• August 28, 2017
  • By Brian Solis, global innovation evangelist, Salesforce

Bold Modern Commerce Experiences Require Extreme Personalization

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The good news is that CMOs don’t have to rip and replace current marketing automation or email systems to invest in EP. AI platforms can fit into existing technology landscapes. But technology is only part of the solution. CMOs must understand modern customers and how they’re evolving so deeply that extreme personalization becomes more than a customer engagement strategy; it becomes a mantra.

Modern commerce brands such as Uber and Airbnb are figuring this out faster than everyone else. All they think about is how to match demand to supply more effectively and right at the time when the customer expresses a need. This is why CMOs (and chief data officers, and CEOs) have to think beyond the customers and strategies they’ve known in the past to adopt an EP approach.

Relevance and context are at the center of this revolution. Change starts with building a foundation based on extreme personalization, meaningful engagement, and the agility needed for relentless optimization and innovation. This leads to building informed and relevant foundations, systems, processes, and metrics, to more effectively engage the evolving generation of empowered customers without the anchor of legacy rules or perspectives.

Extreme personalization starts with understanding who your modern customers are, what they value, how, when, and where they prefer to be engaged, and what will keep them coming back. You must be data-centric and understand these customers intimately, at the individual level.


To help, I partnered with Kahuna to develop a modern marketing blueprint that explores the evolution of modern commerce and the opportunity to connect intelligent AI-powered platforms with your existing marketing automation technology to enable extreme personalization now. In it, we introduce “The 5 Ws of Modern Commerce.” It helps refine CX with an emphasis on EP as a true customer-centered approach:

Who. Target individuals who express intent, instead of broadcasting to segments or all subscribers.

What. Create deeply personalized content—not canned, generic messages that could apply to anyone (and as a result, no one).

When. Send messages whenever consumers take key actions and deliver messages when they are most likely to engage and respond.

Where. Only send messages on the channel and device that each consumer prefers to interact with at the moment you’re sending it.

Way. Learn exactly how your consumers prefer to engage with your company.

Leaders who invest in the five Ws to become data-centric and put the modern customer at the center of the customer experience are on their way to extreme personalization.

It’s beyond critical that CMOs and the C-suite at large prioritize extreme personalization by engaging modern consumers through intelligent one-to-one personalization, context consideration, cross-channel communication, and right time/right place/right message delivery at scale. This is how to start paving new roads to deliver innovative and extremely personalized customer experiences, experiences that customers prefer and value. And in doing so, EP helps to future-proof companies against the Amazon effect.

Brian Solis is an author, a keynote speaker, and a digital analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet company. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Invite him to speak at your next event.

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