Move Over Generic Content: Personalization is the New King


We all know that customers respond better to messages that are targeted directly to their needs and preferences. However, technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have helped marketers take their campaigns to new levels, providing insights and customizations that are unprecedented.

By using these new technologies, marketers are able to better harness the power of personalization and audience targeting in their campaigns - which improves performance and ROI tremendously. This article will walk you through the options you have for creating personalized campaigns, examples of personalization, leveraging data, types of targeting, and
how to develop overall a personalized campaign.

What can be personalized in marketing?

The truth is – almost anything can be personalized in marketing and the capabilities of personalization are expanding daily. Online, shopping feeds, recommended products, similar products, abandoned shopping cart emails, content and deals and offers can be customized to the individual.

Shane Barker of Curatti highlights some important stats about personalized marketing campaigns. Barker cites that,

“according to findings by Barilliance, personalized product recommendations account for 12% of total revenue. They increase conversion rates and bring higher engagement and loyalty.”

Additionally, Barker points out that,

“people open nearly 50% of all abandoned cart emails and over a third of clicks lead to purchases.”

These stats show how some of the most common personalized marketing techniques that brands are implementing today are making a real impact on total sales and revenue.

Examples of personalization done right.

Blake Morgan of Forbes brings up a good example of personalized marketing that Levi’s has launched to help potential customers find the perfect pair of jeans. Morgan says that,

“Virtual Stylist uses natural language processing to find out what each customer is looking for in a pair of jeans. The bot learns about each customer’s lifestyle and fit preferences.”

After that information is synthesized, the bot will recommend a pair of jeans.

Barker also pointed out how cosmetic brand Maybelline used consumer search data to gain insight on their customers’ needs. Maybelline found that many customers were searching for “how tos” on various popular make-up techniques, like contouring. In response, Maybelline created a series of “how to” YouTube videos showcasing the usage of their various products.
The campaign has increased sales for the company, and helped Maybelline connect with more than 9 million people.

But personalization doesn’t only apply to B2C companies – it is useful in the B2B space as well.

Dennis Shiao from Content Marketing Institute shared an example from Corporate Visions, which is a marketing messaging and sales skills training company. In the personalization test, the company sent out 4 versions of an email that had customized information based on their industry, their specific company, their individual personal details and the industry they worked in, or personal details about them and the company they worked for.

What the study found was that while the personal-and-company version of the email had higher open rates,

“the industry-only emails had higher clicks and scheduled meetings.”

While that may seem surprising at first glance, Shiao points out that,

“while it’s easy to insert a prospect’s first name or company name into an email subject line, it takes more work to research and share insights specific to a prospect’s industry.”

How to leverage data to effectively identify new audiences.

As in the Maybelline example that Barker mentioned, you can find new audiences by figuring out what prospective customers are searching for on YouTube or other search engines like Google or Bing.

Stephanie Mialki from Instapage points out that you can use any data that you are collecting about your customers and prospective customers in order to build new audiences and segments. She says that,

“the better data you collect, the more segmentation you can add, and
the more personalized you can make your offers.”

Why is segmentation important?

Segmentation is important because your customers expect to be treated like individuals – not like dollars. Segmentation is a way to create a personalized experience. As Mialki said,

"the more segmented you can be with your audience, the more personalized you can make your offers and messaging."

Mialki adds that personalization “ensures that the right eyes are seeing [your marketing], and as a result, these people will be much more likely to purchase.”

Mialki also points about that segmentation is important because there is no “one-size-fits-all solution when marketing to [your audience.]” She explains that personalized marketing campaigns work to increase ROI and decrease the likelihood of failure.

“Harvard Business found that 85% of 30,000 new product launches in the US failed to generate desired revenue due to poor market segmentation.”

Segmentation increases the likelihood of the success of your campaigns, increases your ROI, and helps your ideal customer respond better to your marketing message. It is vital to the success of your marketing campaign.

How can you use geo-location targeting?

Jordan Crawford from Scout offers a different perspective on geo-location targeting such as using information on homes. He recommends using data about prospective customer’s homes to target them. He adds,

“before ever talking with a resident, you can figure out pretty much everything you might want to know about their home…. When the house was built, what year it was last purchased, the square footage and lot size, the market valuation, what significant repairs or renovations have been made, and the list goes on.”

Depending on your product or service, there are a lot of ways you can use geo-location or geographic data in order to customize your campaign.

How can you adjust your marketing based on user behavior – such as behavior while navigating your website?

Most e-commerce websites have the ability to show you products you’ve previously browsed or purchased, similar items to those, and items related to those. However, Megan Wenzl takes the website customization approach further.

For example, Wenzl recommends that if you have a customer who returned an item because they realized they did not need it, you could “consider hiding similar products when the customer visits your website, or remove the product from their recommendations. Not only does this ensure that the individual isn’t flooded with irrelevant information every time they browse your website, it also shows them that you’ve paid attention to their feedback and adjusted your content to suit their needs and expectations.”

The way that you can adjust your marketing based on user behavior and information is by leveraging marketing automation. This technology allows you to send more personalized messages and campaigns by leveraging customer data.

Finally, how do you develop a complete personalized marketing campaign?

Stephanie Mialki from Instapage has a lot of insights to share when it comes to how to build out personalized campaigns. She says,

“there are 6 main components that advertisers and marketers must consider in their strategy.”

Those components are data, the offer, the messaging, the channels, the timing, and testing.

The first step to creating a personalized campaign is to determine what data you have and how you can best utilize it to create the campaign. This data could be literally anything and will vary a lot depending on your business. You might have shopping or browsing history, demographic information, company information (B2B), or other types of information. Bill Schneider from SheerID refers to this as finding your consumer tribes.

“Map your core buyer’s demographics and interests to a consumer tribe… When your brand values align closely with the tribe’s, you’ll be successful in creating an emotional connection that drives loyalty.”

The next step will be to take the data you have and construct an offer that makes the most sense for that audience. For example, you could start with demographic information, and then layer in additional criteria based on who has shown interest around certain products, and even when they tend to purchase.

Schneider also recommends putting “an identity marketing platform in place to verify eligibility so that only consumers who are truly eligible can redeem it. This ensures the integrity of the offer, which makes it more valuable to consumers. And it prevents discount abuse, which protects your margins.”

Once you have the data and the offer figured out, the rest is pretty similar to building any other campaign. You’ll select your messaging (aligning it with your target audience), decide which channels you want to use for the campaign, determine the best time to send, and continue testing copy, offers, and timing in order to maximize your results.

This article has highlighted the importance of taking a more personalized approach to your marketing as well as steps you can take to begin creating your own personalized campaigns. If you want to boost the number of sales and the ROI of your marketing campaigns, implement personalization into your marketing efforts.

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