Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hyper-Personalization – Is your company ready?

At EyeforTravel, we are often asked what the future holds for travel marketing.  In my research ahead of EyeforTravel’s Online Marketing Strategies for Travel conference in Miami, the buzzwords for 2013 have been mobile and also personalization.

What’s interesting to me is the rapid development of the technology that facilitates personalization.  Personalization means going far beyond just acknowledging that they’re a valued customer.  Understanding what it is the consumer wants, needs and indeed when they want to hear from you and how, sets brands aside from their competitors and wins sales.  Even more intelligent brands are integrating social data, booking patterns, anticipating wants and needs to inspire customers and sell travel products that are highly targeted to them, that they might not have realized were on offer if it wasn’t for the right marketing message at the right time. 

You can only do this however, if the tools you have permit.  Thankfully such tools are advancing.
A great example of this is Facebook’s “Unpublished Posts” feature – something until recently only available for adverts appearing on the right hand side of a user’s page. Now, posts targeted to specific segments can be published on to their newsfeeds, without appearing on other users’ newsfeeds or the Page’s own feed. This means that relevant content will be delivered directly to the user where they’re most likely to see it, without the danger of alienating the rest of your audience, which could result in them clicking the dreaded “unsubscribe” option.

Personalization, requires an integration of your marketing efforts, and data is at the heart of this. Existing data must be leveraged to build robust databases that can then be added to as more information is collated. Though it is certainly a dire warning not to go too far when it comes to personalizing your content, Target’s story of how they used algorithms to work out a young girl was pregnant before her father knew, shows that with careful analysis of patterns and data, you can determine a lot about your consumer – but remember, as Spiderman’s uncle Ben once told him, “with great power, comes great responsibility”.

So where does the future of personalization lie? In further personalizing the consumer’s experience; at every level. Websites will become fully adaptable to their visitors, so a sun-worshipping beach body will be greeted with an entirely different page to an adrenaline-junkie adventure traveler. The messages, calls to action and offers all being adapted to the individual based on their data. Even Search is becoming more and more personalized, Google’s alogorithm learns what it’s users are searching for, and engines such as Bing are allowing users to integrate their Facebook accounts to power their personalized search – and thereby opening the door for even more relevant, targeted advertising.

Utilizing these tools, you can create a comprehensive personalization strategy with marketing that users will not find intrusive but genuinely useful. Dancing that fine line between helpful and creepy will help instill loyalty to your brand, which will drive sales and in turn provide more data for your personalization strategies, marking you out in the consumer’s eye as a cut above the rest.

To find out more about Hyper-Personalization as well as other key Online Marketing strategies why not check out our Online Marketing Strategies for Travel: The Americas & Caribbean 2013 (June 4-5th, Miami) where Ritz-Carlton, Virgin Atlantic, Avis and many other top travel brands will be presenting the latest developments in Online Marketing in the travel space.