While 75 percent of respondents in Adobe's 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey say personalization is a way to convert visitors into customers, most are limited by budgets, time, or skill sets.
Personalization is one of the most important ways to convert visitors into customers and marketers need to make it a top priority. That's the main takeaway from Adobe's 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey, which polled more than 1,000 respondents from a range of industries and looked at where optimization falls on companies' priority lists and how investment in optimization leads to higher conversions.
And while 75 percent said personalization is important, most respondents also said they are limited by budgets, times or skill sets, Adobe says.
The top 20 percent, however, have conversion rates of more than 4.5 percent – versus just 2.6 percent for the remainder – which means brands and marketers need to realize the importance of personalization and make efforts to incorporate it, writes Kevin Lindsay, director of Conversion Product Marketing for Adobe's Digital Marketing Suite, in a blog post.
The top-performing companies are top performers in part because they invest in research-based approaches through testing and optimization, which helps them make better decisions and realize better returns.
In fact, 70 percent of top performers said they used testing methods and capabilities as decision-making tools versus less than half of the other respondents.
Lindsay surmises this could be because shifting from what he calls "gut-driven" to data-driven can be difficult. However, he notes, companies that move to optimization-driven decisions increase conversions by upward of 100 percent, so it's well worth the effort.
Marketers looking to switch to optimization-driven decisions should keep data clean and consistent, determine key performance indicators, know how they will gauge success, bring stakeholders into the conversation early and communicate success, Lindsay says. From there, it will become easier to get budgetary support, he notes.
According to Adobe, the top 20 percent are also 54 percent more likely to allocate more than 5 percent of their budgets to testing and optimization.
Interestingly, when asked which customer experience tactics they utilized, all respondents ordered the 16 tasks identically, with website analytics taking the top spot, followed by social media analytics, social sharing, email optimization and customer reviews.
However, top performers were 46 percent more likely to use optimization capabilities overall, with areas like audience segmentation, mobile analytics, and A/B testing showing the greatest separation between top and bottom, Adobe says.
In addition to optimization, content should be targeted because advertisers and brands demand unique, organic, content-driven experiences, Adobe says.
The top 20 percent of respondents were 43 percent more likely to use content targeting on their sites. Similarly, more than four in five were more likely to use data and automation to steer decision making.
Marketers must also democratize their efforts to tap into experts in niche pockets of their organizations who might not otherwise be part of the conversation. Top performers were 88 percent more likely to tap into other departments for contributions and expansions, Adobe says.
But that's not all. Brands must also automate their efforts to maximize real-time efficiencies. Top performers are 36 percent more likely to use automation.
The top 20 percent were also better with mobile. More than four in five said mobile was an important piece of their cross-channel marketing efforts this year, versus just two in three of the remaining organizations.
Ecommerce sites, for example, should start by enhancing mobile traffic data with geolocation information and serving relevant offers based on location, Lindsay says. They should also consider developing apps.
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In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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