Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Future of Marketing and How to Get There Faster: Personalization Matters

Years ago Amazon’s recommendation engine started something; their ability to personalize content changed the mindset of buyers everywhere. I see a future of blending personalization models like Amazons with social channels which will offer brands opportunities to learn more about prospects than ever before.

As marketers we live in a time when we have unprecedented levels of information available and that volume is growing every day.  I can identify who is visiting my site, with social integration's we can see what hobbies/activities users are interested in, where they live, what they buy, what they drive, etc. I see a future of harnessing this info on a scalable level. Brian Kardon explains more of what this might look like in his post “Marketing in Real Time – The New Trading Room Floor”. In this Forbes article you can see in some of the ways that Target is already personalizing outreach.

How I see this playing out:

I heard a Pandora Ad the other day for Lyft, and they dropped “Boston” into the ad copy. While this location dropping is good it’s just a small piece of who I am.

How do you make an experience that would really get my attention?

My Pandora is linked to Twitter and Facebook – through those you know where I live (more specifically than Boston), you know what hobbies I have, you know what I drive, how old I am, my gender, and on and on. Tailor your engagements, get my attention.

This is the way to be effective no matter what channel you are using (inbound or outbound). A better user experience for this same Lyft ad I heard might play out as follows: Hey Ben, saw that nice Niner Mountain Bike you were looking at! You would look good on it, how about you spend a few extra hours driving for Lyft and earn the extra money quick to get yourself on that Bike!

Now that is how you would get my attention!  Show me that you care about me, and I will care about you.

Hubspot recently just posted an article showing the increase in performance you can get from personalization. Now image if you could get a level of personalization like my example above, these results would likely skyrocket!

Why am I talking about this on a B2B blog? Because businesses are comprised of people, people make up the buying teams and the lines between B2C experiences and B2B are crossing. Every great engagement you have with a brand (B2B or B2C) sets the bar of brand experience expectations. If brands are not constantly looking to improve every engagement they are falling behind.

There are many articles about developing buyer personas, and those are a great starting place, but as the relationship develops we need to continue to tailor our communication. We need to make every engagement meaningful.

Where do you start today?
Utilize converged marketing tactics to align all channels of communication.  As noted in this study “84% of consumers would walk away from a company that doesn’t link up, understand and respond to their engagements across channels.”

Marketing is hard; there are many opportunities to leave a negative brand engagement during a user journey. Don’t stack the odds any more than they have to be. Make marketing personal.

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