Role of Personalization in the Modern MarTech Stack


    There’s a lot of noise surrounding personalization in the market today. Businesses worldwide have made the transition from a time when personalization at scale was something they could only imagine to one where consumers now expect it. With such high expectations, a single negative encounter can permanently damage the brand’s reputation.

    Although the idea of online personalization has been around for more than a decade, recent events have increased its significance for MarTech leaders: increased demand for “always-on” personalization solutions as a result of increased focus on optimization, improved access to customer segments and data, creating opportunities for more tailored experiences across all digital contexts; rising customer expectations for relevance, tempered by experience with major customer platforms, and the emergence of ML and AI-based approaches for automating personalization.

    However, MarTech leaders still have trouble implementing personalization, even in larger organizations with plenty of resources at their disposal. And those that have become more adept at identifying potential customers through certain channels now have to face the issue of cohesive personalization across a constantly expanding range of channels.

    Personalization in the MarTech Stack

    Brands can integrate a personalization service into the MarTech stack in at least three different areas. There is no one correct approach, of course; hence businesses can mix and match various approaches depending on the situation. 

    Channel Personalization

    It’s the simplest and quickest way to develop personalized experiences, but brands could also find other advantages. For instance, this strategy provides the tightest integration in the experience layer. Therefore, businesses can very closely tie their personalization logic with website content variants in the web content management platform. This can function very well when content managers also serve as targeting managers.

    The drawback is that unless brands work through a lot of manual coordination, which is usually unsustainable, consistency, standardization, and uniformity across channels will inevitably be lost.

    Also Read: Best Strategies to Digitally Transform Organizations’ MarTech Stack

    Personalization in the Data Platform

    The next solution is to incorporate personalization into an omnichannel data platform, like a Journey Orchestration Engine (JOE) or a Customer Data Platform (CDP).

    On top of their data management capabilities or as a crucial component of their orchestration capabilities, nearly all JOEs and many CDPs offer some subset of personalization features. The advantages of running them close to the crucial consumer data outweigh any potential shortcomings in some circumstances. So, for instance, they could send them customized win-back communications if someone’s status changed, like a subscription expiring. Importantly, brands must be able to implement this across a variety of platforms, including their call center, as the logic for personalization isn’t limited to any particular channel.

    There are drawbacks to this strategy. Poorer channel integration may cause problems like duplicate tailored content blocks. Brands may also run into difficulties when trying to achieve real-time, bi-directional data interchange between the engagement layer and data layer.

    Dedicated Personalization

    Finally, a dedicated personalization platform can be used as a stand-alone tool in the MarTech stack. This strategy is similar to the data-centric approach in that it establishes a foundational service independent of any channel. The importance of having normalized, accessible, and unified customer profiles cannot be overstated. Personalization functions best when brands have ready access to reliable customer data.

    Also Read: Strategies to Generate Higher ROI on the MarTech Stack

    The main advantage is that dedicated personalization platforms can theoretically offer a whole range of personalization capabilities, from various recommendation types to testing various types and so forth.

    The Way Forward

    Each of the three strategies has trade-offs of its own. Generally speaking, these options show a range of maturity, but they may also be a step toward a more sustainable and scalable architecture.

    These strategies are not mutually exclusive, of course, and businesses frequently use combinations of them. Channel-specific personalization can therefore be used by brands for some tactical victories, but over the long term or for more omnichannel, strategic, and scalable use cases, they can also deploy a dedicated and separate platform layer.

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    Prangya Pandab
    Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.