Are Marketers Lazy? Or is Real-Time Personalization Just Really, Really Hard?

 Real-time personalization isn't hard if you have the right marketing tools.If you want to get a marketer’s attention, just use the “L” word.

Every quarter, there seems like there are a dozen new systems begging for budget or attention in the marketing department, while the pressure to achieve results – measurable results – keeps going up.

Marketing teams are constantly trying to push the envelope while endlessly juggling all these new platforms.

So “lazy” is one of the last words they want to hear.

But Charles Nicholls, SVP of Product Strategy for SAP’s Hybris software unit, went there:

“There’s way too much batching and blasting still going on,” he said at a panel during a recent National Retail Federation. “[Marketers are] just so slack and lazy and they spend so much money that’s just wasted.”

Nicholls added that no two customer journeys are the same. Personalization is more important than ever, but most marketers haven’t been able to achieve it – customer data, responsive marketing communications, and marketing platforms are hard to sync up and, at the end of the day, marketers are going to go with what works, rather than reinventing the revenue wheel.

In part, this systemic chaos (pun intended, of course) might explain why there’s been a decided lack of real-time personalization among many brands. Research shows that personalizing emails, for example, can raise transaction rates by 6x, but 70% of companies still aren’t doing it.

But is real-time personalization as hard as it sounds? Are marketers lazy like Nicholls said? Or is there just a piece of the puzzle missing?

Personalization: It’s Not About Big Data, It’s about Real-Time Data 

When marketers think about contextual marketing strategies, they think that means crunching numbers. A lot of numbers. Big data is often thought of as a key to personalization, because, in order to personalize, you need to know where customers are, where they’re going to be, where they’ve been, and what kind of offer is going to resonate with them the most.

That’s what makes real-time personalization seem so difficult. Marketers end up investing in solutions that bridge gaps between data sets. They work hard to centralize and cleanse data, and try to find tools that can react to a customer’s environment by integrating all of that data, all at once.

But what marketers really need is a tool that leverages real-time data and responds to a customer’s context within the moment. A contextual email, for example, could change as it’s opened and after it’s already been opened, taking into account a customer’s real-time location, device, or the time of day… in addition to other live subscriber details.

Some brands have already seen a lot of success by skipping the entire big mess of Big Data and turning to real-time email marketing empowered by real-time analytics. By sending out contextual emails with dynamic, personalized content, marketers can simplify and streamline their personalization efforts – creating more targeted communications without changing systems that have been in place for years.

Marketers definitely aren’t lazy and real-time personalization isn’t actually that hard… and, at Movable Ink, we’ve got proof. Our eBook, Email Personalization 2.0, shows how brands have already started personalizing emails to respond to customer location, weather, device and more. 

Email Marketing PersonalizationIn Email Personalization 2.0, you’ll learn: 

– How brands like Airbnb, The Knot, ESPN and others are using email marketing personalization 

– What kinds of customer data can be used to create better user experiences

– The different functions and features of email marketing personalization

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