Personalization at scale — the quest for the Holy Grail

Personalization at scale — the quest for the holy grail

In an era of instant gratification, fickle consumers, and 24/7 digital content and social media consumption across a variety of touchpoints — customers have many choices and not a lot of time to make a decision. These factors force businesses to rethink how they are engaging their customers to clearly deliver their brand proposition and message amidst a constant stream of information.

Personalization — or having timely, relevant conversations with customers rather than a one-way monologue — has become standard in this digital world. Very few are disputing the benefits of personalization. Even B2B companies that historically have been resistant to embracing it are beginning to acknowledge the changing customer landscape driven by the fact that most of the decision makers and buyers are now digitally native.

So why haven’t companies been able to deliver on personalization at scale? Some organizations are struggling to provide even the most basic capabilities while some can do it well in some channels (like email, web, and others) for some customers (in their known, target audiences). Doing this at scale — for everyone, on every channel, every time — has become the Holy Grail of consumer engagement. Below we list some of the barriers that are getting in the way.

Lack of a customer-centric strategy

While everybody understands the concept of personalization, we find that most organizations struggle to build a strategy that scales this to all customers on all touchpoints. Often the strategy is incomplete and doesn’t cover all critical aspects of personalization including:

Legacy or disconnected systems

As devices and channels have proliferated, the technology supporting these has also grown exponentially. Most organizations have a complex set of customer-facing marketing and sales-centric platforms that are not all integrated. This is often exacerbated by mergers and acquisitions, a lack of a well-defined enterprise technology strategy, and technology governance that introduces redundancies in technology and capability.

Fragmented data and inaccurate insights

Most organizations are now collecting vast amounts of data about individuals interacting with their brand. However, most of this data is locked into the systems that collect it, so trying to convert customer data into meaningful information and actionable insights is an ongoing challenge. Too often, data is stale and insights are based on historical behavior that may no longer be relevant — even for organizations that have made progress consolidating this data into data lakes. Collecting and using real-time signals to infer or anticipate customer needs is a key capability needed to deliver personalization at scale.

Siloed organizational structures

We find that most organizational structures are primarily product- and channel-centric. While this organizational orientation works from a business operations perspective, it often results in multiple teams independently targeting the same customer and thereby inundating them with multiple communications or worse, giving them inconsistent or conflicting messages. A clear customer-centric strategy with teams focused on journey-based or segment-based communications can solve these silos. But only if employees are incentivized to deliver against customer-centric KPIs as well as product-centric KPIs.

Where are you in your personalization journey? Are you providing customer experiences and messaging that is tailored to their needs at that moment in time? Are you doing it for all customer touchpoints across marketing, sales, and service? If not, what’s stopping you?

The reality is that delivering personalization at scale is hard. It’s one of the most pressing challenges that our Customer Engagement Solution solves so that we can truly deliver transformative results for our clients. Adobe products fill some of the key technology and data capabilities required, but you also need a service partner that provides a holistic approach across people, process, experience, and technology.

At Publicis Sapient, our connected SPEED (Strategy, Product, Engineering, Experience, and Data) capabilities help our clients realize and maximize their investments in Adobe products to deliver transformative outcomes through personalization.

Join us at Adobe Summit. As a Diamond Sponsor, we’ll be showcasing how together with Adobe we are delivering transformative solutions for our clients. Stop by our booth #601 to connect with our team and get inspired about how our Adobe-focused solutions can help drive your business goals through digital transformation. Learn more about our partnership with Adobe.

Find out more about the clients we have helped and learn more about how your business can deliver personalization at scale.

Ashish Mamania is the vice president of marketing technology at Publicis Sapient. Mamania brings over 25 years of experience in marketing technology strategy, architecture/design, and successful delivery of personalized and data-driven solutions using Adobe, Salesforce, and other martech platforms.

Mamania has led B2B and B2C digital strategy initiatives from a technology and data perspective to provide strategic guidance on using digital technology around cloud, marketing technology, personalization, CRM, and commerce.

Mamania’s other responsibilities include project planning and scoping, career management, technical training and onboarding, and business development. He holds a BE in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai and an MS in computer science from the University of Massachusetts.

Marie de Luna also contributed to this article.

Marie de Luna is the vice president of engineering at Publicis Sapient. De Luna brings over 25 years of experience in digital and web technical management, strategy, architecture, and development. She works with clients to co-create solutions that deliver personalized and engaging customer-centric experiences that deliver maximum business value. She offers her deep technology expertise to help grow our clients’ businesses by offering strategic points of view, unique perspectives, and innovative approaches on how to use technology to solve business problems.

She specializes in enterprise solutions, architecture, strategy, and martech and adtech ecosystems, including Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Experience Platform. She is an Adobe Certified Expert.