in terms of where and how they want to engage with the brand.

5. Netflix

No one does personalization quite like streaming giant, Netflix, and it all comes down to being completely data-driven.

And it’s an approach that’s paying off – our latest entertainment report shows Netflix is now the top choice for video streaming in all the global regions we cover.

It’s become a well-known fact that no two Netflix homepages look the same, owing to the tracking and algorithms used by the service.

But interestingly, it doesn’t look at traditionally important demographic data such as age or gender. Instead, it all comes down to behaviors.

“If you click play nowadays in the streaming world, it tells volumes more information that is a lot less superficial than getting someone’s gender and age,” says Todd Yellin, VP of Product at Netflix.

To make the most of this data, the brand uses extensive A/B testing, shows a number of different product images for each title, recommends titles based on viewing history, and experiments with the timings of its recommendations.

In the end, the success of Netflix’ personalization lies in identifying and providing the content and experience its users want – and that may look different to everyone who uses the service.

How to make personalized marketing work in 2019

Consumers now demand more tailored and personalized brand experiences than ever – something that poses a huge challenge to brands heading into 2019.

New technology is making personalized marketing more achievable, but it doesn’t remove the need for marketers to take a hands-on approach. Here’s how.

1. Get access to the right data and make it work for you.

Use granular consumer data, based on behaviors, attitudes and more, to get to know your consumers and their actions. Bring all your data together to create a single customer view, enabling you to deliver a consistently personalized experience, regardless of touchpoint.

2. Profile your target consumers.

Use consumer data to build out real-life personas of your target audience, and personalize your communications for each group.

3. Offer the experience they want.

Once you know your consumers intimately, you can offer dynamic content to personalize the customer experience based on their interests, attitudes and behaviors.

4. Be authentic.

By matching your target audience’s brand experiences to your data, you can show you care about what they want. This not only boosts loyalty, but puts a human – or authentic – face to the brand.

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