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Thou Shalt Trigger & Personalize Based on Journeys, Not Events or Products

Authored by ActionIQ Team

Marketers often ask me “what are low hanging fruits for AI?” My answer is always the same, the two promising areas are triggers and personalization. There are many products in the market that promise trigger events (emails, mobile messages) and product personalization (people that bought this bought that, Amazon-style). These approaches are not bad but they are outdated. The key challenge with them is that they rely on an explicit action (a customer abandons their cart or a web session) or they rely on a relationship between products (people that buy beer also buy diapers). What’s the problem with this? The problem is that neither scenario are influenced by the customer journey. Using triggers and personalization based on customer journeys has immense power that marketers are just starting to realize.

Here’s an example: I recently bought a travel guide about Spain to prepare for an upcoming vacation. A month later, Amazon kept recommending more travel books about Spain to me! I’m sure some people buy two or three guides together, so it’s easy to see why the recommendation algorithm made that choice, but if the recommendation considered my customer journey, it would have moved to recommending me other products besides a book that may be useful for my trip. It would have recommended items such as a new suitcases, travel-size bath products such as a folding toothbrush, a new phone with a great camera, a book about learning how to speak Spanish, etc.

Not only would the recommendations be more useful, but it would broaden the relationship I have with Amazon beyond books. In other words, recommendations would include ‘gateway products’ that increase not only sales but the lifetime value of your customers.

Now you can see why triggers tend to be limited. It’s easy to send a reminder email when someone abandons their cart. But what are the behavioral patterns that are special and unique in your customer base that imply an interest to buy a product? That’s a much broader and more powerful approach that again increases not only sales but also engagement, loyalty and lifetime value.

An Enterprise Customer Data Platform (CDP) is the core technology that can help activate and automate such models. In addition, with a modern Enterprise Customer Data Platform (ECDP) it’s easy to start using triggers and personalization because all the customer journey data that you need is at your fingertips, so low hanging fruits abound. ActionIQ’s automation and powerful UI means you can keep testing new approaches and increasing the sophistication of your Marketing AI even with the team that you have today.  

 

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