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Personalized marketing is where it’s at for today’s customers. How can you use social media and Big Data to connect with your audience in a more meaningful way? Read this post to find out.

“Right audience, right channel, right time” is practically a mantra for today’s marketers. If that sums up how you want to contact your customers, personalized marketing is what will make it possible.

Personalized marketing is pretty much what it sounds like: tailoring your message to an individual customer. At its basic level, personalization is crafting your message for the right group boomers vs millennials -; heavy Internet users vs. newspaper readers; dog people vs. cat people. It also means only pitching them the content, products, and services that appeal to them.

Why personalize? For starters, it’s good business practice. A study quoted on showed that personalized marketing emails were opened nearly a third more than their non-personalized versions and had a 41% higher click-through rate. Besides, people — especially those in the much-discussed Millennial demographic — have come to expect personalization from companies of all sizes and descriptions.

How Are Businesses Personalizing Their Marketing Messages?

As you might imagine, there’s a wealth of information available about your customers on social media. And the customers put it there. So it’s not surprising that companies are using Big Data and advanced analytics techniques to create ever-more personalized data.

How are some companies personalizing their marketing efforts? Let us count the ways:

  1. By geographic location
  2. By the customer’s known interests
  3. By interest groups (i.e. people who bought a certain brand of chocolate were also interested in…)
  4. By IP address
  5. By purchase history
  6. By when (morning, afternoon, evening) and how (tablet, smartphone, computer) messages are read
  7. By social media platform

These factors can coalesce quite nicely at some points. For example, it’s been estimated that about 70% of Pinterest users are women. So if you wanted to reach out to a female audience that’s visually motivated, technologically comfortable, and interested in crafts, where would you put your message? Exactly.

That’s a good start, but there’s still work to do. Let’s explore five ways to get personal with your marketing.

Personalize Your Marketing with These Five Steps

To successfully personalize your marketing efforts, you need to take advantage of the technologies available. That may mean investing or upping your commitment to Big Data products. Seeing as the alternatives are either crunching the numbers yourself or letting your efforts be outstripped by your competitors, it’s a good investment. You can even outsource data analytics if your company doesn’t have the inclination or space to do it in-house.

So, your true first step is getting the data in usable form. What then?

  • Embrace social media. From an advertising and marketing perspective, social media is the best thing since sliced bread. It might even be better than sliced bread. Your customers tell you all about themselves for free, and your message can go out to them at a significant savings over traditional advertising. Keep in mind (as we mentioned above) that social media platforms often have different user demographics. Use this to inform your approach.
  • Talk to Your Customers. Who’s the best person to ask about your customers? While data analytics can provide you with some amazing insights, it’s nowhere near as good as the customers themselves. Get into online chat, use mini polls, comb through customer support transactions, and peruse feedback. Your customers will tell you exactly what they want and what is important to them.
  • Market to Customers, Not Numbers. Customers have an account number. They are not an account number. Invest the time (and the information you’ve learned from previous steps) to create and deliver a marketing experience that matches their needs and expectations.
  • Create Content for People First. Content is important in marketing. So are search results. But your content should always be geared toward the customer as an individual. This might mean curating specific content for specific groups. Remember, your goal is personalization, not mass appeal.
  • Use Micro-segmentation. After developing user archetypes, you can further micro-segment your personas to slice and dice their purchase history, preferences and dislikes, triggers of purchase, etc., to design personalized messages for them.

Personalized marketing is used because it works for everyone. Your customers feel that they matter to your company. Plus, they get offers that make sense to them. You get a better chance of acquiring a loyal brand fan (and quite a few sales, over time). While it may require a greater investment of time and technology, we say the results are worth it.

Authored by Sandra Peterson – VP of Marketing at Absolutdata