Personalization 2.0: Capturing Rich Customer Data

Published by Kristin McDonnell on August 12th, 2015  

By Kristin McDonnell, COO-CMO of SoHalo

Familiar Marketing Story

Earlier this year, SoHalo met with a team of digital and social marketers from a leading brand, “BrandX”, to discuss how they could move toward true 1-to-1 personalization across their marketing channels.

Thomas LefebvreLike 80% of marketers worldwide, BrandX is delivering personalized email and, like 42% of marketers, they’re providing personalized responses to customer service issues on Twitter and Facebook. However, within BrandX’s marketing tech (“martech”) ecosystem, we found a familiar personalized marketing challenge. Their customer email addresses and social identities were stored in disconnected silos. And their data capture methods ignored rich customer profile data that would make personalization more effective. Looking forward, BrandX’s marketers told us that they wanted to improve their focus so that blurry groups of large customer segments turn into well-understood and engaged customer segments of one.

Customers Want to Be a Segment of One

The flip side to this familiar marketing story is from the consumer’s point of view. Typically, consumers don’t know or care about the realities of marketing technology challenges and limitations. These empowered customers, who have broadly and rapidly adopted mobile, social, and web technologies, enjoy the control they now have to interact with brands anywhere and anytime. These connected consumers want and expect brands to deliver on the promise of true one-to-one marketing today.

Even though they don’t speak “martech”, consumers know that they want a personalized experience in which they are recognized as unique individuals with unique interests and a history of brand interactions across multiple channels. In other words, they want all their data unified into one rich customer profile so that their future brand interactions are highly personalized to serve their segment of one.

The Engagement Opportunity: Personalization 2.0

Given these customer expectations, digital and social marketers now have the opportunity to use richer customer data to determine what, when, and how to deliver content and experiences to engage customers as individuals. “Personalized” experiences no longer need to be created based on gut feelings or for large groups of people.

This next phase of marketing, Personalization 2.0, is characterized by powerful 1-to-1 engagements in which each customer receives relevant brand messages in the right channel at the right time. Brendan Witcher from Forrester Research recently discussed this emerging opportunity in a webinar with Reflektion. He described a world in which each customer is identified and treated as a segment of one through the use of rich customer profiles.

Marketing Challenges to Deliver Personalization 2.0

The promise of Personalization 2.0 sounds great. So, how did we end up in this current environment in which customers are so far ahead in their readiness and expectations for 1-to-1 personalization versus marketers’ abilities to deliver on the promise?

As VB Insight recently reported, for marketing teams “the process of personalization consists of three key parts: identity, content, and delivery.” Focusing on the first part, identity — the foundational element of personalization — the marketing industry has endured lackluster profile data collection and use for a number of reasons. Primarily, it has been challenging for marketers and customer experience professionals to automate the collection and unification of rich profile data at scale. The end result is that most marketing teams still operate with limited data collection and use, thus putting them at a personalization disadvantage today.

Recent VB Insight stats published by eMarketer reinforce that reality by measuring the profile data points that marketers are using for personalization:


It’s no surprise that profile data such as email and location are the most used personalization data points. These have had the longest histories to mature into today’s traditional marketing automation solutions. However, other valuable insights such as social identities, lifestyle, and psychographics have largely been ignored because it hasn’t been easy to collect and act on these richer data sets.

SoHalo Captures Rich Customer Data

Recognizing this need, SoHalo’s Engagement Marketing Platform helps marketers solve these Personalization 2.0 challenges. By empowering marketers with an automated way to capture and unify rich profile data and act on those insights, SoHalo is accelerating the industry’s ability to deliver on the promise of segments of one.

Through SoHalo’s easy web platform, marketers are engaging with customers at higher rates while building rich unified customer profiles. By publishing a wide variety of SoHalo Offers in their customers’ preferred digital and social channels, marketers invite consumers to engage and connect with their brands. These offers, which are rewarded calls-to-action, cover a multitude of valuable customer journey actions including social log-in, social sharing, polls, sweepstakes, and data entry forms. In return, consumers are appreciated with automatic micro-incentive rewards including gift cards, giveaways, and points.

Under the hood, the SoHalo platform is collecting and unifying opted-in customer data based on identities, behaviors, affinities, and transactions. Rich data such as email addresses, social identities, gender, age, channel preferences, and purchase intentions provide new opportunities to deliver enhanced experiences that drive customer and brand value.

SoHalo Delivers Thousands of Data Points

So, how have our marketing friends at BrandX been able to pursue the benefits of segments of one? By leveraging SoHalo’s platform, they have been capturing and unifying thousands of rich customer profile data points. And by deploying more SoHalo Offers based upon these rich profile insights and SoHalo’s rules engine, they are engaging more deeply and personally with their customers than ever before. These social and digital marketers have found that rich profile data is the key which unlocks the power of Personalization 2.0.

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