personalization is

(Source – Shutterstock)

PepsiCo expert reveals how to leverage technology to future-proof personalization

Article by Jerome Tillotson, SVP EMEA & APAC Client Success, Cheetah Digital

For years, brands have been perfecting personalization strategies that resonate with consumers and make them feel like individuals. For many B2C brands like PepsiCo, classic personalization has meant plugging simple forms of data like email, names, addresses or recent purchases into outbound channel communications to ensure touchpoints are viewed as timely, relevant and contextual.

Tim Glomb, VP of Content and Data at Cheetah Digital and Chris Muscutt, Head of MarTech at PepsiCo, recently discussed their take on the use of zero- and first-party data and technology to power effective strategies.

Personalization technology platform ‘gold rush’

Jerome Tillotson, SVP EMEA & APAC Client Success, Cheetah Digital

Personalization marketing tools rushed on the scene more than 15 years ago to help brands engage with consumers in digital channels like web, social and mobile. These tools help brands test out different colors, icons, images and offers on websites to optimize the consumer journey.

However, rarely did they offer any meaningful psychographic intelligence about visitors like their interests, hopes or needs. The cookie apocalypse and browser-based targeting solutions further contribute to the challenge of getting to know the customer, with Google announcing its plans to phase out third-party cookies altogether. 

“Brands have to look at all the different signals they’re receiving from consumers, even the more subtle ones, as the third-party cookie crumbles,” Chris says. “They have to prioritize the data that is useful in their marketing strategies and then focus on developing those data-collection opportunities. With that, brands can start to build impactful strategies, which can improve the customer journey.”

Game-changing technologies revealed

For maximum impact, brands need to invest in and bring together three game-changing marketing technologies, including:

  1. Real-time personalization: This allows brands to learn more about consumers to deliver a better experience every time. It’s about understanding what the consumer intends to do in that specific moment and includes monitoring web interactions as well as mobile SMS, web, app, social, point of sale, etc. This personalization strategy ensures real-time data is captured from these touchpoints and brought back to the platform to be appended to the consumer’s profile.
  2. Journey orchestration: Journeys should be simple in nature; think triggered events or a multi-pronged approach that unfolds over time based on consumer behaviors and preferences. Personalized customer journeys lead to growth in interactions, increasing the likelihood of purchases and conversions.
  3. Intelligent offers: Leveraging the power of machine learning and analytics to score content and determine not only the right offer but the best sequence of offers, time and optimal context and channel is something that can be greatly automated at scale. This can drive efficiency and efficacy. 

How to remain competitive

To remain competitive in today’s signal-saturated world, brands need to deliver relevant, personalized content throughout the customer journey. According to a new e-Consultancy report, in partnership with Cheetah Digital, entitled ‘2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index: Consumer Attitudes and Trends in Personalization, Privacy, Messaging, Advertising and Brand Loyalty’, consumers are rewarding brands that make personalization a priority. In fact, more than half of the respondents shared that they would trade personal and preference data to feel part of a brand’s community. 

Furthermore, real-time offers and content can be ten times more effective than traditional outbound marketing campaigns.

With all the “buzz”, Tim says the term personalization is getting thrown around a lot these days, especially with consumers being more aware of privacy than ever before. However, he isn’t convinced that brands are truly grasping the meaning of personalization. And Chris agrees.

“There’s definitely room to improve efforts,” Chris says. “Making things relevant is one thing, but true personalization is another journey altogether. There can be pockets of both, but they’re not the same thing. That’s where the gaps come — is it personalization, contextualized marketing, or journey planning? Many brands still have a long road ahead before they achieve true personalization.” 

Solving data dilemmas through personalization

Big organizations like PepsiCo have mountains of data, and it can be hard to find and make sense of it all. While the process improves as technology advances, Chris says, it’s still a struggle to secure insights. 

And he’s not alone. According to a CDP Institute member survey, 63% of marketers can’t assemble unified customer data. Even more, Gartner research reveals that 58% of marketers say integrating customer data is a major obstacle in their multi-channel strategy.

That’s a problem. With consumers empowered to engage with a brand whenever and however they want – and oftentimes, unpredictably – it’s critical for brands to understand them to build a personalized connection. Why? Because personalized connections lead to better outcomes like increased engagement, customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

The solution, however, is quite simple. Brands need to have a single, accessible view of the consumer. Customer data resides in systems like analytics, email, mobile, campaign management, point-of-sale and social – areas that weren’t designed to be integrated.

And while there’s certainly a lot of buzz around relationship marketing and personalization, it’s important for brands to cut through the noise, leverage technology and get to the heart of what truly matters – connecting with and delighting consumers. 

Listen to the full Cheetah Digital Thinking Caps podcast with Chris Muscutt, Head of MarTech at PepsiCo here


The views in this article are that of the author’s and do not represent the views of this publication.


About Cheetah Digital

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer. The Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite enables marketers to create personalized experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies, underpinned by an engagement data platform that can scale to meet the changing demands of today’s consumer. Many of the world’s best brands, including Starbucks, Hilton, Neiman Marcus, Levi’s, and Williams-Sonoma trust Cheetah Digital to help them drive revenue, build lasting customer relationships, and deliver a unique value exchange throughout the customer lifecycle. To learn more, visit