Being liked and having a large social following is important for brands these days, but it’s not as important as being loved. Social media ‘likes’ can be purchased thousands of followers at a time but to paraphrase The Beatles, all the marketing money in the world can’t buy your brand love.

There’s a deeper connection at work when consumers love your brand. And when it does happen, the benefits are far more rewarding and long-term than even the best lead generation campaign could deliver. Here’s a stat: When they are emotionally engaged with a brand, 94 percent of consumers are highly likely to recommend it to others.

You just can’t pay for this kind of brand advocacy.

The magic ingredient  for making consumers fall in love with the campaign? Personalization! It’s the key to building loyal followings around branded products and retaining customers in retail: 44 percent of shoppers would become repeat buyers and 40 percent report having spent more money on a purchase than planned because of a personalized shopping experience.

To get in on the action, here are three proven marketing personalization strategies for retailers to make consumers love their brand:

1. Treat consumers as individuals, not as segments

Every consumer is uniquely complex. As our own global study revealed, 74 percent of today’s consumers expect companies to treat them as individuals, not members of a generic segment (like ‘millennials’ or ‘suburban mothers’). Generic personas and buckets only lead to generic relationships, loving a brand takes much more.

In the first step, make sure that you are able to recognize individual consumers across channels and collect all profile information in customer data platforms (CDPs). Then get help from AI with features such as smart audience segmentation to assemble the most relevant audience for any given marketing content or sales offer.

AI-driven tools let you target personalized messages to specific consumers, like those who are engaged on social media, have made recent trips to a physical store, and exhibit a high level of brand affinity. Make these affectionate customers the VIPs of your program and send them special perks to watch the love grow.

2. Meet consumers where they are

Consumers form strong emotional bonds with their preferred communication devices but can be hard to follow in an omnichannel world. That’s why maintaining profile data in customer data platforms (CDPs) also breaks down silos and ensures a 360-degree customer view on all channels. Preferred channels can differ radically from individual to individual. For example, 33.5 percent of North American internet users prefer personalized offers sent directly to their phone.

The preferred channel can also vary by use case. When it comes to receiving marketing messages from a brand after making a purchase, over 73 percent of Generation X consumers and 58 percent Millennials in the UK named email as the No.1 channel. To always choose the perfect channel at the right moment, make sure you’re using AI-powered tools which leverage both long-term data on preferred devices and/or channels with behavioral data.

3. Offer consumers what they want, at the right time

Consumers love personal offers that show a brand cares about them and their situation. They are also more likely to open their wallets: Over 75 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a retailer who knows their name as well as their purchase history and recommends on-taste products. And after receiving a personalized recommendation, 49 percent of consumers even report purchasing a product they were not planning on buying.

Delivering relevant offers at scale requires a combination of real-time customer data – also to know what products customers already own – and AI capabilities. Based on a specific customer’s behavior, statistical calculations or items added to a wish list, serve consumers what they’re looking for no matter where they are on their customer journey.

And make sure you’re delivering these messages at the right moment. Make sure you have the tools at hand that can help you as marketers identify ‘timely intent’: highlighting the customers where there is a window of opportunity to approach before a commitment to a competitor is made.

These are just three strategies to use personalization in a way that consumers will love. In the bigger picture, it’s all about letting consumers know you understand them. The key to it all is capturing seamless customer data, seamlessly integrated across each and every touchpoint between retailer and consumer. That way, every new initiative always reflects the highest level of customer intelligence.

Brands who love their customers use every opportunity to expand this intelligence with new learnings. Use your marketing cloud’s survey function to send follow-up emails measuring customer satisfaction. Then make sure to act on received input: 97 percent say they are more likely to be loyal to a company that implements their feedback.

In short, keep in mind that your customers’ love is hard to earn and easy to burn: 32 percent of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one bad experience. Know what you’re getting into and deliver the best possible experience every single time. Once the consumer relationship is personal, it’s always going to be personal.

Ready to learn more about delighting customers with individual relevance at every touchpoint? Download our new eBook The Personalization Handbook for Retail Marketers today.

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The Personalization Handbook for Retail Marketers

From e-commerce vendors to omnichannel retailers with extensive brick-and-mortar locations, winning retail brands rely on data-driven personalization to turn one-time buyers into repeat shoppers. Find out how Selligent Marketing Cloud helps marketings leverage marketing personalization to power customer loyalty with every transaction in today’s fast-moving retail landscape.

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