Delivering on the Promise of Personalization with Customer Genomes

My customer genome shows that I’m a professional with a high affinity for digital technology, motorbikes and leadership. It also shows that I attend many events and that last week, I liked the color black and the brand Lacoste.

This information is gold for marketers who might be looking to understand the kind of consumer I am and identify opportunities to entice me to buy their products.

But how did I map my customer genome? And how can this information be used?

Transitioning from a ‘what’ to a ‘why’ mindset

The proliferation of digital experiences has posed a challenge to marketers globally.  Customers have systematically moved away from physically browsing for products in an actual brick and mortar store. Instead, they now can access millions of products via a four-inch screen on a mobile phone. Whilst having more options is a dream come true for some consumers, it can potentially be overwhelming, leaving others feeling stranded in a vast and impersonal digital void.

Best in class companies understand this predicament. They know that the key to success for online retail is the accurate use of data to personalize customer experiences. The key to this is to not just determine why customers choose certain products over others, it is also imperative to understand what they choose as well. That requires a rethink on how data is analyzed.

This rethink comes in the shape of the customer genome. It’s a tool that many companies use to capture every aspect of its customer interactions. It ranges from purchases, wishlists, app usage, emails, social media posts to calendars of events attended.

At Accenture, we have developed a genome platform powered by artificial intelligence that can ‘imprint’ a customer’s DNA. Drawing on advances in data visualization and machine learning, this platform takes a huge assortment of data sources, applies natural language processing techniques and keyword tokenization strategies, and converts them into a living database of customer preferences, motivations and passions.

Businesses get a centralized supply of customer intelligence. This includes continuous data capture and real-time updates on the new trends that define a customer’s interests and important life events.

Armed with this kind of hyper-precise and accessible information, companies can now engage with customers as if they were a personal assistant, concierge or shopper, helping them create a truly personal customer experience and relationship.

The Path to Personalization

Based on my living database, a retail brand would be able to see that I am interested in buying a black laptop backpack built for bike riding — and it’d be a simple job to recommend one to me.

Customer genomes have also enabled contextual enhancement of the retail/shopper experience. This involves extracting customized content that is based on how and where a customer is accessing information. For example, if a customer is busy looking up flight information while in a hotel, a transportation company could display an advertisement for a taxi service.

Examples like these are cropping up everywhere around the world. Leading Spanish hotel chain Meliá Hotels International uses multichannel data sources to deliver unique personalized offers to customers, based on online behavior and data collected from multiple platforms. Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company, uses data collected from an interactive guest-experience platform. Carnival plans to create individual customer profiles to help provide guests with their own personal digital ‘concierge’ based on their preferences. The company also wants to improve crew members’ ability to provide more relevant guest services.

The customer genome approach offers businesses a highly effective way to personalize experiences. Leading brands are challenging the norm by adopting this new way of understanding. They’re reconsidering what new technologies are needed to deliver better results for their company and their customers.

By making recommendations that are unique or relevant to individual customers, these businesses are uncovering untapped opportunities, pivoting in new directions quickly and dramatically improving their probability of market success. Put simply, they’re significantly improving their chances of winning, both at the register and in customer retention.

Is your business ready for the new way of shopping applied now?

Patrick de Moustier, Managing Director ASEAN, Accenture Digital contributed this article.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.