The advent of the Internet has radically transformed how we approach marketing. In the past, casting the widest net over a few age demographics was all you could really do. Today personalized marketing, or one-to-one marketing, has added a unique layer to the marketing field.

What is personalized marketing?

It’s the implementation of a strategy by which businesses create and distribute individualized content to consumers. This content is created specifically for them through the use of automation technology, data collection and analysis.

The outcomes that companies hope for with personalized marketing are to engage customers, or prospective customers, by reaching out to them on an individual level and establish a warm, hospitable rapport.

The function of personalized marketing is so new and unique that to say what it is requires a bit of explaining. To assist you in breaking down personalized marketing and extend a bit of clarity around the concept, we want to sketch out the challenges, advantages and frequently asked questions associated with the topic.

What Your Company Gains from Personalized Marketing

There are a number of benefits to personalized marketing, for both companies and their customers. When implemented successfully, the following personalized marketing advantages come to life:

1. Consistent Communication Across All Platforms

communicationCustomers interact with brands across multiple channels, whether through email, social media, mobile texting or in-person, sometimes all in the same day, supporting the notion that it is more important than ever for brands to adopt a consistent identity across all platforms. The same personalized customer support experience delivered in-person should match up with what consumers receive over the phone and through email correspondence. This includes the tone and style with which you market, across all forms of media.

2. Give Your Revenue a Bump

By realizing and reacting to each preferred channel for individual customers, companies optimize their return on investment. Using the right automation software, marketers can discover which platforms customers engage with most frequently, then subsequently respond across all marketing platforms in a unified approach to consumers.

3. Optimize Customer Relations

customer relationsWith reports of data leaks by major companies and some of the negative connotations associated with data collection agencies, customers are understandably reluctant to give out personal information to just any company. However, most customers are content providing personal details to brands that they trust when they receive something in return. They are perfectly willing to participate in surveys, fill out forms, join spending and discount programs, indicate their favorite purchases and give out their email address or phone number to receive alerts if they receive coupons, discounts, free offers, or helpful content in return.

Companies should respect this relationship. It’s absolutely critical, both ethically and for your brand’s reputation. With customers offering all kinds of personal data, it is your company’s responsibility to make them aware of how it’s being used, protecting it at all costs and delivering a more personalized experience when they return.

4. Maximize Loyalty to Your Brand

Consumers are more willing to grant your company access to their information and data when they are treated as unique individuals with specific tastes. By focusing your efforts on personalized marketing, you deliver an experience that makes your brand stand out to your customers. They see that recommendations are given to them that actually match up with their needs and interests, instilling the sense that your company values their preferences and legitimately takes them into account when considering them as customers. Companies that dedicate resources to implement successful personal marketing experiences will gain a competitive advantage in both consumer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Challenges Facing Personalized Marketing Strategies

As with any new marketing strategy, certain challenges arise that make implementing and sticking with it difficult. Let’s examine some common struggles with personalized marketing:

1. Finding the Right Software for Your Brand

softwareA major hurdle facing personalized marketing is outdated software that is not capable of fitting mobile marketing trends. A primary element that will dictate the success of your campaign is data collection and marketing automation, two factors that come from programs featuring fine-tooled algorithms able to process this type of data and present it in a manner that can be analyzed and used. Many marketers struggle to discover a smart personalization engine that meets their marketing needs. These engines tailor product recommendations, automate content matching, allow for easy content configuration and unify marketing across platforms. A successful campaign needs the right software to maximize return on investment.

2. Where to Find the Time and Resources

The right automation and personalization software will do wonders for your campaign. But without a dedicated marketing team analyzing data, making adjustments and executing your strategies the campaign will fall short. Personalized marketing requires personnel ready to dedicate time and resources towards its success.

3. Implementing a Single Consumer View

single customerGoing back to personalized marketing benefits, seeking out and establishing a common voice across multiple channels gives marketers the ability to establish a better idea of who customers are by piecing together data into a single unified customer profile. Unfortunately, marketers have long struggled with linking individual customer profiles and data. Make sure your staff receives proper training in personalized marketing materials and aren’t just handed the software and told to run with it. A little bit of education will go a long way in creating a successful campaign.

4. A Path Towards Smart Segmentation

Personalized marketing gives marketers the opportunity to put away the megaphone, get off the street corner and walk into a room full of an audience already interested in hearing what they have to say. The problem is that many marketers don’t know how to build that type of pre-engaged audience.

That’s where smart segmentation comes in.

Smart segmentation is a strategy of targeting your audience with a laser-focus and high degree of relevancy. This strategy is of course more cost-effective and efficient. But many marketers struggle with these strategies, with 85% of brands agreeing that their segmentation strategy is based on large clusters of audiences and simple methods. Utilizing identity resolution tactics, tying first, second, third part and contextual data back to real people in a profile, is key to making strides.

How to Develop a Winning Personalized Marketing Strategy

We’ve established that personalized marketing is pivotal in today’s mobile-based marketing world. We’ve also seen that it’s not easy. To create a successful personalized marketing strategy, we need to think about the following:

1. Compare And Contrast Content Personalization Engines

compareIf your business is not already using any type of content personalization engine, you will want to address this first. Look around for different options and try to cater it towards your company’s needs. If you are already making use of a personalization engine, never fall to complacency. The technology is relatively new and advances are constantly being made. Feel comfortable shopping around and comparing your existing platform against other offerings that claim to deliver greater efficiency and return on investment.

2. Gather Your Data

A positive to personalized marketing software implementation is that these types of solutions are relatively simple to get a hang of, typically requiring a few lines of code embedded on your web pages. Once this code has been implemented on your site, you can finally begin capturing data. This will include clicks, time spent on your site, purchase history for customers based on IP address and cookies, shopping carts with abandoned items and more.

3. Analyze Your Findings

analyticsSynchronizing your data and analytical capabilities and developing a dynamic website based on these concepts will attain the greatest marketing value and efficiency for your organization. In a relatively short amount of time, usually just a few short weeks, your personalization methods should be able to return relevant content recommendations to your consumers. From there, you can run an A/B test to validate the performance of your system versus a control variable to ensure everything is running up to speed.

4. Taking Action

Data and subsequent analysis will inform your marketing decisions, but ultimately you must rely on the software to do the bulk of the work. Within the software, you will get to experiment with various calculation methods. These will include things like new promotions and out of stock products. Find a method, stick with it for a long enough time to gain a relevant sample size of data and then adjust your program incrementally to fit your analysis.

Types of Personalized Marketing Campaigns

At this point, your average customer is expecting a personalized campaign from your brand. They are so ubiquitous across industries that you are left in the dark ages without one. Let’s cover a few examples of personalized campaigns that can fit your company’s revenue model.

1. Product Recommendations

This strategy is pretty commonly used for a simple reason – it’s successful. This kind of strategy employs data collection to decide what type of product, service or offer campaigns a user is mostly likely to be interested in and tailors the recommendation to meet their needs.

An easy example of product recommendation is when you visit a website that sells appliances. If the last five items you clicked on were microwaves, it wouldn’t make much sense to recommend a refrigerator. The campaign notes what a customer looks at and how much time they spend, then sends an email recommending a similar product based on their behavior. It also allows customers to rate these campaigns and provide feedback at the conclusion of their experience by asking a simple survey question, such as “Were you interested this recommendation?” This adds an additional layer by allowing customers to filter out content they don’t like and make the strategy more efficient.

2. Targeted Emails

targeted emailsMarketing personalization is breathing new life into email campaigns. Using this tactic, marketers are able to create and send personalized email content to specific groups with certain needs.

Understanding your consumer is vital to strengthening the relevancy of your email content. One method for gathering customer data is by distributing sign-up forms. Your customers fill out a simple questionnaire with details about themselves, from location and gender to products of yours that they particularly like or dislike. An online movie retailer might ask in the questionnaire if you have children, then send emails to customers with children offering children’s animated films. It’s a simple tactic with proven success.

3. The Fear Of Missing Out Campaign

Ahh, FOMO. A widely used strategy is based around a simple fear. Customers are always seeking out new information about products and pricing, and they get an uneasy feeling when they think they are about to miss out on something they need or think is special.

The way this strategy works is by displaying number-of-customers-viewing messages. E-commerce sites incorporate these devices to promote making a purchase before leaving the site. For example, a hotel booking site makes use of this strategy by displaying on a given hotel room how many rooms are left, typically in red font with an exclamation point to drive home the urgency. They might also create a very simple code to note when there are under three rooms remaining but more than three users are viewing the room. This code will then display something along the lines of, “Three rooms left… five customers currently viewing similar room!” This low-effort maneuver encourages the user to act right away or else lose out on the deal to another customer.

4. Social Media Marketing

social media marketingSocial media typically comes equipped with all of the data collection tools a marketer needs to personalize and deliver a message. Content management platforms exist to create and automate highly-personalized content and videos through social media channels to drive conversions.

These strategies, and many more like them, can do wonders for your marketing campaign. For further questions on how to implement an effective personalized marketing strategy, vidREACH is here to address your needs and provide direction on your personalized marketing campaigns.