The world of personalization is constantly evolving. The technology continues to advance, and marketers are finding new and interesting ways to provide unique experiences for their customers.

This year will be no exception. One-to-one personalization, machine learning, relationship-building, and account-based marketing are the future of personalization this year. The Evergage leadership team is here to provide you with their predictions for personalization in 2017 to set you on the right path as you start the year.

Note: these predictions are for 2017. While they are still worth a read, you can find our most up-to-date predictions for 2018 here.

1:1 Personalization Will Become a Reality

By Karl Wirth, CEO and Co-Founder

In 2017, we will see 1:1 personalization become a must-have of every major digital initiative. Marketers have dreamed of 1:1 personalization for 20 years, but it has not been realizable with outdated or complicated technologies like Adobe.

Newer platforms, like Evergage, allow marketers across industries to easily personalize web, mobile, and email experiences for each individual at scale and with truly 1:1 personalized content in real time. The companies that have adopted this type of technology are seeing big results. More and more marketers will strive to incorporate personalization into their strategies this year to achieve those same results.  

Machine-Learning Guided Marketing Will Start to Transform Businesses

By Greg Hinkle, CTO and Co-Founder

Businesses have reached a point where they have so much data at their disposal to inform their activities that it can be difficult to know where to look or what to prioritize, especially when data is fragmented across multiple platforms and across different areas within an organization.

This is the year that businesses will start incorporating machine learning into their own day-to-day execution. Machine learning and predictive analytics will be used to enable marketers to identify patterns, opportunities, or problems based on key business metrics. It will also be used to guide the focus of the business and help them make more informed decisions.

Machine learning will apply to all aspects of marketing, including personalization. It can be used to analyze which campaigns provide the highest business impact to help marketers prioritize their initiatives, to recognize where opportunities exist to help marketers plan future campaigns, to identify when a problem arises with existing campaigns, and much more.

Marketers Will Shift Focus from Optimizing Single Moments to Creating Long-Term Relationships

By Meera Murthy, VP of Strategy

In recent years, marketers have focused significantly on leveraging marketing automation and lifecycle and behavioral targeting strategies to impact a specific moment for an individual on a website or in an app. This focus enabled marketers to optimize that one moment, encouraging the visitor to accomplish a specific goal, such as make a purchase, fill out a form, grow an order value, etc. However, a focus on these single-moment functional campaigns has often resulted in fragmented, incoherent experiences.

In 2017 marketers will shift their focus to experiences that drive improved, long-term relationships with their customers. To do so, marketers need to leverage not just a person’s intent in the moment, but everything they have learned about that person over the course of the relationship.

Creating a single unified view of each customer will become a necessity, and machine learning algorithms will enable marketers to effectively leverage their customer data in real time to create truly personalized experiences at scale. Everything from on-site search, navigation, product sorting, and more can be personalized to develop completely individualized experiences that will drive deeper connections with customers in the long term.

Confluence of Personalized Content and Product Recommendations Becomes a Reality

By Bryan Head, SVP, Sales

Marketers, have long known that good content drives website traffic, educates customers, and helps brands differentiate in the marketplace. They also know that leveraging the right content at the right time has a tremendous impact on conversions – whether in retail e-commerce, B2B industries or financial services. The challenge has always been how to tie together disparate systems – particularly content management and e-commerce systems – in a meaningful and manageable way to effectively combine content and commerce.

In 2017, marketers will finally have the tools at their disposal to marry deep understanding of individuals’ affinities for both products and content. This deep 1:1 understanding of each consumer, along with scalable algorithm-based machine learning, will allow for truly dynamic and real-time delivery of both content and product recommendations that drives far more meaningful experiences for consumers and financial impact for businesses.

Personalization Will Become a Must-Have ABM Component for B2B Marketers

By Andy Zimmerman, CMO

Account-based marketing (ABM) will continue to gain popularity in 2017, but there won’t be a single platform to handle all aspects of it. Solutions that focus on targeting and reaching key accounts through advertising, email, social media, and other channels will improve. This, in turn, will raise the level of importance of website personalization, making it a must-have component of an ABM program.

B2B marketers executing ABM must be able to carry the conversation with target prospects all the way through from an outbound campaign to the visitor’s first and subsequent website visits. Even follow-up email communications must be personalized to the account and individual level. Personalization at the industry and account level will require both rule-based and machine-learning-driven experiences, with the use of dynamic variables to execute it effectively and at scale.

Content Marketing and ABM Will Blend

By Paula Crerar, VP of Content Marketing & Programs

As ABM continues to grow in popularity, content marketers will focus on aligning with sales and operations, offering creative ideas and compelling content to target accounts. They will design new metrics and KPIs to measure performance and goals related to ABM without ignoring inbound marketing goals and principles. Marketers will find the right balance between producing and distributing content for inbound marketing and ABM and to meet overall corporate goals.

To accomplish this, content marketers must deeply understand a narrower segment of their target audiences, down to the account level, expanding techniques previously used in building persona profiles. Using this understanding and targeted content, they can personalize web and mobile experiences to these narrower segments. This year, content marketers will conduct content audits with ABM in mind to make sure they can support sales conversations and ABM campaigns for all key personas and target industries all the way through the customer journey.

Brands Will Push the Envelope to Keep Up With Consumer Expectations

By Jonathan Ranger, Chief Customer Officer

As consumers experience personalization in their daily lives (including all the experiences outlined in the previous predictions), their expectations will continue to grow this year. They want to be known and understood by the brands they interact with. With all the information available, consumers want companies to help them cut through the noise and find the products, content, and information that are actually relevant to them. As a result, customers in 2017 will demand relevant experiences across channels and reward brands that provide these experiences with their loyalty.

Innovative brands will need to push the personalization envelope to provide these uniquely relevant experiences. These brands will expect to be able to create omnichannel experiences that support the level of personalization that consumers want from laptop to tablet to mobile device to email.

Brands will demand clear, understandable and accurate reporting and experience attribution transparently connecting personalization to business value. And brands will expect to work with solution providers who not only understand personalization inside and out, but also make it their business to know their brand’s industry, digital strategy and business goals like a brand staff member.

Looking Ahead

From machine learning to account-based marketing, these predictions may have made it seem like there are just too many different areas for you to focus on in 2017. But that is certainly not the case. All you need is the right personalization partner to help. To learn more about how Evergage can help you make all these predictions a reality for you this year, request a 15-minute consultation today.