Why The Future of Marketing is Personal


Marketers know that personalization is the key to delivering a great user experience – regardless of what industry you’re in. According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. McKinsey and Associates also found that  personalization reduces the cost of customer acquisition by as much as 50% - and raises revenues by as much as 15%. So not only do your customers benefit from a better experience – but your company benefits as well.

As Julio Viskovich of rFactr puts it, personalization “of marketing activities is not only possible, but is rapidly becoming a requirement in order to stay up with evolving consumer trends.”

This article will walk you through some of the biggest personalized marketing trends, how AI is used in personalized marketing, why website personalization matters, and how account-based marketing can help with your personalization efforts.

Personalized marketing trends

You might think that you can only personalize your marketing for customers who have already purchased from you or engaged with your brand – but that isn’t the case.

AB Tasty’s Rebecca Hey recommends personalization based on audience segmentation . She offers examples such as demographics, geographic information, weather, season, holidays, time, device, where they are in the buying cycle, and their current brand engagement. She also shares some ways that users can implement website personalization in 2020 including website pop-ups and content adaptation like images and the order of product listings.

Viskovich offers another example of personalized marketing used at a shopping complex in London which may quickly be adopted by others.

“The complex now has cameras in and around the mall which use facial recognition technology to determine the age, sex, and even the mood of the shoppers as they move through the buildings. Based on what the system learns, it can then display different ads on the various digital billboards around the mall in order to maximize consumer response.”

Matthew Baier of ContentStack predicts a different type of personalized marketing trend using data collected by IoT devices.

“IoT applications in the home can already communicate with their surroundings to control temperature, lighting, and other smart devices. Over time, the data gathered through these products can provide a deeper understanding of the customer and their preferences.”

Supporting the other experts, Brent Heslop of ContentStack shared in 2019 that “by 2020, half of consumers will expect brands to anticipate their needs and reach out with relevant suggestions – before the shopper even makes first contact.” He goes on to say that personalized marketing and custom content are no longer “nice to haves” – they are musts.

By personalizing websites in real-time based on consumer information or interactions, businesses are harnessing the power of AI to capitalize on personalized marketing trends.

What are the uses for artificial intelligence (AI) in personalized marketing?

Colin Peter O’Riordan of Brandwith says that implementing artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to spearhead personalization and ensure the delivery of an effective brand experience.”

AI is bringing brands closer to 1:1 marketing at scale, according to Julia Stead of Invoca . Stead goes on to explain that AI is a way for businesses to overcome the challenges of having “too much data and too few ways to take action on it” that have prevented personalization from becoming more widely adapted.

David Brutman of Folloze agrees with Stead, especially when it comes to B2B Marketing .

AI provides marketers with deeper and richer context around their customers’ intend and interests so they can better engage with them – leading to better relationships and stronger ROI,” Brutman said.

Many experts make it clear that AI unlocks many more options for personalized marketing – but getting started with AI is tricky.

When getting started with AI, Brutman recommends aligning the “right data and Machine Learning tools, coupled with the right business and marketing goals.”

O’Riordan recommends thinking of AI as a way to bring about “Predictive Personalization. This means profiling tools and data analysis adapt the content in real-time, which helps optimize every single conversion. It allows more detailed and refined personalization, driven by Machine Learning.”

Why website personalization matters

Website personalization matters because it serves as a way to give “your prospects and customers exactly what they need when they need it” which gives businesses a serious competitive advantage, says Kyle McCarthy from Act-On.

Colin Peter O’Riordan also recommends making product or service recommendations in real-time .

“For example, when browsing Netflix, you will see a ‘recommended for you’ section. This takes into account the types of movies you watched previously and by analyzing your viewing trends, it recommends similar movie titles. By asking the viewer to rate each movie they watch, Netflix can receive valuable feedback that will help them with future suggestions also.”

Pratik Dholakiya from Small Business Trends shares three ways to personalize your website for new customers – even if you haven’t collected any data about them yet,

  • by location
  • by traffic source
  • content personalization as they browse

Content personalization, Dholakiya says,

“is the simplest form of personal attention you can provide to your website visitors. Based on what content or products they’ve already viewed, you can make recommendations to the users as to what they should view next. This will keep them glued to your website and so, the chances of them taking a desirable action (a conversion) increases.”

Rebecca Hey expands upon this idea further by stating that website personalization tactics in 2020 are useful “for improving customer engagement, encouraging brand loyalty, increasing conversion rates, and upping the order value.”

Personalization tactics often sound expensive. However, as Dholakiya mentioned in the various types of trends – it doesn’t have to be. Location-based, content-based, or traffic-source based customizations “are relatively quick and easy to implement. You don’t need to hire a developer or spend big bucks to start personalizing your website.”

Because the barrier of entry to utilizing AI and custom content is decreasing, many companies are taking advantage of it from B2C to B2B. One way B2B companies are harnessing the power of personalization is through account-based marketing.

What is account-based marketing (ABM)?

Megan Golden of LinkedIn explains account-based marketing (ABM) as “a strategy that directs marketing resources to engaging a specific set of target accounts. ABM doesn’t just call for alignment between sales and marketing teams – it forces teams to align because personalization at the account level requires sales and marketing to be in sync on account-specific messaging. The motivation? Higher revenues in a shorter time frame.”

Brutman says that AI is especially critical for ABM.

“AI holds a lot of promise and is certainly yielding impressive benefits for those who have already adopted, but we are still fairly early in the journey and there is much exploration yet to be done. Marketers should take advantage of the opportunity to leverage AI for personalization and ABM now, however – and in order to ensure ROI and the success of the technology, implement AI programs toward specific business goals.”

Marketo’s Brian Glover explains the appeal of ABM for B2B marketers stems from the fact that “B2B marketers are driving bigger deals, higher close rates, and more revenue” from the tactic. This growth is allowing them to “dedicate more budget to their ABM programs” and thus “upgrading their marketing technology stacks to help operationalize and optimize their efforts.”

Regardless of customer (B2B or B2C), industry, product, or service – marketers are incorporating an increasing amount of personalization into their marketing efforts in order to bring in more sales more quickly than ever before. Moving into the future, the experts agree that these trends will only continue.

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