23 March 2023

Adapting the brand experience for different regions

Personalization:</br> <strong>Adapting the brand experience for different regions</strong>

The aim of personalization is to make every individual person the most valued customer – whether or not they are a customer.

US executive consultancy firm Gartner states that personalization is “a process that creates a relevant, individualized interaction between two parties designed to enhance the experience of the recipient.” Quite simply, the customer is courted like never before.

In order to woo their clients successfully using the arts of personalization, businesses have traditionally concentrated their efforts on data gathering. Any and every piece of information which they can acquire about their customer or prospects’ habits, lifestyle, and business will provide material which can be used to build a personal relationship with the targeted user, before there has even been any interaction on the user’s part.

After analyzing this wealth of information, companies gain detailed insights into consumer demographics, interests and behaviour, which they can then use to create content for campaigns and experiences that resonate with their target markets in a more meaningful way.

The deliverables to the customer are manifold and can include tailored imagery and messaging (often using the customer’s own name) and, more generally, recommendations, promotions and advertisements which pick up on preferences gleaned from the data.


A layered approach

Business-focused personalization can be split into three variations: marketing personalization, sales personalization and customer support personalization.


Marketing personalization

Data is at the core of any meaningful marketing enterprise. Depending on a company’s industry, different kinds of data will be most useful in terms of personalization. These include:
• Demographic data – data concerning an individual, such as name, email, title, and location
• Firmographic data –data concerning a business, such as company name, industry, number of employees, annual revenue
• Behavioural data – data concerning website visitor behaviour, such a pages visited, links clicked, average time on site
• Contextual data – data concerning website visitor properties, such as specific device type, browser type, location, and time of the day.

Aside from buying large quantities of personal data from companies which specialize in the information industry, the easiest, and most up-front method of collecting data about your prospects is simply to ask for it. Ask your browsers to sign up for newsletters and emails in exchange for a first purchase promotion, or some high-performing content which they will get for free. This is likely to become an even more necessary method through which companies can gain information as 2023 is likely to mark the death of the third-party cookie, which is the current favoured method of gathering data.


Sales personalization

Sales personalization is the next step from marketing personalization. Here, the focus is on understanding the customer’s needs and using the information gathered during the marketing phase to the best advantage. By examining the customer or prospect’s pain points and the challenges they face, companies can respond more precisely to the customer and provide a more effective and relevant service.

Information on customer needs can be gained from tracking customers’ journey across a company’s website – which pages and links they click and time spent in each location. From this data, sales teams can build up a profile of the customer which will tell them how best to approach the customer in the next phase.

More and more businesses are turning to live chat functions as part of their website UX, so they can learn, first hand, what the prospect or customer needs. Live chat provides customers with the opportunity to interact with a real person, preferably. This will augment their personalized experience and the feeling of being personally attended to, which in turn will go towards engendering a feeling of trust and familiarity.

Again, after steps such as live chat and learning from the customer’s browsing behaviour, a personalized follow up is crucial to cementing a strong relationship with a customer.


Customer support personalization

Customer support personalization is nothing new, and is quite simply the process of treating each customer well, especially in the after-sales phase. We are all familiar with customer support and, as customers ourselves, we know how quickly prejudices can be created as a result of even a minor negative experience.

Crucially, customer support should be provided immediately wherever possible; the longer a customer has to wait for a response, the less likely they are to become a repeat customer. Trust is eroded as each hour or day or week goes by and, worse, the customer is likely to repeat their experience anecdotally to others. In the digital age, there is very much such a thing as bad press, contrary to what the popular idiom asserts.

Transcend your customers’ expectations by striving to maintain contextual conversations. All information about a customer’s query should be logged and shared, so that each time a customer makes contact about a specific query, the discussion history is readily available to any operative responding. In this way, customers feel that they are being listened to and their query is being treated with due attention and respect.

One way to empower the customer and assist them with their query as quickly as possible is to provide a self-service support function. Creating a knowledge base which includes a database of all of your business services and products and a directory of customers’ most frequently experienced issues and pain points will provide the foundations of simple menu tree-style self-service support system, designed to narrow down the parameters of a customer’s query and lead them to the answer they are looking for.


Small steps lead to big rewards

At first sight, personalization may seem like a time-consuming process to implement which produces no immediate gains. But once the process is broken down into its component parts, none of which are complicated or costly to action, businesses find that invaluable factors like trust and loyalty are built up in their customer bases. The results are exponential and will continue to grow as marketing, sales and customer support each fulfil their role in personalization.

For companies looking to expand their profile globally, personalization plays an even more important role in localization, where cultural and societal factors also need to be taken into account in developing solid customer relationships.


Personalization goes from strength to strength, region to region

Companies across the globe are eagerly reworking their sales, marketing and customer care strategies to make use of personalization techniques. We look at two regions to see how different industries have stepped up to the personalization mark.



So-called superapps like China’s Alipay are delivering hyper-personalized offerings specifically targeting their customers’ ever-changing needs. Parent company AliBaba has invested massively in the business’s algorithmic endeavours to learn what the customer wants quickly and steer them towards their anticipated goals with a spate of pop-up notifications and emails.

Over in Vietnam, digital finance is becoming accessible to an ever-increasing number of customers. E-wallets, payments via smartphones and QR codes are all popular every-day resources across the region, and there is growing demand for ‘instant credit’ solutions such as buy-now-pay-later, which cater to Vietnam’s unbanked or underbanked populations. In order to maximize their reach, these fintech companies all implement comprehensive personalization methods, such as those mentioned above, gathering and analysing data on customers from first contact.

United Arab Emirates startup BankBuddy is leading the way in cognitive banking by embedding functionalities such as voice IVR, multilingual bots, natural language processing, machine vision and AI-powered recommendations. These measures are all designed to align the customer’s needs more closely to the company’s offering, in turn designed to build up a level of dependency.


Mexico, Brazil and Latin America

Mercado Libre, Mexico’s biggest motor vehicle platform, is wholeheartedly buying into the personalization trend. With more than 1,000 official stores and over 50 million products, users are faced with almost too much choice, so putting the right product in front of the right customer can be a tricky business. Mercado Libre has invested in a swathe of algorithms to deliver personalized results based on previous purchases, search terms, user behaviour, interests and viewed products. To determine which products draw the most attention, the system compares the data with other profiles to arrive at the optimum result.

In Latin America, educational technology companies are also joining the personalization party. A report into the current state of education in Brazil and Mexico asserts that entrepreneurs were very critical of the education status quo in these two regions, and that the only way to improve the situation was to disrupt the traditional model through the widespread implementation of technological solutions.

For such solutions to be truly successful, they will need to be rolled out with comprehensive personalization at every phase. Company Yogome, for example, currently allows personalization of all of its content for students. Teacher are able to view data on student performance, and increase or decrease the time the student spends on each subject depending on their needs.

Across these regions, personalization is still a relatively expensive undertaking for the education sector and more difficult to realize at scale. EdTechs will need to work on cost-effective and appropriate methods of data collection in order to tailor their solutions.

The global uptake of personalization by companies is set to grow, as competition due to business’ ever increasing digital capabilities becomes fiercer. As customers, we can expect to be bombarded by content which has been tailor-made for us from every angle. The tide of personalization may very well turn, though, resulting in companies having to streamline their marketing efforts and curate their sales output more carefully for fear of overwhelming customers.