Personalization is a vital part of digital marketing strategies in 2020, with all signs pointing towards it becoming only more important in the future. Personalization lets brands and businesses connect with potential clients in a way that creates more interaction and a stronger relationship, with the aim of developing long term custom.
In its most basic definition, personalized marketing is the strategy of delivering sales messaging to potential customers. These messages have been specifically tailored to the recipient based on criteria set by data collected about them online.
The aim of delivering content like this is to engage customers more directly, with the information they are actually interested in.
Over recent years, the exponential growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) has connected people with the internet in ways previously never imagined. This hyper connectivity also provides a huge amount of data that personalized marketing messages can be based on.
It’s vital to remember that since the introduction of GDPR, there are regulations on the way data is collected. These must be followed extremely tightly to not break the law.
Below, we cover some of the primary ways messaging can be tailored to potential clients. Read on to see how they could help improve your customers’ experiences.
Potentially the most widely used form of personalization. With demographic information such as a customer’s occupation, salary, age, and gender, messages can be built to target their interests.
Work must go into identifying your business’s target market and understanding their demographics. With this information, you can create messaging that will speak more directly to them, thus increasing the chance of interaction.
Across the majority of industries, it’s possible to deliver tailored content to customers that is segmented by demographic information. One of the most common forms of this is with email marketing, with dynamic content that will adapt to the receiver’s preferences.
Behavioral personalization is based on the actions a customer takes, instead of ‘who they are’. Below are some examples of how this can be implemented.
Past activity recommendations
You have most likely seen this fairly regularly when browsing the internet and doing some online shopping. Essentially product recommendations are made to a consumer based on previous actions. If a website is part of a wider network, they can base their recommendations from data from other sites, a customer doesn’t have to have interacted with the targeting website.
Recommendations from similar consumers
This is done extremely well by Amazon, essentially by understanding what similar consumers have looked at or purchased, they can serve new products to a prospective customer.
Customer journey placement
This follows a slightly different angle to the previous two recommendations. Messaging is tailored depending on where a consumer is in the sales funnel. This creates a higher level of interaction by targeting messages depending on the information a person is looking for. For example, if a person is in the awareness stage, they might be sent a product comparison guide focused around their previous activity.
This type of marketing personalization focuses on catering to prospective customers at each specific step of their journey, aiming to move them from one stage to the next.
Nowadays, it’s common for customers, particularly B2B buyers, to carry out two or three rounds of internet research before deciding on a solution. With customers looking for more and more specific information in each enquiry, having tailored and readily available content is becoming increasingly important for B2B marketers to provide in order to win over prospects.
This is where stage-based marketing is most useful. This form of personalization encourages lead nurturing, with marketers able to gradually send out content, measure the response of customers and adjust their communications accordingly.
As customers move through the sales funnel, they are looking for different information at each step. For new customers who are searching for your services for the first time, providing light, educational and, crucially, non-intrusive content will be the most effective way of catching their interest. After this, prospects require more specific details focusing on the advantages of your product over competitors. Customers at the final stages then need to be sold on your brand, which means sending out white papers and more in-depth guides on implementation and the value of your services in order to stand out from competitors.
Providing stage-specific content ensures marketers address the needs of every customer – from those right at the top of the funnel, to those about to close – which can maximize the chances of successful conversions in the long run.
This is a nuanced form of personalization. The messaging is capable of adapting depending on factors such as physical location, the weather and even the time.
Examples of this being implemented could be if a person visits a cold climate, they might be sent recommendations for the best portable room heater in the area. Or perhaps if a person is about to drive a long way during rush hour, a music app like Spotify might suggest a drive-time playlist.
This is a big trend in B2B marketing. By identifying which accounts should be targeted, it’s possible to tailor marketing materials to maximize the chances of winning business. The thought behind ABM is that it reduces the time and effort that is used up trying to cast a wide net when looking for customers. Instead, more energy can be spent targeting a specific list of prospects – helping to generate leads in the short-term whilst increasing revenue in the long-term.
Deciding which accounts to target comes down to the goals of your business as well as your prospective customers’. On the most basic level, you want to target accounts that offer the highest opportunity alongside the highest value.
For example, if your company offers an expensive customer-service software designed to work across multiple channels with a lot of integrated features, then you should be targeting larger companies rather than start-ups who don’t yet require such a complicated package. On the other hand, if you offer a fairly basic-but-scalable software package, then targeting SMEs is the way forward.
Account-based marketing is a fine line. It relies on building up strong relationships with key stakeholders in your target accounts in order to drive a sale, but without being intrusive. Automated emailing can help in this case. Small batches of personalized emails can be sent to a selection of targets, focussing on the known concerns of each contact.
If you’re in the position to be reaching out to prospects who have already shown good engagement with your content, it’s possible to be even more specific by using direct mail to engage customers with bespoke messages and offers that are tailored to their exact business needs.
Social media can also be leveraged to your advantage. By monitoring the social accounts of the decision makers in your chosen companies, it’s possible to gain an understanding of which content appeals to them. It’s then a case of tactfully using this information to establish a connection.
This form of personalization is perhaps the most sophisticated of the examples given here. By utilizing machine learning alongside principles within psychology, it’s possible to develop and deliver content specifically designed for a customer’s personality. This approach lets marketers understand customer behavior in a way that hasn’t been done before, with insights on how a customer could react moving forwards. This approach is still very much in its early days but even so, it’s evident that this approach can have a big impact on sales figures.
Personalized experiences are only going to get more and more vital as part of marketing strategy. Understanding how the above four tactics can play a part within your marketing processes is vital to developing a sustainable approach for the future.
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