A redefined approach to marketing campaigns personalization

Looking at how important campaigns personalization in marketing is and how often it’s mentioned as a top business communication tactic, you would have thought that most, if not all, companies know how to customize the messages to fit their audience. Well… That’s sadly not the case.

Businesses have now easy access to advanced automation tools and collect far more data on their customers than ever before. Despite that, still the most common method of customizing messages is simply adding a customer’s first name in the heading.

However, relying solely on “Hi, {{receiver.first_name}}!” is in no way enough.

According to Pure360, 92% of customers won’t engage with a company that uses addressing them by name as the only form of personalization and 93% isn’t interested in receiving birthday cards from brands anymore.

To put it briefly: customers are getting so many of those that you’re no longer standing out with another “Dear John” email.

Thinking about completely revamping your marketing strategy now?

This can be a good thing as long as you put focus on your audience and become truly customer-centric. After all, how can you deliver engaging and useful messages to your audience if you don’t know anything about them? Or their point of view?

Not so long ago, people were getting not more than a few messages a day. And those were mostly emails – standing out from the crowd wasn’t very hard. Now the situation is much more complicated. Not only is it not unusual to get hundreds of emails in one day. But there are also SMS, WebPush, MobilePush, and In-app messages constantly fighting for the users’ attention.

Obviously, users’ are unable to focus equally on every single message coming from dozens of brands, every day. They are continuously deciding on whether a given message is worth their attention or will they ignore it. Spotting their own name in the title line is nothing special anymore. The majority of the bulk emails are made using exactly the same elements.

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How to make a mark with campaigns personalization and encourage your audience to click & read

The key to achieving better results is redefining how you see personalization. It is not only about the appealing content. For best results, you also have to know the context so find the right moment to send a message. And pick the best possible way of delivering it so choose the right communication channel.

Start with a proper audience segmentation

Traditional segmentation is about dividing the audience into smaller groups, depending on age, gender, education level, location, and so on. But while this might be enough for traditional industries or small-scale entrepreneurs, online businesses (especially B2B) are a different story. The audience is usually relatively similar, with no distinguishing features. So dividing them into segments based just on demographic data doesn’t help much.

In such cases, a much better approach may be:

➡️ segmentation based on the conversion funnel stage or the current customer’s journey stage. After all, if the message recipient is a new customer who is getting to know the brand or just made the first purchase, it should be different than a message to long-term, returning customers.

➡️ segmentation by the level of customer engagement and activity. Customers who are actively promoting the brand or product, regularly participating in satisfaction surveys or expressing positive opinions about the product should get different content and messages than inactive customers or customers who made a one-time purchase.

➡️ creating segments by finding the source of traffic from which each group came. For example, create different messages for customers who came to your company website from a sponsored article, other ones for those who came from organic traffic and other for clients who were encouraged to use the offer by current company clients.

➡️ using past purchase history to get your customers sorted into segments. This way, customers who earlier bought products from a specific category (like computer hardware) would get different messages than customers interested in smartphones and accessories.

You’ll find some more inspiration on segmenting here.

Knowing the broader context may be the game-changer

Except for customized content you definitely need to think about the right timing and knowing more details about your audience. In other words, having a broader situational context can help a lot.

It’s not only about the best moment of a day. Like for example a cafe sending a marketing campaign about special coffee deal while white collars are commuting to the CBD in the morning rush hours and scrolling through the news feeds. But it may as well cover details about the audience’s lifestyle or habits.

It may be, for instance, sending a safe travel message with a customized VIP lounge menu to a passenger, who right now is at the airport waiting for their flight. Or an email campaign sent to customers actively promoting the zero waste philosophy on their social media for some time, with clear information that a company has given up traditional mailing because they do care about the environment.

Example 1.

Starbucks real-time MobilePush campaign based on geolocation.

Image source: Medium

Example 2.

Douglas International Women’s Day special offer email campaign. They went for a “First-minute” approach and set the send-out to 2 weeks prior to the day.

Example 3.

Lululemon email campaign sent right after purchase.

An effective and smart approach to personalizing marketing campaigns often requires paying more attention to the context element. A message’s content and format depend on the type of interaction a user had with an app or a website.

For a SaaS company, a different message should be sent to clients that have just created their account, another one – to those who are starting a free trial. And a different one to users who after a few weeks have switched to a paid plan.

Also, it’s not a bad idea to consider the audience’s expectations on content type and preferred (needed) level of details. Customers only considering their first purchase needs totally different information than returning customers being with you for a few years. The latter is usually interested in getting precise product updates, new releases or special deals.

The missing link: choose the best channel

Even if you include well-designed content and cover the context & timing details in your campaign, it’s a full personalization yet. One more thing every marketing specialist should take into account is to select the best possible communication channel.

Even the most appealing and customized email sent at the right time won’t bring the expected results if a receiver doesn’t check email inbox in real time.

Do you recall the earlier example of a special coffee deal campaign sent in the morning rush hours? A company would achieve much better results if going for MobilePush or In-app messages and not for an email campaign.

A traditional email won’t be a good choice either if you run campaigns to remind customers about the payment deadline. Or to inform receivers about the check-in required for their upcoming flight. In those cases running an SMS campaign would be by far a more customer-friendly approach.

Example 4.

Jetstar SMS campaign sent a day before the upcoming flight.

And if you only have a few seconds to attract attention, having a mobile notification arriving just-in-time could work out effectively.

Example 5.

Sephora makeup-on-the-go MobilePush campaign based on geolocation.

Image source: Taplytics

Cover customers’ preferences regarding the communication channel in your communication strategy to provide truly personalized experience. It’ll also increase the click-through or conversion rates and prove to the audience that you do care about their convenience.

What is yet to come

In today’s world, the role of personalization in a marketing communication strategy is expected to further gain importance. We will further observe the evolution towards the entirely one-to-one marketing experience when each customer or business partner receives tailored communication perfectly adjusted to their behaviour, habits, lifestyle, location, and preferences.

To achieve that, there is no doubt businesses will need to further automate their processes, build more complex and cross-related automation paths and master the analysis of big data. One of the greatest challenges lies in combining advantages coming with advanced technologies and analytics and remaining compliant with requirements imposed by the GDPR and other regulations aimed at protecting customers and keeping their data safe, as well as other types of compliance.

Having that in mind, don’t wait any longer with designing a fully personalized marketing communication experience for your audience. With hundreds of marketing messages we get every single day, taking a 360-degree approach and thinking about your customer’s individual needs, habits and preferences is the smart move to make. Including the 3 C’s – Content + Context + Communication channel – in your digital strategy will enable you to meet the clients’ needs the best way and at the very right time.

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