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5 Global Speakers Share Cross-Channel Personalization Tips for 2021

A man is working on a laptop with digital marketing icons while following cross-channel personalization tips for 2021.

Back in September, global brands like KEH Camera, Total Tools, Sun Tan City, Brooklinen, and Bendon shared how they have leveraged data to successfully provide customer-centric experiences that generate ROI, all despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergent trends among all speakers in our ‘Cross-Channel Marketing & Personalization’ track included:

  • A one-size fits all communication strategy does not resonate with customers.
  • When content, offers, and contextual messages are not sent to customers, expect a high customer churn rate and reduced repeat purchase rate.
  • Learning to use AI-driven marketing technology to scale real-time personalization across channels will separate the real victors from everyone else.

Let’s break down five of the best quotable takeaways from these brand leaders from Retail Renaissance 2020.

Cross-Channel Personalization Strategies for 2020

Check out these awesome insights as we head into 2021!

1.   “Identify audiences and deliver compelling personalization by understanding customer intent.”

In one of my favorite sessions, Danielle Porto Parra, COO, KEH Camera explains how to use segmentation to deliver increased personalization, higher impact creative messaging, and drive profitable revenue growth. She connects it all from a technical perspective to creative POV, showing multiple examples of brands doing hyper-personalization using segmentation.

From chatbots to virtual reality to AI-delivered email content, 2020 and beyond is a new era where personalization, at scale, will require our devoted attention.

2.   “Get closer than ever to customers so you can help them realize what they need before they realize it for themselves.”

Elisse Jones, National Loyalty Manager at Total Tools described how a customer centric, cross-channel loyalty program helped Australia’s largest professional tool retailer transform its marketing.

“We were operating in a multichannel way,” Jones said. “We had EDMs, our e-commerce, stores, search, social, but nothing was connected. We really couldn’t identify customers’ behavior throughout all of those channels. It wasn’t a coordinated conversation that we were having; it didn’t revolve around them. It revolved around the product we were driving… and resulted in a fragmented CX.”

As Jones describes, the brand went on a 12-18 month journey to find a platform that could solve for all use cases. They needed a marketer-friendly tool that could be agile and malleable to drive value for their unique customer.

1.   “We constantly communicated with customers.”

By all appearances, you’d assume a retailer like Sun Tan City, whose business depends upon in-salon revenue (and clean, sanitized facilities), would be decimated by a half-year hiatus. But even a virus-induced few-month closure didn’t stop the momentum of the Louisville-based tanning salon with 300+ locations. This was due, in part, to their cross-channel marketing and innovative campaigns during the heat of the pandemic.

The brand reduced the need to come into their physical locations, and when stores had to close, communications didn’t stop. In fact, Mark Olive, CMO, and his team came up with a dynamic campaign to continue to drive business — allowing new members to sign up and start their membership whenever they wanted (once stores reopened) and existing members to maintain their membership without being charged until things changed.

What else did they do? Olive elaborates:

Smart targeting was big in order to continue to spread their message. As Olive describes, the brand’s cross-channel mix of YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram has always produced:

4.   “We wanted to give power back to the customer… telling a story is going to be the biggest thing for us.”

Are your customers’ experiences as personalized as they could be at every moment? Did you know the average customer is a member of 27 loyalty programs? How do you break through? 

Often what’s missing is the link between the smart technology you’ve invested in and the ability to connect and activate your disparate data to power real-time personalized content.

That’s the connection Allie Donovan, Director of Email and Retention, has been working to make at brooklinen. How? Brooklinen uses functional data to mix storytelling into the most popular email campaigns that they know work:

And, using a cross-channel mix to lightly push their loyalty program during COVID-19, the brand actually ended up with a good problem — they generated so many sales they had to develop new messaging to inform customers of delayed shipping!

5.   “Use customer data to personalize content…”

Changing times carry changing consumer preferences. With an outpouring of new digital customers, Bendon Group, a global leader in intimate apparel, shifted their entire strategy to cross-channel online personalization to ensure customers remained engaged.

As Ally Butler described, their main focus is to drive repeat purchases by delivering best-in-class experiences across any channel used by their customers to interact with the brand. 

Final Thoughts

Considering 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands who provide relevant offers and recommendations, personalization is non-negotiable.

As speakers shared a week ago at our first ever Retail Renaissance festival, it’s not enough to ‘do’ personalization on a single channel. You have to actually stitch together cross-channel experiences.

However, you have to start somewhere, just as the presenters from Sun Tan City, Brooklinen, and Total Tools did.

Mark Olive from Sun Tan City described how his team used first-party data and smart segmentation to execute the biggest annual membership campaign ever during the most daunting of times. Elisse from Total Tools shared how they bridged the offline and online customer experience, democratized data, and enabled customers to move seamlessly across channels.

So, delivering meaningful cross-channel experiences is possible, but with this ‘new normal’, 2021 is about taking things to the next level to drive business outcomes that will make your team the hero of the company.

Artificial intelligence adoption is on the rise… are you in?


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Special thanks to our friends at Emarsys for their insights on this topic.
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