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The Key to Understanding And Personalizing the Consumer Journey Is Context

Every marketer knows that understanding consumer needs is critical for business success. Today’s audiences are more conscious about where they shop, partly because they have so many choices available, but also because they want to feel like brands align with their personal values.

More than 30% of consumers will quit doing business with a preferred brand after just one bad experience.

PwC

Brand loyalty is still very much relevant, but it’s harder than ever to gain in the current landscape. The most successful way to gain loyalty is to get to know your consumers better. How? By researching and understanding consumers’ behaviors, needs, and wants.

What Consumer Behavior Can Tell Us

If you understand consumers’ needs and behaviors, you can offer more personalized experiences. The good news is that consumers are constantly telling you what they’re looking for. Through data, you can see information regarding their behaviors and preferences. For instance, do they research recipes for certain dietary needs? Are they purchasing specific types of alcohol? Have they been enjoying the summer weather?

Studying consumer behavior trends can help you better predict what audiences will do in the future. Historical purchasing patterns of groups and individuals can help you accurately forecast how particular consumers will engage with your brand.

But it’s not enough to simply collect large amounts of data. Your ability to use the data effectively depends on how well you organize it so you can extract actionable insights. Accurate predicting means leveraging historical data alongside temporal data to reveal how a consumer has acted in the past and predict how they might act in the present and future.

Why Context Is Vital to Understanding the Consumer Journey

Current global affairs — whether it’s a global pandemic, technological advancements, or ethical purchasing trends — greatly impact consumer behavior. Studying behavior via contextual data helps you understand consumers in real-time, allowing you to make even more accurate predictions.

In turn, this allows you to enable predictive personalization in your marketing efforts. Using what you know, you can pinpoint moments to personalize consumer experiences and maintain engagement. It’s about targeting the right consumers at the right times with the right information.

If you can use predictive personalization at different stages of the consumer journey, you’ll be able to align your marketing messages more closely with what consumers actually need. For example, you could predict a consumer’s e-commerce needs and recommend products they might need in the near future. These recommendations place your brand front and center and empower the consumer to make better online shopping decisions.

Dynamic personalization, or taking a consumer’s shifting identity into account, will earn loyalty. This keeps your audience from switching to another brand that promises to understand them better.

How to Use Contextual Data to Craft Personalized Consumer Experiences

Ready to better understand your consumers and create campaigns using predictive personalization? Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Set clear business objectives – To make the most out of the data you collect, it’s crucial to set short-term and long-term business goals. Enabling predictive personalization capabilities across channels within a year would be an example of a long-term business goal. A short-term business goal could look like increasing checkouts on an e-commerce platform in a single quarter. No matter what your targets might be, setting SMART goals will help you measure your progress and readjust when any challenges arise.
  2. Determine what data you need and leverage the data you have – When it comes to crafting a more personalized consumer journey, not all data carries the same weight. So, you need to be intentional with how you’re using data and what information you’re extracting to tell you about relevant consumer moments. Having clear business objectives will make it much easier to determine the kind of data you need to reach your business goals. Then, you can use that data to optimize the consumer journey in real time. Use what you learn about an individual across multiple touchpoints and different stages of their journey.

    From there, find ways to personalize digital experiences to make them truly one-to-one. Marketers often view personalized marketing as a case of increased segmentation. If you want to know audiences in more detail, however, you must create more segments by which to know them. Although segments can show you a lot about different audience personas, the key to meaningful personalization is deeply connecting to people individually — with all their complexity and history — and then using tech and AI to enable dynamic segmentation.
  3. Invest in the right technology – Investing in the right technology will help you better understand consumers and what they really value. After determining what data you need to collect and how you want to collect it, find a technology or AI solution that can assist in collecting and tagging your data. That way, you can use your data to the fullest extent. Investing in the right technology will help automate processes and ensure you have a foundation for continual consumer satisfaction along the consumer journey. Ask yourself the right questions to ensure you’re investing in the right technology:
    • How do you currently collect and analyze the data available to you? How can this process be optimized?
    • Does your data solution go beyond the basics? Do your solution’s features meet all of your needs?
    • Is your solution scalable?
    • Does the algorithm fit your industry?

To earn consumer loyalty in this era of choice and change, you need to show audiences a little extra care. That starts with understanding your consumers and finding and leveraging the right data. Dynamic personalization can help you follow and connect with consumers as they progress through their journeys. Help them out as they get ready to buy. Assist their browsing. Let them know you understand them as a person, not just a persona.

Diane Keng

Diane Keng is the CEO and co-founder of Breinify, an AI and predictive personalization engine that helps brands curate dynamic, meaningful experiences for their consumers at scale. Diane is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for enterprise technology and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, TechCrunch, OZY, and Inc. Magazine.

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