Hello, <first_name>, how are you today? If receiving an email with this intro gives you the hives, it’s likely that you’ve been taking a foray into personalization. Arguably the hottest trend in marketing beyond augmented reality, personalization goes far beyond providing a customized intro tagged with a first name or title. Marketers are building personas and leveraging Big Data in ways that wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago, but how can you tell that your business is ready to take the plunge (without making an infernal mess that gets you called into the CMO’s office?!?) Here’s 5 signs that your brand should be using personalization.
1. You offer a variety of products or services.
Personalization may not be quite as important if you have a one-size-fits-all product or service, but if you offer a variety then it’s mission-critical. When you use personalization, you’re not hitting your best customers with messages that turn them off and cause them to (gasp!) unsubscribe or tune you out. Instead, you’re providing engaging content that feels like it fits their needs — and your brand becomes a trusted advisor instead of an annoyance.
2. You have a lot of competitors.
Differentiating your brand, especially in the commodities industry, is a cut-throat business. When you’re pushing and shoving your way to the top, don’t forget about the subtlety that personalization can offer. Far beyond simply adding a name to an email intro, personalization can cross websites, emails, mobile and even in-store experiences. When you offer a better customer experience than your competitors, you win! (SCORE!)
3. You want to grow your social media presence.
You need great content and personalization in order to be truly successful on social media. This includes everything from creating dozens of ads that will appeal to various audience segments to creating posts that will appeal to individuals at a specific stage of life. Personalization can extend beyond advertising on social media, and into having your brand become a personality. This type of “personalization” is important for consumers, who are used to being able to interact with other humans. Personalizing your brand in this way can turn a solid advocate into a raving evangelist — all with a few positive interactions with your brand.
4. You’re upgrading your technology.
Still running machines that feel like they’re on UNIX? (Does anyone even remember UNIX? It was bad.) If so, you’re probably not a great candidate for personalization. However, if you’ve convinced your CTO that some upgrades are in order, there are plenty of new personalization tools that integrate between customer relationship management (CRM), website content management systems (CMS) and marketing automation platforms. Upgrading all three of these platforms is a massive undertaking, but the resulting ability to micro-target customers based on their needs and predicting future behaviors can be beyond your wildest dreams.
5. Your MarTech game is strong.
If you have marketing ninjas who understand how to persuade technology teams to take the next step in personalization, leverage that talent! Empowering MarTech professionals within your organization allows you to bridge the gap between the two groups, and the results can truly be beautiful: data that empowers your marketers and personas that embody and predict the needs of your customers. Digital marketers are truly a new breed of animal, and have one eye constantly roving their analytics while the other is watching their competitors and looking for tactics to “borrow”. MarTech professionals help marketers understand the possibilities and guide implementation within the business.