- Customers purchase more from brands that speak to them as individuals.
- Segmentation is one approach but L.L. Bean has evolved its email program further.
- L.L. Bean’s approach to content personalization allows them to reduce their reliance on promos and move customers towards high-value strategic categories.
- L.L. Bean also extends the lifespan of its content, maximizing return on creative investment.
- With their new focus on individualized customer journeys, L.L. Bean is earning the trust and loyalty of its audience.
Why Individualized Journeys Are the Next Step in Content Personalization at L.L. Bean
What’s the #1 factor that distinguishes a successful email campaign from an underperforming flop?
It’s not the percentage of promotional offers sent or the depth of the discounts offered or even the precision with which you pre-plan your audience segments.
Above all else, our research shows that customers purchase more, at non-promotional prices, from brands that speak to them as individuals.
Although this idea sounds obvious, many brands fail to grasp its full implications. From the instant we wake up, we move through a world of personalized music playlists, maps, schedules, fitness apps, and video streaming services — all constantly learning, updating, and re-tailoring their content in response to the unique actions that we take.
In this stream of individualized content, an automated subject-line greeting — “Hi, Bob!” — just doesn’t feel as personal as it used to.
That’s why forward-looking brands like L.L. Bean are taking the next step beyond segmentation and surface-level personalization: they are using our machine-learning software to generate unique email journeys featuring content that evolves in response to every customer’s clicks.
Here’s why individual content personalization represents a crucial step forward for the email marketing team at L.L. Bean.
Personalized email content reduces reliance on promotional discounts.
Today’s retail landscape is more competitive than ever, particularly around pricing. Instead of trying to out-bid direct competitors within their vertical, retailers are now facing drastic undercutting from major brands like Amazon, which leverage economies of scale to serve up deeper discounts than local stores.
Amid intensifying price wars, every retailer now faces “the discount dilemma” — a seemingly impossible choice between losing customers to competitors’ lower prices, or losing revenue by constantly offering promotional discounts. Even worse, an over-reliance on promotions creates customers who love your discounts, but not your brand.
Individualized customer journeys provide a clear path out of this predicament. Our machine learning software can predict customers’ likely purchase patterns based on previous behavior, and can accurately forecast the ideal moments to serve up a personalized promotion — or to make an offer at full price.
As a result, machine learning personalization allows L.L. Bean’s email campaigns to sell more inventory at standard prices, without losing the customers who are more inclined to respond to promotional offers.
Email content personalization gets more mileage from your existing creative assets.
Every email designed by L.L. Bean represents a major investment of time and resources. Those investments are largely wasted if each creative asset is sent to each subscriber once. This waste is particularly frustrating if few customers respond to a given piece of content.
Surely there’s a more cost-effective approach.
At L.L Bean, instead of sending each piece of content once and hoping for the best, it is using Coherent Path’s email software to recycle every creative in fresh and original ways — maximizing the chance to connect and convert each subscriber.
Starting with L.L Bean’s existing content library, the algorithm generates infinite combinations and variations of each email template, each personalized around an individual subscriber’s tastes. And all within guardrail rules established in advance.
L.L. Bean’s content and message can remain the same — except it is now optimized to get the most mileage out of every asset being designed.
Individually personalized journeys demonstrate you’re a brand worth trusting.
Customer trust might not sound like a quantifiable KPI but the results certainly are. A recent study by Harvard Business Review reports that shoppers are twice as likely to buy from brands that take time to build emotional connections. In fact, 80% of customers say trust in a brand is the single most important factor in their major purchase decisions.
Statistics like these make a strong argument against the traditional approach of treating email like an ATM — sending out the broadly segmented content with minimal personalization, in hopes of generating automatic revenue.
The email channel can be so much more if you take it seriously as a platform for one-on-one trust-building with your customers.
Email remains the top-converting digital channel — consistently beating every social media platform with its stunning 20% open rate — but only for campaigns focused on building rapport and trust, rather than making constant sales pitches.
Time and again, the data shows that individualized customer journeys predict an email campaign’s conversion rate more reliably than any other factor. Brands that use our software to create these journeys are seeing lower subscriber turnover rates — as well as sustained lifts in their opens and clicks.
But the brands that reap these benefits are those who can show they are worth trusting. And in today’s barrage of low-effort email personalization, the only way to stand out is to invest in understanding your customers as individuals and tailoring every piece of content in response to their behavior.
This is why individual content personalization is the next step in email marketing — and a crucial ingredient in long-lasting customer loyalty.
If you’re interested, we can show you how L.L.Bean deployed this solution. Click here to reserve a time where we will walk you through their implementation.