Marketers in 2021: Our top priorities are personalization and segmentation


The epidemic and changes in customer behavior meant not only a sharp increase in the amount of online spending but also in the number of online shops. In this highly competitive environment, marketing is the king and marketers are searching for ways to increase the number of visitors and convert them more efficiently. It is no surprise that according to analysts Altimeter The 2020 State of Digital Marketing, digital marketers are focusing on personalization and segmentation.

More e-shops, more competition

Worldwide online spendings increased from 3.46 to 4.29 trillion dollars, estimates Digital Commerce 360, increasing yearly by an incredible quarter (24.1%). To compare, the previous yearly increase was only 17.9%. This growth took place mostly in the USA and Europe, where it operates over 800.000  online stores, most of them in Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands, according to Ecommerce News.

Marketing challenges

Digital analyst and consulting company known as Altimeter dives into the minds of 476 senior digital marketers based in North America, Europe, and China to compile their The 2020 State of Digital Marketing. According to the analysts, marketers have one simple goal: to help increase the revenue and their two most important challenges are those which lead to this goal in the most direct and measurable way: acquiring new customers and increasing revenue for current ones, 40% and 39% respectively. Those objectives are also the main success factor against which the marketers are evaluated. Traditional goals such as brand and product awareness were included by a third of the respondents. Only 14% listed customer experience in top objectives but this result suggests, according to the analysts, that marketing is in this case a contributor, not an owner of this competency.

What to improve: segmentation, personalization, and owned channel performance

How to improve the bottom line by acquiring new customers and increase revenue from the current ones? Marketers are unanimous: personalization is the key (52%) and the top capability to improve. More than a third (37%) listed segmentation that directly precedes the personalization, the whole personalization package reaching almost 90 %.

Digital channels ranked a close second. Improving the performance of existing ones (42%) and investing in new ones (34%) was mentioned as a priority by respondents. The analysts underline that this also relates to personalization, since “improving performance on these channels is directly related to how relevant the messaging and experiences on them are to the target audiences”. It also means that marketers are willing to invest in improving tactical capabilities and are less likely to start larger structural improvements, such as restructuring the marketing organization which is a priority for only 2% even though it may have a greater impact on improving performance.

How to measure: Digital interactions and generated revenue

Digital marketers work with a wide variety of metrics with the majority still using digital touchpoint engagement as the primary metric (74%). Revenu attribution (68%) and funnel movement (68%) follow close behind. Also, those metrics express the shift from a focus on the brand to business performance.

Almost every second marketer (41%) shared goals with other customer-facing teams, such as customer experience, customer success and service/support team. Altimeter summarizes that also this is “underscoring the increased efforts to deliver a great customer experience across all touchpoints”.

How to go there: omnichannel and personalization

Cooperation between marketing and other departments is at the heart also of the omni-channel design which starts with creating a holistic (taking place on more company channels at once) customer journey. The second step is having a clear strategy including all the steps to ensure positive customer experience (and of course, moving towards the conversion and purchase. More and more marketers personalize customer experiences (from a combination of data sources). Technology-wise, AI serves to gain insights from customer data, and creates personalized messaging in real time. This maximal granularity in personalization means that companies can afford to get very granular in the levels of personalization helping marketers to achieve “true customer-centricity in their content, messaging, experiences and products”. When it comes to omnichannel campaigns, most of the marketers rate very high their ability to design in both factors affecting their maturity level: design and express customer outcomes during a multichannel journey, and align with the sales team to define this journey. For the first factor of digital marketing campaign design, almost every second (46%) rate their ability as high.

Almost all (95%) of companies can personalize customer experiences with customer data, from limited personalization based on static demographic data (17%) to customer data from multiple sources (29%) and on multiple channels in real time (30%). The most sophisticated companies (18%) use AI to power personalization from segmentation to content creation and delivery.

Dynamic personalization (the real-time delivery of content, messaging, or experiences based on unique traits or behaviors of a person) necessitates recognizing a person on the digital channel and deciding which traits or behaviors are most relevant, and then deliver the most effective content or message. This advanced dynamic personalization is done mostly on social media platforms (52%) since platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn already provide effective and easy-to-use features for retargeting audiences with highly relevant ads.

Companies are improving dynamic personalization on their owned channel (the company website and mobile app, 51% and 50% respectively).

On a way to a more personalized 2022

Online shopping seems to be a general trend, not only a pandemic-related exception, as almost three quarters of Europeans will continue to shop online. Marketers are well aware of this shift and therefore all those initiatives that are currently a priority for digital marketers have personalization in the heart, including the preceding segmentation and subsequent dynamic, real-time delivery of personalized content. If you want to receive more information about digital marketing, register for our newsletter by filling the information at the bottom of the page. Just relevant information and insight delivered to your inbox monthly. Or register for a demo to see how Samba can personalize your digital marketing.

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