Fuel personalization at scale with a unified data foundation

Fuel personalization at scale with a unified data foundation

Personalization. It’s where many organizations are headed — and for good reason. In the recent Adobe blog post “Personalization at Scale Has Never Been More Crucial for Your Business,” we took a hard look at the demand for increasingly more personalized and consistent experiences. But executing on a strategy and delivering at scale has been a struggle for many businesses.

Harneet Kapil, practice head MDM, CDP, and data management at Cognizant, extends this line of thinking, highlighting the importance of data in her Adobe Summit Session “Personalization is the Engine, but Data is the Fuel.”

“We are experiencing a shift from marketing strategy, or strategies based on static marketing campaigns, to experience strategies — those that are customer-focused, hyper-personalized, and driven by what customer data is telling us,” she said.

To effectively deliver on an “experience” strategy, your organization first needs real-time access to omnichannel customer data. You must be able to identify each customer, understand their context within the customer journey, share personalized content, and deliver that content through the correct channels.

It’s a tall order. But the good news is that strategies — and technologies — exist that effectively align data with your personalization efforts so that you can engage at scale.

The data disconnect

For most organizations, fragmented data is sitting across different tools and siloed teams. This disconnect makes accessing and analyzing quality, cross-channel customer data nearly impossible. And without a clear and complete view of each customer, it’s impossible to offer connected and personalized experiences across touchpoints.

It’s not just an issue of accessing data in real time for the sake of accurate and meaningful engagement. Data governance adds another layer of complexity that you must also address. Privacy and security regulations are numerous and evolving, especially in certain industries. Plus, the pending demise of third-party cookies continues to weigh heavily, and your organization must find alternative methods for accessing customer information. In a nutshell, the shift to first-party data is imminent.

The ramifications of inaction

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right about now, you’re not alone. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that inaction is not an option if you want to appeal to existing and future customers. Continuing to operate as you always have will limit your chances of improving the customer experience for numerous reasons:

Limit or avoid these pitfalls by acting now. In our experiences with hundreds of customers, we’ve found that action really starts by getting a handle on data and insights.

Strategies that impact data and insights

The good news is that integrating data platforms is possible with the right strategy in place. We’ve identified four key steps to consolidating data and generating insights that drive personalization at scale.

1. Begin by building a first-party data strategy around durable identifiers

The first thing you want to do is reduce your organization’s dependency on third-party cookies. The alternative is to deploy consent-based, first-party tracking across all customer touchpoints and design for privacy-centric identity resolution. That involves adopting technologies that support a range of known and unknown identifiers for profile generation.

Of course, it’s also important to bring together the various teams that interact with the customer along their journey, encouraging collaboration and shared use of technology.

2. Earn customer trust by marketing responsibly

Consumers put their money where their trust is. At the same time, trust is earned — and broken — with every experience.

The 2022 Adobe Trust Report reveals that 75% of global leaders are facing even more challenges in earning customer trust than before the pandemic. While the personalized experience is a key component of building trust among consumers, how you access and use a customer’s personal data is equally as important. Many customers will stop buying if companies:

Use their data without permission

Disrespect their data preferences

Experience a data breach

Your organization needs to honor customer consent and engagement preferences, work with cross-functional colleagues to set policies for the management of customer data, and comply with regional laws and organizational policies as soon as data is collected.

With the right foundation, you can take steps to avoid the misuse of sensitive data through automated labeling, policy creation, and enforcement.

3. Establish a future-proof foundation for accessible data and insights

One way to reduce complexity and delays caused by isolated tech stacks is to leverage technologies that unify data from various systems. A unified platform can streamline the entire enterprise architecture. And applications like Adobe’s Real-Time Customer Data Platform (CDP) can be used to connect data, apply governance principles, and activate that data across multiple touchpoints in real time.

George Hanson, the chief digital officer at Panera Bread, is using Real-Time CDP to centralize data generated by 40 million customers and loyalty program members. “[We’re] starting to deploy and activate [that data] against all of those consumer guest-facing touchpoints — media, email, mobile push web app, even into some of our cafe experiences around drive-through and points of sale,” he said.

Bringing data together and activating it across touchpoints in a coordinated and timely manner is imperative, said Hanson. Real-Time CDP is helping Panera Bread translate data “into experiences that really impact the guest for the better.”

“It’s more than just saying hi and saying their name. It’s really taking that data and making it faster, easier, better, and higher value for the guest.”

With the right tech foundation, you can integrate and standardize cross-channel customer experience data for comprehensive analysis and reporting.

4. Leverage data and insights to take educated action and audience activation

The right foundation integrates data and helps you govern that information for improved compliance and governance. But it’s your ability to collect, combine, visualize, and act on cross-channel customer data that will improve customer acquisition and retention — and reinforce trust in your brand.

To deliver instant personalization, your organization needs to leverage rich profile data containing behavioral and attribute data, derive insights from that information, and activate it. Understanding customers in the context of each stage of their journey will enable you to deliver the right experience to all of your customers at the right time, which is the very essence of personalization at scale.

Take action

At Adobe, we have the technology and expertise to help you make personalization at scale a reality. We can lay a foundation for data and insights that unifies data silos, helps you govern that information, and integrate analytics for operational efficiencies and real time interactions.

Read the Adobe report, Getting Started with Personalization at Scale.