• Recognition — Identifying an individual across channels and matching him to any information about him that exists from past interactions or other systems. This applies to both individuals who can be specifically identified and those who are anonymous, at least initially
  • Analysis — Evaluating each individual to determine his or her intent. This should be based on all known and inferred insights, historical data and current actions
  • Contextualization — Determining which aspects of the customer’s experience need to be tailored to best suit the individual’s needs. This requires adjusting content, presentation and functionality in real-time and as a predictive decision to create the best possible experience for each person
  • Engagement — This is the delivery of each interaction to the user in the appropriate context, which includes timing, channel, content and other indicators provided by the consumer

Check Your Engines
To successfully execute these capabilities, a company’s processes, data and technology must all be in top form. Standards should be in place across the organization for how to identify individuals across the customer lifecycle and deliver an individualized experience — and the role different channels have in doing this. The flow of customer data between channels needs to be optimized to deliver a superior experience from one click/swipe to the next. Owners of all touchpoints — e.g., web, advertising, email — must ensure that the technology they use can be easily connected to the next touchpoint in the customer journey. By connecting one technology silo to the next, they can ensure customers have a consistent experience across all of a brand’s touchpoints.The data from all these touchpoints makes up the customer profile, which is the most important piece of successful individualization. Building a highly effective customer profile is a complex task with many moving parts. While no two customer profiles will ever be the same, all profiles should have five traits in common. They must:

  1. Collect data tied to the individual, rather than zooming out to a segment level.
  2. Pull data from all channels and make this available to all other channels and systems.
  3. Serve as a link between all marketing tech solutions in use.
  4. Persist outside of a cookie or system.
  5. Exist for both anonymous and known individuals.

Off to the RACEs!
Individualization is a long-term commitment, but to get started right away, begin with an audit of your profiles. Take a careful look at all the profiles currently storing customer data, and determine if they are pulling a complete picture. Then, sit down and outline all the different versions of your customers’ lifecycles. This will help to create a common starting point for organizing information and content.Finally, look at the channels that are most often paired together and evaluate why they go together and whether a user’s actions in one influences the other. Starting with pairs will help you to scale up to eventually become as close to touchpoint agnostic as possible.