How Marketers Can Reach Peak Personalization in 2019

February 13, 2019 kniemisto

“Basic” is a bad word. OK, maybe that’s a stretch. But it’s certainly not an inspiring word.

If basic is all we aim for, we fail as marketers. That’s especially true when it comes to personalization.

Addressing an email to an individual, sending a prospect industry-specific content, and inserting a lead’s first name and company logo into a retargeting ad is the bare minimum. It’s what everybody does. It’s basic.

Today’s marketers must go the extra mile and shoot for peak personalization. You need to understand your customers and prospects intimately. When they receive one of your custom-tailored communications, they should think, Wow, that company really does listen to me. It cares. Only then can you truly wow your audience and maximize campaign performance.

Marketing automation systems enable you to take personalization from basic to brilliant. Here are a few ways it can help:

Creating a foolproof data strategy

Data makes personalization possible. It’s the blood running through marketing’s veins. If you don’t have a data strategy in place, you need to create one—now.

As a marketer, disregarding data in 2019 is like dismissing the internet as a fad in 1995. You’ve been connecting with customers through print ads for years. There’s no way this email thing takes off, right?

Wrong.

Marketing automation systems allow your company to mine essential prospect and customer data so you can personalize your communications and build better relationships. They allow you to collect diverse information—from birthdays to brand interactions to transaction histories—and use it to your advantage.

But they’re much more than data-gathering tools. With automated marketing systems, you can organize prospect and customer information in a centralized hub, enabling you to easily search for key data points. And by sharing access to this insight, your entire company can begin engaging people in more personal, meaningful ways.

Sending segmentation into the stratosphere

Once you have a data strategy in place, you need to think about segmentation.

You might be familiar with simple segmentation: grouping customers based on similar characteristics, like job title, industry, and company type, and personalizing communications to them.

That’s a great first step. But again, it’s basic. You need to go beyond basic and shoot for the moon. And one way to do that is through AI.

Leveraging innovative AI technology in your marketing automation system empowers you to create microsegments. Rather than targeting dozens of CFOs at large private construction companies, you can narrow your focus on the three executives who:

  • Manage finances for privately held organizations with more than 1,000 employees
  • Have been involved in an active opportunity over the past 12 months
  • Live within a 100-mile radius of your upcoming event

This will help you develop captivating content tailored to your prospects’ needs to convince them to attend your VIP lunch-and-learn session. And if you later decide to open up your event to finance managers, you can send alternate messaging that appeals to those specific professionals.

AI gives you the sophistication to test near-infinite possibilities so you can create valuable microsegments and deliver the perfect personalized marketing experience to each and every person you engage with.

Getting in tune with your customers and colleagues

Marketing is all about building relationships. Think of it like making a new friend at the gym.

Every day, you attend the same Pilates class. At first, you casually exchange polite nods and smiles with a classmate. Those interactions soon segue into small talk about the weather. At some point, you make a deeper connection and begin discussing more personal things, like your job and family.

You eventually get to know your classmate well. You remember hearing them talk about how much they love playing games and solving puzzles, so you invite them to an escape room outing.

This is precisely the idea behind personalized marketing. You take the time to learn about your prospects and customers and their interests. You then use the information they share with you to bring value to your communications and create a tighter bond with your audience.

But it isn’t enough for only your marketing department to do this. For your business to provide exceptional personalized customer experiences, your entire company—including sales and customer service—needs to be on the same page.

An automated marketing system can help make sure all your organization’s departments operate in harmony. It allows you to log customer interactions in a centralized location, improve cross-functional communication and collaboration, and avoid stepping on one another’s toes.

If sales already sold an item to a customer, marketing knows it no longer needs to push that product to them. And marketing will never mistarget a product in a series of digital ads, because sales is always aware of the exact product the prospect is considering.

It’s like your classmate at the gym. If you tell your other workout buddies about your new friend’s love of riddles, your whole crew will know they can count on your new pal coming the next time they plan an escape room adventure.

Arriving at the pinnacle of personalization

Elevating your marketing personalization efforts beyond the basics is easier than many people think. As I see it, there are four ways to make it happen:

  • Listen: Leverage your data strategy to prioritize gathering the right information necessary to create a wonderful experience for your customers and prospects.
  • Analyze: Don’t just collect—inspect. And make sure you have the tools you need to turn your data into actionable insight.
  • Learn: Adjust based on what your data tells you. This could mean making small changes, like refining segmentation, or broader ones, like integrating customer-facing teams.
  • Predict: Start anticipating what kind of content and messaging would resonate most with your audience. AI can act as a powerful ally in helping you increase intelligent decision making.

By placing a marketing automation system at the foundation of your personalization efforts, you’ll be well on your way to enhancing customer experiences and achieving exceptional results in no time.

The post How Marketers Can Reach Peak Personalization in 2019 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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