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Oct 8, 2020

Real-Time Ubiquity: How Cross-Channel Awareness and Sensitivity Supercharge A/B/n Testing & Personalization

A real-time, omnichannel personalized customer experience (CX) is often thought of as the holy grail of marketing; a noble yet unattainable pursuit. Channel siloes, data latency, list-based campaigns and, ultimately, the need for a marketer to commit to an action – an email sent, web content updated, etc. – that may not accurately reflect a customer’s real-time journey all conspire to thwart the ambitious marketer from keeping pace with a customer independent of channel.

Breaking down these barriers requires more than eliminating data siloes, data latency and replacing list-based campaigns with rules-based campaigns. Orchestrating a seamless, frictionless omnichannel CX requires real-time cross-channel awareness and sensitivity. Consider a customer, for example, who shows an affinity for a specific product or category on a brand’s website. If the customer has an unopened email offer in their inbox that becomes irrelevant based on the customer’s last-viewed content, is a brand prepared to change the email content up to and until the point of open?

Real-time ubiquity, an open-time personalization capability based on the most recent information in a customer’s Golden Record, is one of the new smart assets in the latest release of the Redpoint rg1 digital experience platform.

Real Time, Friction-Free Relevance

The ability to delay committing to an action until the moment a customer opens an email saves precious time to consider additional influencing behavior that determines the true next-best action. Intervening behavior include a customer’s behavior on the website or another channel, the purchase of a product, signing up for a rewards programming, redeeming an existing offer or another interaction. By eliminating a lapse, a brand removes the possibility of sending a redundant, irrelevant email which – as most customers will attest – introduces friction into the overall CX, interfering with what may otherwise be a seamless omnichannel journey.

A personalized CX marked by real-time relevance both delights a customer – and drives revenue. In one Marketing Insider Group study, 78 percent of consumers said that personally relevant content ups their purchase intent. And in a Harris Poll commissioned by Redpoint, asked to name their top consumer frustrations, 34 percent of respondents said it was receiving an offer for something they just bought, while 33 percent said it was receiving offers that are not relevant.

Improved A/B/n Testing

Open time email personalization materially improves A/B/n testing, providing marketers with the capability to test and report on real-time email content in much the same way as traditional A/B/n web testing – with the same consistency and specificity that are the usual hallmarks of the web’s random audience approach.

The standard process for testing X amount of email offers is to keep a certain percentage as a control, and assign a small percentage of emails to each offer. With a statistically significant result from this segmented audience approach, the remaining percentage of emails are then sent to the “winning” offer. In a standard web testing process, rather than define and segment an audience, content is randomized for the first X amount of views or impressions and once that threshold is reached the “winning” content is released.

With real-time personalization of content at the point of open in rg1, marketers can choose either method on either channel. On the web, for instance, marketers can assign an audience to see specific content and then – like the standard email testing process – wait for the desired amount of impressions, and then show the winning result to the rest of the population.

The new innovation in rg1 allows marketers to treat an email as they would web real estate; randomize the first X amount that open the email, and with a statistically significant response the winning content is assigned to the remaining emails. But because all customer behaviors are considered up to the opening of an email, once there is a statistically significant response marketers can far more effectively attach relevance to the remaining emails.

This type of randomized audience A/B/n testing approach provides email testing with the same benefits of the random audience approach known on the web, namely that it’s more efficient and returns an answer much faster. Yet open-time email personalization retains the benefits of the segmented audience approach by attaching specificity to who sees what and understanding with intricate detail the behavior of the particular audiences that see the content – all without burning audience. If you’re testing an email offer for camping equipment, for example, but a recipient (before opening the email) goes to the web and lands on hunting gear, and that action aligns with another email, you can switch.

In addition, functionality in some popular email systems allow you to pin emails of special interest to the top of your inbox so that they’re always there. Imagine the benefit of getting customers to pin these real time portal emails to the top and getting them accustomed to going back to those emails for new personalized content. In addition to reducing the number of emails sent, you could also establish a very private channel with a consumer that would always feel very personalized to their preferences, tastes and interests. Possibilities are almost endless; the trick is to start experimenting and see where the capability and user behaviors interact to evolve into a new experience.

Thinking of an email marketing campaign as a stand-alone, siloed touchpoint or engagement channel is a missed opportunity to engage a customer with consistent relevance, particularly because the customer journey of today is dynamic, non-linear and highly unpredictable. Real-time cross-channel sensitivity and awareness far more accurately reflect the way an always-on, connected customer engages with a brand, and open-time email personalization reinforces why the delivery of a seamless, omnichannel CX is now table stakes. Customers view a relationship with a brand as a holistic experience, not a collection of fragmented interactions. It is why brands that meet this expectation with a true customer-centric experience drive new revenue. It is why ambitious marketers choose Redpoint to move markets with a digital experience platform that delivers a uniquely superior CX.

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