3 Mindset-Shifting Recommendations for Turning Personalization Pressure to Your Competitive Advantage

May 12, 2023

Today, there’s a lot of talk about consumers wanting hyper-personalized experiences at every step of their journeys with brands.

It isn’t hype. Almost 1,000 consumers we surveyed in our 2022 Digital Friendly Brand Index told us so. They said they expect brand communication to be relevant to their needs and delivered as often as they like via their favorite channels.

If you’re a marketing leader, this means the pressure to personalize is indeed on. According to our in-house research, you’re likely feeling the heat when it comes to mastering your own consumer data to get the insights you need to meet this pressure.

Of the 308 marketing executives at US and European brands with revenues of $250M – $2B per annum we asked in our 2022 Chief Marketing Officer Survey, over 60% told us that their top-priority capabilities for being truly consumer-obsessed were analyzing first-party consumer data in near real-time, extracting deeper insights from it, and utilizing these insights to drive business growth.

No doubt you’ve got your own particular challenges here. To help you make a go of them, I have three broad mindset shift recommendations regarding how you think about your consumers, yourself, and your technology.

First, forget platitudes about consumer obsession. Get obsessed with providing your best consumers with hyper-personalized brand journeys.

Consumer obsession is a nice (if somewhat vague) concept, but it is not enough just to say that you have whatever you believe it means, exactly.

My take is that it makes more sense to be obsessed with crafting something that drives business with your best consumers. Based on our in-house research and industry experience, that something should be a hyper-personalized brand journey.

This Pareto-principled thinking is the foundation of what we call an “unfair digital advantage.” It involves using first-party data to:

You can repeat this process over and over to put yourself into a virtuous circle of following the money to keep growing your business and optimizing ROI on marketing spend.

Second, start thinking like a Chief Digital Officer and take ownership of your best consumers’ entire journeys.

To truly delight and retain your best consumers, it is crucial that the brand journeys you provide them are not only personalized but also seamless, flowing smoothly and logically across all touchpoints.

This goal calls for a “consumer journey friction reducer in chief” – more commonly known as a Chief Digital Officer – to lead the digital transformation and orchestration of marketing, IT, service, and all the other business functions behind every type of brand experience your best consumers have.

As your organization takes its journey towards digital maturity, you have an exciting and widely recognized opportunity to step up and fulfill this critical role. According to our 2022 survey, the Chief Digital Officer position was the next career step most commonly cited among the Chief Marketing Officers we interviewed. Nearly a third of respondents envisioned themselves taking on this role with a stronger understanding of and focus on digitalization in marketing over the next few years. 

A good starting point for adopting the Chief Digital Officer mindset is to identify and communicate any siloes existing between teams, technologies, and strategies that hinder seamless brand journeys for your best consumers. When the time comes to put someone in charge of addressing these siloes, you will be a natural candidate.

Third, make it a rule to seek out the weakest steps of your best consumers’ journeys and set revenue-based objectives for new technology to improve them.

Any marketing digital transformation inevitably involves decisions about which challenges to tackle and which new technologies will get the job done.

To facilitate these decisions, I recommend a straightforward approach that is all about running the numbers and skipping those shiny slide decks:

  1. Identify the weakest step of your best consumers’ journeys, for example, where your conversion rate is hurting the most.
  2. Set an improvement target for this step, e.g., +20% CVR, and quantify your objective, e.g., in terms of revenue gain.
  3. Based on your acceptable ROI, work out the maximum all-in costs you can incur to achieve that objective with new technology.
  4. Introduce whatever new technology you believe gives you your best shot at achieving your objective within your budget.

Project execution, of course, is another story. But this repeatable process will always provide you with a data-driven rationale for:

At DELVE, we’ve achieved a lot of success helping clients think this way. 

For example, Gerber Life Insurance gained a 360° view of the consumer journey and won prestigious industry recognition with us in 2021. 

Best First Party Data Strategy

And in 2022 we helped Economy Car Rentals envision and achieve a technology solution behind €1M in quarterly savings, digital ad campaign expansion into 10 new markets, and another two major awards. 

Best Use of Data
Most Effective First Party Data Strategy

I look forward to winning another such award with you. That success story has yet to be written, but however it plays out I know that it will have begun with your having the right mindset. I hope these recommendations put you on the right track. 

If you would like to review all the findings from our 2022 CMO Survey that I have mentioned in this article, please download our full report.

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Anton Lipkanou

President & COO