The rebirth of personalization – CMO study

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A new study, called ‚The Power of Personalization‘, by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council brings the discussion on personalization back to digital reality. It focuses on the products, benefit and relevance of customized content and communication which should make marketers rethinking their marketing activities. The study surveyed over 700 senior executives ranging from CEO, CMO, SVP, and VPs of Marketing from across different market sectors.

A retrospect on personalization
Some years ago, when we launched a personalized-version of, there was a common sense that personalization will become one of the essential features in digital publishing. As business decision makers were said to be busy and having only restricted time to consume business collateral and information in an effective way, personalized platform offerings seemed to be the perfect publishing business to meet their needs.

But when investors of online businesses (most often VCs) wanted to see the quick ROI on their money, tables turned for publishing platform owners. In order to satisfy their investors requirements, the digital currency had to become reach in terms of page impressions – not quality in terms of concrete targeting activities. The whole digital world lost its focus on a wonderful option for digital media: personalization as a marketing driver for efficiency.

Thus, digital media turned into a mass and reach generating industry – simply because there was no other option to finance online business models. CPX, as the one and only digital currency, became a killer for personalization for platform owners.

Personalization is coming back
The new study offers some worldwide insight that marketers have regained the aspect of personalization. Marketeers explore and define personalized communications strategies. The report highlights new technologies and solutions such as customized content creation, proprietary on-demand personalization technologies, one-to-one delivery and interaction channels. Interesting is also the emergence of transpromo documents that integrate transaction and marketing communications.

The reason why personalization will become more important in the future is quite clear: Time is running short and the need for time-efficient work-tactics is increasing. Social media has shown the importance of individualized lifecycle marketing techniques as word-of-mouth results show the value customized communications. Just think about the idea of personal web managers and the personalization topic becomes a completely different value.

56% of marketers believe personalized communications out-perform traditional mass-market delivery. Apart from that, survey participants could identify key trends. Amoungst others were implementation, and integration of personalized communications through media such as email, personalized URLs (PURLs), digital advertising, direct mail, word-of-mouth, dimensional mailers, etc.

To cut things short: Personalization in terms of marketing budgets and campaigns is still in the ‚infantile stages of being integrated into most companies’. Although the targeting of customized content is promising, marketers are still afraid of pushing their budgets in an area without reliable or 3rd-party verified customer data sources. Going the ‚try-and-error‘ route seems to be not very popular in the companies sense – especially in rough financial times.

Short summary on some important findings (by en-ovationblog)
– Over 56% of marketers content that personalized communications out-perform traditional mass-market delivery; digital, database-driven channels offer the most upside potential for engaging in customized communications.
– Chief marketing executives are seen as the primary owners of personalized marketing initiatives. However, sales and customer relationship management groups most frequently maintain control of the data that provides the foundation for these campaigns.
– Personalized communication gets less than 10% of a majority of CMOs – future outlook: 55% say they will spend more than 10%.
– While many marketers are still working at tracking the overall effectiveness and ROI of personalized communications, almost 40% say they are generating either “extremely effective and measurable ROI” or “better response rates than other programs.”
– Individualized letters and email are the most common form of personalized communication.
– Conversion and close rates are the primary measure of success, followed by email actioning, website traffic/page views, and impact on retention and churn.

Spot On!
Personalization is another important step to efficient marketing activities. If they need to measured in numbers or in the sense of a customer relationship ratio is something companies has to evaluate and define for themselves. In terms of platforms owners the digital currency question remains. Is there not a need for a change? What value does a website visitor have in a special business content environment or vice versa in a consumer area – and why? Is e-mail newsletter text- or picture advertising the most unrated form of advertising? A lot of question the study brings back to life. The rebirth has just begun…

The executive summary of ‚The Power of Personalization‘ can be downloaded here.

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12 Kommentare zu "The rebirth of personalization – CMO study"

  1. Ben Waugh am 26.01.2009 08:54 

    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work :)

  2. Martin Meyer-Gossner am 26.01.2009 12:07 

    @ Ben THX, your words are much appreciated on a Monday morning.

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