The world is becoming increasingly more personalized. If you take a look around, some of the most effective marketing campaigns are those which cater the messaging directly to you. We define personalization as the act of tailoring an experience or communication based on information a company has learned about an individual. This definition presents a seemingly unlimited number of ways to implement personalization, so how do you know which direction to take your own personalization program? 

Start by drawing inspiration from the way some top brands are thinking about and leveraging personalization. I’ve compiled a few notable quotes from executives at some of the most influential companies in the world as they discuss how they have successfully used personalization in recent campaigns.

Personalization drives increased engagement for Spotify

While known for its personalized experiences, even Spotify continues to experiment to drive better results. We all know that Spotify delivers individually tailored playlists, but it also regularly curates playlists that traditionally were not personalized. The team shared what happened when it tested personalizing those curated playlists:  

Our editorial team makes thousands of playlists... But we know that everyone’s taste is different, and songs that one person may want to sing in the shower just might not make sense for everyone else. (We’re sure you can relate.) That’s why we’ve punched up our playlist ecosystem to make sure every listener is able to find the perfect song for each moment… Some playlists will now be personalized for each listener based on their particular taste. This means that for those specific playlists, no two will be the same.

When we tested this new system with some of our listeners, we found that they were much more likely to listen longer. Plus, these personalized editorial playlists increase the number of artists featured on playlists by 30% and the number of songs listeners are discovering by 35%.

We found that, after discovering a song through a personalized editorial playlist, the number of listeners who then seek out the track on their own for repeat listens is up by 80%. In fact, the average number of times a listener saves a track is up 66%—all of which is good news for artists.

The Spotify team (via a blog post) 

Starbucks uses its loyalty program to drive personalization

Starbucks uses a combination of its digital channels and its loyalty program to get to know its customers better, personalize their experiences, and drive in-store sales growth. Speaking to that growth, Starbucks’ CFO said: 

What we have driven over the past several years is significant growth and... almost all of our same-store sales growth [is] from those customers that we have digital relationships with and those that are in our Starbucks Rewards program, and last quarter those grew 11%. They are growing their spending rate somewhere between mid- to high-single digits. So you are getting both revenue per customer growth and the number of customer growth.

...Most of that growth is coming from personalization, but we have really only been capturing spend data and learning about spend data for a couple of years now. So we are pretty early on in the optimization of that process.

Scott Maw, Chief Financial Officer, Starbucks (at JP Morgan event via Loyalty 360)

Macy’s combines digital and in-store channels

Bringing online and offline channels together is a key goal for many retailers. When describing Macy’s approach to bringing personalization into this process at Mobile Marketing Association’s Impact conference, Macy’s Chief Digital Revenue Officer said: 

One out of two Americans have shopped in a Macy’s in the last year, yet we know our front window is a mobile device and we can make it a smarter, more dynamic and more inspirational experience than retail by tailoring it to individual customers needs… As [the customer] uses the mobile app in-store, we’re also customizing that experience to better serve her. In-store Mode is the key [to] connecting the customer with her local Macy’s... We’re also working to provide her with relevant in-store savings and offers based on her location in the store. So actually knowing what department she’s in, we’re tailoring personalized offers to her, helping to further personalize her shopping trip.

Jill Ramsey, Chief Product and Digital Revenue Officer, Macy’s (via Geo Marketing)

One size does not fit all for CVS

CVS shows us that personalization isn’t just for retailers or tech companies — its importance extends to healthcare. When describing how CVS Health is planning to use customer data to help customers navigate their “health journeys,” the CEO of CVS said: 

We're seeing the evolution of personalized care with a greater recognition that one size does not necessarily fit all patients. Advances in technology and the proliferation of personalized data through the increased use of genomics and wearable technology had made analytics a very important complement to provider health care decision-making. 

Larry Merlo, CEO, CVS Health (at CVS Analyst meeting via ZDNet

And, of course, CVS’s focus on personalization extends to its marketing practices as well. Originally launched in 2013, CVS’s personalized circulars are still a staple of its marketing today: 

Our 'What's Your Deal?' campaign is a tongue-in-cheek way for us to unveil the savings revolution that is myWeekly Ad, where we've created a personalized circular that is as unique as each of our customers. CVS/pharmacy's myWeekly Ad is a convergence of technology and customer insights that revolutionizes savings. It acts as a matchmaker for our customers and their best deals.

—Rob Price, former Chief Marketing Officer, CVS/pharmacy (via press release)

TripAdvisor combines personalization with social connectedness

Last year, TripAdvisor announced a major overhaul of its website experience with a focus on social communities and personalization. According to its press release, “when a member logs onto the TripAdvisor app or site, their homepage transforms into a personalized feed of information. When searching a particular destination, the feed automatically narrows the scope of the information displayed to that particular geographic location.” TripAdvisor’s CEO said of this new approach: 

TripAdvisor is poised to disrupt the travel industry once again as we create a more personalized and connected community. The new TripAdvisor is the one travel site that brings together social-assistive tools, amazing content and our existing booking capabilities to merge the joy of planning and discovery together into a single experience. We are assisting our members at each step of their journey as we become a more personalized, inspirational and useful TripAdvisor.

Stephen Kaufer, CEO & co-founder, TripAdvisor (via press release)

Final Thoughts

Leading brands are thinking about or already leveraging personalization to benefit their customers and their organizations. The ones described here are going beyond the traditional to deliver truly innovative customer experiences. Hopefully, learning a little about what they’re doing provides some inspiration for personalization campaigns at your organization.

To learn how Evergage’s personalization and customer data platform can help deliver innovative customer experiences for your company, request a demo today.  

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