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Does Your Online Customer Experience Stack Up To Personal Relevance Standards?

In November 2013, we commissioned a study to be conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Maxymiser to provide marketing and eBusiness leaders with an understanding of how to deliver personally relevant, in-the-moment experiences based on data aggregrated over time across all touchpoints in the customer experience journey. Upon conducting in-depth interviews with seasoned brand and digital marketing executives across multiple categories – retail, travel, finance and insurance services – the study is now available for download.

As we all know, personalization is no longer an add-on benefit in customer interactions; it’s a necessity that can make or break a business. Today’s omni-connected, multitasking and impatient consumers want and expect to feel a personal connection and build meaningful, authentic relationships with brands across multiple touchpoints. But what does that really mean and how can marketers fulfill that promise, everywhere and anywhere?

It starts with knowledge of the overall audience.

When marketers talk about ‘knowledge’ of the overall audience, there needs to be clarification on what that really means. What we see all too often and what we definitely know does not measure up to the standards of true personalization is simply inserting a person’s name at the top of a website’s home page or addressing an email message to a specific individual’s name. As the commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Maxymiser notes, “Companies need to better understand their customers’ behaviors at a high level before they start to get more detailed about individual needs. This can take the form of qualitative insights that serve as the building blocks of personas and observational findings about user paths from web analytics and user testing.”

It adapts to the user’s context.

In today’s “Age of the Customer,” mobile device adoption and usage continues to rise around the world. In fact, eMarketer reported that the global smartphone audience surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012 and will total 1.75 billion in 2014. Additionally, it’s predicted that nearly two-fifths of all mobile phone users – close to one-quarter of the worldwide population – will use a smartphone at least monthly in 2014. These projections fall in line with the insights shared in the commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Maxymiser. As it explains, “Mobile devices provide rich detail about user location. But firms don’t have to think about context as only related to mobile. In fact, location is but one parameter of a user’s context. Other factors, such as what they have done with you recently, what products they have purchased, where they are in the customer life cycle, and their latest behavior are all telling pieces of data that can help firms better predict a customer’s needs and wants.”

So why do optimal experiences remain elusive for many marketers?

Understanding the difference between the archaic definition of personalization and what it truly is and should be, why are so marketers still struggling to create personally relevant, engaging experiences that are tailored to the varying needs and preferences of each customer? To reiterate what is elaborated in the commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Maxymiser, it comes down to a few very specific roadblocks.

Although marketers are typically very excited at the possibilities that can be achieved through customer experience optimization, “many lack a customer experience strategy to tie their efforts to. Lacking a common vision of the experience they want to deliver, many firms have neither the focus nor the expertise to pinpoint, personalize and optimize the critical aspects of the experience that will have the most impact.”

Then, of course, there is also the common roadblock of not having a common view of their customers and not being able to transform the many data points into actionable insights. According to the commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Maxymiser, “Trying to find predictive customer segments for personalization within the vast amount of data available is nearly impossible without automated data mining and segment discovery techniques. Nor do they have a way to apply those insights in a meaningful way in a single touchpoint, let alone across them.”

Customer experience optimization drives personal relevance and business results.

If you are still unclear as to why a strategic approach to customer experience optimization and data-driven personalization will pay off for your business long-term, download the full commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Maxymiser. Beyond understanding the value, you will also gain valuable advice on how to build a pragmatic roadmap to deliver personally relevant experiences that drive increased relevance and business results.

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