Powering Personalization for the Experience Economy

In the last 15 years, 52% of the Fortune 500 have disappeared. Amazon continues to rapidly disrupt retail, and one-third of the Retail 100 have churned out in the last decade.

But a class of companies has outperformed the market, growing 2.8x the industry average over the past decade. Apple, Disney, Marriott, MGM Resorts, Progressive, Whirlpool, Capital One, Tesla and a handful of others who share a common thread: deliberately choosing to compete on the memorable experiences they deliver, not on the products and services they sell.

Experience players understand that economic value results from providing differentiated experiences relevant to the needs of individual customers.  Goods and even services become commoditized (i.e.: widely available and interchangeable), but customized experiences are differentiated and visibly standout.

“The best way is to compete on the basis of time well spent — to offer an experience so engaging that customers cannot help but spend time with you!”, says Joe Pine, in a recent Harvard Business Review article.

The good news is that anyone can be an experience player. Carnival Cruise Lines has embarked on a massive project to use wearables, IoT devices and personalization to redefine the customer experience of their guests. Tesla has revolutionized the auto industry (and is today the most valuable US car manufacturer) by elevating every aspect of the automotive experience: how consumers buy, use and service a car. Nordstrom Local is streamlining the shopping experience around personalized curation, individual stylists and fun perks like manicures and curbside pickup.

The only requirement is the ability to reimagine the business from a customer lens for the 21st century. Experience players hew to different rules to get ahead: individual (vs segments), connected touchpoints (not just omnichannel), personalized interactions (not just product recommendations). The payoff is that personalized experiences drive engagement, loyalty and real dollars. Forrester Research has found that personalized customer experiences yield a 3X increase in propensity to buy, 76% boost in customer engagement, 10% revenue lift and 15% bigger basket sizes.

But remain vigilant. If the rewards of personalized experiences are great, so are the risks. While successful experiences put the customer in the center to make sure their time is well spent (whether they want the brand to engage, grow, sell, inspire or delight), poor experiences provide a direct path to losing your customer at every step. And, although 75% of digital experience decision makers state that personalization is a top priority, over half (53%) lack the right technology to personalize the experience.

Maybe there is a lack of individually- triggered events. Maybe the technology can’t identify the customer’s context. Maybe there are relatively few – and disconnected – touchpoints. The result is the same: customers leave.  54% would consider ending their relationship with a retailer if they are not given tailor-made, relevant content and offers. Half quit doing business with a company immediately after a bad sales/marketing experience, one-quarter took to social media, and 54% started engaging with other companies.

So why is this hard? The explosion of decision points along the customer journey means that companies need to recognize individuals with a unified-real time view and then have the intelligence at scale to optimize multiple goals. Delivering the experience requires automating creative controls and instant scalability to millions of interactions.  And the entire personalization initiative needs to be extensible in scope and scale to accelerating pace of change.

Over the weeks and months ahead, we will be rolling out a new set of resources to help you become an experience player.

RichRelevance enables the Experience Economy, helping companies successfully transform every interaction into a personal experience.  We are committed to helping enterprises differentiate on memorable experiences by personalizing every customer interaction in real-time, using advanced technologies like machine learning and big data to augment human intelligence, and drive immediate revenues.

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This post was written by Mike Ni

As CMO of RichRelevance, Mike oversees marketing, strategy, and partner & ecosystem development with responsibility to building brand, driving demand, and expanding to new markets. Mike brings over 20 years of experience leading marketing and strategy for some of the world’s most successful enterprise technology companies spanning software, consumer packaged goods, digital media, and eCommerce industries. Prior to RichRelevance, Mike served as CMO of Avangate, a digital commerce platform provider, which under his leadership tripled its customer base and was named one of the top 3 global Digital Goods Affiliate Networks. Previous roles include leadership positions at PeopleSoft, OnePage (acquired by Sybase), Amdocs, and Oracle.
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