Holidays are the time for giving. Retailers try to capitalize on that Q4 consumer demand in every way possible, including using personalization tactics. But only 15% of US online adults say that they regularly take advantage of relevant, personalized offers. Why? Brands struggle with it — especially in marketing departments. Fully 41% of B2C marketing decision-makers believe that “personalizing communications, experiences, and interactions” is their biggest marketing execution challenge. Retailers struggle because they:

  • Hyperfocus on personalization in the wrong phases of the customer lifecycle. Our research shows that consumers are far more receptive to personalization in later stages of the customer lifecycle — after the purchase. But few brands focus on personalization tactics here: Only 29% of respondents to Forrester’s recent B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey say that they personalize when customers are using the product/service.
  • Perpetuate silos across consumer touchpoints. The average US consumer uses 4.6 internet-connected devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, computers), 4.4 platforms (e.g., Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp), and 5.4 channels (e.g., email, text, app, website). Retailers try to keep up with this proliferation of consumer touchpoints to reach customers in the moments that matter most. And while 59% of global digital experience professionals say that their organization has a single owner for all consumer digital touchpoints, per Forrester’s Digital Business Strategy Survey, 2023, isolated channel specialists and ownership persist in marketing teams.
  • Use many disconnected technologies to execute a single personalized interaction. There is no single personalization technology; retailers must use a system of integrated and coordinated technologies to execute cohesive personalization. But too many brands use a hodgepodge approach to personalization technologies, adding on functionality here and there through disparate systems and tools. In Q3 2023, US B2C marketing executives told us that they use an average of eight discrete technologies to execute their personalization.

Check Your Consumer Personalization To-Do List (Twice!)

There’s room for every brand on the consumer personalization “nice list” this holiday season. Retailers can enhance their personalization efforts over the holidays by focusing on:

  • Customer understanding. Many brands don’t deliver the types of personalized interactions that customers actually want. The result? Misguided or invasive personalization that feels like coal in your stocking. Our newest The State Of Consumer Personalization, 2023 report uncovers key trends in consumer perceptions of personalization.
  • Strategy. Personalization is like holiday shopping — it goes much better when you have a plan. Read A Strategy Guide To Consumer Personalization to create a blueprint for personalization tactics across the customer lifecycle.
  • Data. Santa consults the naughty and nice list to personalize gift-giving across the world. Retailers should follow suit, but they struggle in creating a unified profile to identify their customers. Read A Data Primer For Consumer Personalization to categorize all the different types of data required for personalization tactics.
  • Technology. It takes a whole workshop of elves to build toys for the holidays and a whole host of tools. Retailers must execute personalization in the same way. Read A Technology Overview Of Consumer Personalization to map out personalization capabilities across technology categories.
  • Measurement. How do you know if you have successfully spread holiday cheer? Like “holiday spirit,” personalization is amorphous, which makes measurement difficult to pinpoint. Delineate customer vs. company objectives and then test and tack together short-, medium-, and long-term metrics. Check out our upcoming report, A Measurement Approach For Consumer Personalization, which will publish in Q1 2024.

Want to chat more about your company’s consumer personalization initiatives? Schedule a guidance session or inquiry with us!