It’s harder than ever to get people to tune into marketing messages. From ad blockers to simply muting posts on their social media timelines, customers are exercising more control over which messages get through.
Is personalized marketing the answer for brands? With 78.6% of consumers stating that they won’t even consider using promotional offers that aren’t tied to past behaviors, it’s definitely worth considering.
Here’s what you should know about the future of personalized marketing.
What is personalized marketing?
Personalized marketing, also known as "one-on-one marketing" or “persona marketing,” seeks to target the individual with your message. It uses technology and data analysis to customize ads and messaging to each unique user and is considered the future of emai
l and other platform marketing. Of all targeted marketing strategies, it’s designed to be the most precise.
This is clearly a marked change from the past, when marketing campaign audiences were broad because our methods of targeting them were a blunt instrument. Examples are a billboard campaign or a TV ad that gets put in front of a large audience with the goal that the right people see it. Personalized marketing changes all that.
Benefits of personalization in marketing
Personalized marketing can be expensive because it requires the continuous capture of data, analytics, and updates to campaigns. You may also have to invest in your own education for these techniques, or pay to hire or train employees. Despite its initial investment, though, personalized marketing can really deliver.
1. More targeted ad spends
It’s easy to get frustrated when you invest in broad marketing campaigns only to see lackluster results. With personalized marketing, your dollars go to messaging that’s customized to each customer, with the opportunity for a better ROI. Even in markets where pay-per-click rates are high, personalized marketing is shown to move the needle.
2. Higher open, engagement, and conversion rates
In email marketing, specifically, the reward for tailoring your message to an individual has demonstrable benefits. Your emails will stand out from all the other emails in your customer’s inbox when you use shopping cart info, past purchases, browsing history, and customer survey results to customize those emails. For companies who use data to customize calls to action (CTAs), the conversion rate improves, too, with the potential for a 202% increase
in purchases over generic CTAs.
3. Potentially better ROI
No technology is perfect, and it may take time for your business to find its way in a sea of endless analytics tools, marketing solutions, and best practices. Once you get your bearings, however, personalized marketing has a unique cost/benefit.
Imagine a world where you no longer show ads to large demographic markets such as “males ages 24 to 65 in the U.S.” but instead choose “men who have purchased shaving products and enjoy outdoor sports.” This type of targeting leads to your ads landing in front of more people who actually care about them; and that can lead to a bigger bang from your marketing buck.
4. Improved customer experience
Customers are experiencing personalized marketing beyond ecommerce platforms. In particular, streaming entertainment has proven this tactic’s usefulness. Netflix’s recommendation engine drives 75% of what people watch on the platform
, which shows that consumers aren't just open to getting advice on what to do next, but they actually crave it.
By using personalized marketing to help consumers shop smarter and according to their unique interests, you can build a connection and reduce the opportunities for buyer's remorse. For the efficient buyer, those who want to get in and get out of a shopping session, customization meets their need for a stress-free and highly focused buy.
5. Consistent brand messaging across all channels
Personalized marketing uses tech to ensure consistent offers and CTAs, no matter where your audience sees you. Brands are everywhere these days, from social media to your favorite movies and TV shows. The strategists who run Facebook accounts are often different from those handling Google Ads. With personalized marketing, you can ensure that you’re all on the same page while communicating timely and relevant ads no matter where your shopper finds you.
How to personalize marketing
1. Collect as much data as you can
More data is better for personalization in advertising. It’s important to follow the legalities of how you collect it
, but once you have the data, you can continue to refine your campaigns based on what you receive.
2. Secure your data and protect customer info
The more data you collect, the bigger your responsibility to keep data safe. Be sure to use the most secure analytics and reporting tools because hacks can leave your customers vulnerable
– and angry. Most major marketing tools have safeguards in place, but don’t hesitate to ask them what they are doing to ensure the privacy of your customers.
3. Analyze data in a way that makes sense
You can automatically collect and store data that you won’t need right away, so don’t feel like you have to analyze every bit of info you obtain immediately. After you identify your marketing goals, figure out what data will be best used to get you there.
Feel free to leave extra data aside for now and only spend resources analyzing the data that gets you from point A to point B. If it’s not relevant to your industry or brand, don’t force it into your reporting plan.
4. Allow automation to do the work
The beauty of analytics tools is that they can happen while you sleep. Put as much as you can on autopilot, and only tweak things in the beginning. Then, adjust for the learning curve. Once you have a plan in place, adjust for seasonal events and tech advancements, or to meet new product or service offerings.
5. Keep an eye on trends
Where were you when Twitter added “Fleets?” Does it even matter to your overall marketing plan? As social media, email, and shopping channels add new gimmicks, you’ll need to determine if these trends are right for your business and if their data is even useful to you.
Don’t jump too early on developing fads. Wait until the tech support and automation is there to give you valuable insights without adding more to your workload.
Examples of successful personalized marketing
It’s possible to use the following targeted marketing techniques across any and all platforms, but here are the ways businesses are using them best.
1. Targeted emails
Amazon has already shown what can be done using emails alerting shoppers to products they may want to purchase. Other retailers have used search and browser history to recommend additional purchases, often at a discount or bundled together for maximum savings.
Even a simple but personalized “you’ve left this behind” message can push customers to return to an abandoned cart and finish a purchase.
2. Personalized shopping recommendations
Why wait until a customer checks their inbox to help them buy the next best thing? The same tech that tells you what music you may like to listen to on Spotify is helping retailers give recommendations on what books to buy and which groceries would work for a common recipe combination.
Most of us are expecting, or even hoping for, messages like; “Customers who purchased this also liked these.”
3. Social media marketing ads
Customized ads can lead to conversions. When a user engages with a brand on Instagram, for example, that action may be the catalyst for showing them ads by the same company or similar competitors. You can create these ads from pixels on your website and show them to shoppers who clicked on product pages and therefore may be primed to buy.
4. Customized videos
It takes resources to do video marketing well, but when you do it with an individual customer in mind, the results are impressive. From custom animations to whiteboards featuring a superimposed customer’s name, there are many ways to make each shopper feel like the most important person in the room. This approach isn’t as automated as some personalized promotion techniques, but its impact may be significant.
Personalized marketing can be a source of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) for businesses, especially with all the new tools and reporting platforms popping up all the time. To make sure you’re not left wondering which you should try, look at the ROI for the tools you use now to see if you’re on track. If those numbers look good, then you know that your efforts are working – and that you can likely hold off on those shiny new platforms.
Also, make sure you’re listening to your customers in non-automated ways, too, such as through customer service channels and feedback tools. These can often tell you if you’re succeeding in a way that data just can’t convey.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech@Work. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.