New consumer study shows personalization drives brand loyalty, but brands are missing opportunities to engage

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Data from Formation’s ‘Brand Loyalty 2020: The Need for Hyper-Individualization’ also reveals consumers prefer brands with a loyalty program, and engage most with brands they feel recognize them on a one-to-one level

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If brands want to foster loyalty from today’s consumer, they must deliver experiences and communications so tailored they feel as if they’ve been crafted for just that one person.

Formation.ai, the company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help the world’s largest brands deliver unique one-to-one offers to each customer, today released a consumer study that reveals personalization is driving brand loyalty, but consumers feel brands aren’t doing enough to recognize them as individuals.

The study — “Brand Loyalty 2020: The Need for Hyper-Individualization” — comprises survey responses from 2,000 consumers and shows the more personalization tactics a brand uses, the more loyal a consumer is to that brand. It also reveals consumers engage most with brands they feel recognize them as being unique, meaning true one-to-one personalization is critical to earning consumer loyalty and higher brand engagement in a crowded market.

“Consumer loyalty has risen to new heights in the last five years, but it hasn’t been a boon for every brand,” said Formation.ai co-founder and CEO Christian Selchau-Hansen. “Garnering loyalty is increasingly difficult, especially with the economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. The need for brands to deliver real value has become more dire as shoppers evaluate purchasing decisions against personal safety and tighter household budgets.”

The study includes a trove of consumer insights for brands and marketers seeking to grow their business by building and strengthening individual customer relationships through personalized experiences. Key findings include:

Basic customization and segmentation tactics are no longer enough
75% of consumers said the marketing emails they open frequently contain macro-segmentation
and/or micro-segmentation tactics, indicating these are now table stakes.

Consumers want true one-to-one personalization
81% of consumers are willing to share basic personal information in exchange for a more personalized experience, and 73% said the brands they engage with the most recognize them on a one-to-one level.

Loyalty programs are key to greater personalization
79% of consumers agree that the more personalization tactics a brand uses, the more loyal they are to that brand, and 73% said they’re more likely to engage with a brand that offers a loyalty program versus one that doesn’t.

Loyalty programs must stand out
58% of consumers said they’re more loyal to brands than they were five years ago, but the majority of respondents (63%) only belong to between one and three loyalty programs, meaning a program must deliver exceptional experiences to make the cut. Additionally, 77% of consumers feel brands could be doing more to earn their loyalty.

The data, collected just prior to the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, has become more resonant in recent months.

“The bar for creating consumer relevance has risen dramatically as tech giants like Netflix, Amazon and Spotify deliver increasingly personalized user experiences,” Selchau-Hansen said. “Consumer expectations for individualized experiences are rising, and the pandemic is accelerating that. If brands want to foster loyalty from today’s consumer, they must deliver experiences and communications so tailored they feel as if they’ve been crafted for just that one person.”

“Brand Loyalty 2020: The Need for Hyper-Individualization” is available for download. Read more about what these results mean for brands and marketers on the Formation.ai blog. For more information about Formation.ai and its offerings, visit formation.ai.

About Formation
Formation.ai empowers companies to achieve true 1:1 marketing at enterprise scale. With a combination of automation, AI and ML, our platform continues to learn about customer preferences, analyzing their interactions and fine-tuning offers until they are in a segment of one. Our solution automates offer development and execution, enabling marketing teams to be more efficient and effective in engaging and retaining customers. Based in San Francisco, Formation works with some of the world’s largest brands, like Starbucks and United Airlines, to grow their businesses by building and strengthening individual customer relationships. For more information, visit formation.ai.

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