Vasiliy Fomichev Author's Perspective
3 Minute read

Activating Omnichannel Personalization at Scale – Leading the Way to the Promised Land

Let’s say you lead the marketing efforts for a retail clothing business. You target one of your frequent customers – Sarah – on Instagram app with a post that links back to your article on top 10 clothing styles this fall. Your post on Instagram was a carousel display, and of the multiple clothing styles shown on there, Sarah clicked on an olive green dress with a broad waist belt. She had liked the style and the silhouette of the dress.

When browsing the article on your blog, Sarah goes to the listing for the same dress and clicks through to go on the product page. When the product page opens up, you show her the same dress in maroon, because her purchase behaviour in the past indicates that she has a preference for the color maroon. All the other colors the dress is available in are displayed on the side, for her to browse through if she’d like. Sarah’s browsing, however, gets interrupted by her dog demanding some attention and she leaves your mobile app without making a purchase.

A couple days later, Sarah revisits your website to try to find that same dress that had caught her fancy. As soon as she opens the homepage, she is happy to see that it is already present in her recommendations. She clicks through to go to the product page, clicks to add the dress to the cart, and among the sizing options available you auto-select the size Medium for her, based on her purchase history with your brand. Not having to do a lot of decision making on sizes and colors, Sarah quickly moves to the checkout, and completes the purchase.

On the face of it, Sarah’s customer journey sounds fairly simple. It sounds like the journey most of us go through on a day-to-day basis within our own digital ecosystems. It’s not much different from the customer experience we as consumers would expect from digital businesses we buy from. However, putting together the right tools, data, content, and components to make a personalized customer experience like this, work at scale, can make or break a business’s digital strategy.

Activating Omnichannel Personalization – Here’s All the Why!

Today’s digital consumers have high customer experience expectations – they demand connected and personalized experiences, regardless of the channel or device they are on. And the cost of not delivering omnichannel personalization for businesses and marketers is steep and very quickly turns from one lost sale to forever lost customers and revenue.

For marketers who are tasked with delivering these digital experience, it can be challenging to create and distribute a large amount of high-quality content, at scale, while remaining efficient and effective with omnichannel personalization. In fact, Gartner predicts that through 2022, 50% of large organizations will have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in a disjointed and siloed CX that lacks context for the customer.

The prize of getting omnichannel personalization right, however, is worth all the effort. It enables marketers to tailor content to multiple personas across channels with speed. Marketers can also use it to support agile marketing strategies, which is important since 49% of marketers are expected to start working the agile way by 2021. It also enables businesses to provide more purchase and fulfilment options, increasing the probability of a customer completing the purchase. Further, effective omnichannel personalization enables businesses to quickly switch engagement method in case of channel disruption, without losing the personal touch with the customer in the process.

Personalization at Scale: Challenges & Operational Realities

Given the need for activating omnichannel personalization, businesses need the tools and technology to serve relevant content to consumers now more than ever. They need to focus on creating a connected digital experience via content, structure, and design, that allows the consumer to move between engagement channels seamlessly, and still provides enough detail at each step for them to make informed decisions.

So, what are the challenges businesses face when trying to activate omnichannel personalization at scale? Here’s an overview:

omnichannel personalization challenges

When talking about scale, it’s important to remember all the different audiences each business is dealing with. On the lower end, B2C marketers create content for four different audiences. About 28% of B2C marketers create content for more than six audiences.

To paint a picture of how vivid marketing content personalization needs can be, we can consider an example from a luxury German car brand which needs marketing content across multiple channels and in 30 different languages, resulting in a demand for nearly 1,600 content adaptation projects a year. This is in stark contrast to the same brand using one print channel and a single target persona about 30 years ago.

Leading the Way to the Promised Land

40% of marketers surveyed by Gartner recently state that reaching the right audience at the right moment remains their top multichannel marketing challenge. Let’s look at what the alternate universe of failing at omnichannel content personalization looks like. On an operational level, it leads to duplicated content processes and slow delivery times. For the marketing team, it means a susceptibility to swift change and limited agility. For the consumers, it means a frustrating digital customer experience, which could quickly turn into not just lost business but also a vocal negative review on a social platform.

To activate omnichannel personalization at scale, business typically focus on data and technology. While these components are certainly key, a very critical factor to remember is the structure of the content. It is important to ask yourself questions like – how is our content stored and managed? How do we approach the delivery of content? What kinds of content workflows are set up within our organization? Can our content be broken down further into smaller bits for easier personalization?

In our industry experience, we’ve understood that the recipe for content personalization at scale rests in five foundational concepts – Atomic Content Design, centralized content, centralized decisioning and rules, self-service freedom, and content analytics and effective reporting. We have experienced that a positive ROI for activating massive omnichannel personalization only comes with the right tools and processes, and lays at the centre of minimizing operations, ensuring consistency and quality, and operationalizing feedback.

To know more about how we do this join us at Sitecore Symposium 2021, as we take you on a journey from start to finish through the process of setting up intelligent content for personalization at scale, using Content Hub, Sitecore XP, and Boxever. What used to be the promise-land is now a reality, and it's easier than you think.Let's Connect Virtually

Vasiliy Fomichev Sr. Director, Solution Architecture, Altudo

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