20 Years in Marketing: The Emergence of Personalization

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When we set out to create BBR 20 years ago, the advertising industry was a wild landscape of raster files and 16-gig hard drives. Cold calling reigned. “Friends” was still in syndication. And we lived and died by our Rolodex. Even then, though, we knew the value of maintaining a personal connection.

But, a lot has changed since we first opened our doors, and new tactics for connecting with consumers mean old tricks aren’t as effective. As businesses young and old learn to adapt to new processes and information, one thing stays the same: your customers want to feel connected to the brands they interact with. 

Here are a few ways you can personalize your marketing in 2017 for better, more connected consumers: 

Email Personalization

Think beyond simply adding a name to the subject field. Through automation and segmentation, you can achieve better conversions from your email campaigns.

Segmentation: Allows you to separate email recipients into send lists based on their indicated preferences. By asking the right questions during email registration, you can sort your users based on buyer personas and craft email content targeted to each group.

Automation: Allows for the generation of emails based on actions (or inactions) taken by the user on your site. For example, if a user within your database is browsing a particular category often, an automated email can be generated offering related items. Or, if a user hasn’t purchased in while, an automated message can be sent to re-engage them with new promotions.

By using a combination of these email personalization tactics, your campaigns can speak directly to the needs of each unique user.

E-Commerce Personalization

The highly personalized online shopping experience provided by commerce giants like Amazon is overwhelmingly preferred by online shoppers today (by 73% of shoppers, according to E-commerce Outtakes).

These personalization tactics have serious range: From auto-populating related items based on previously viewed pages, analyzing a user’s location to suggest products popular in that area and even coordinating promotions and ads to appear for certain events or times of year can all be done via e-commerce personalization. These tactics are typically segmented into two groups:

Prescriptive: These personalizations hinge upon a predetermined set of rules, and can be based on a number of user activities and/or characteristics (pages visited, geographic location, etc.). They’ll dictate who gets served what ad once the set conditions are met.

Adaptive: These personalizations are based on an automated system that evolves as it learns more about each user. The system is also rule-based, with the difference being that these rules are continuously adapting as new information is gathered.

The way your system gathers information on users can either be explicit or implicit (you ask for information or your system infers information based on actions taken). Either way, you’ll be providing each user with a unique shopping experience tailored to their wants and needs.

Site Content Personalization

Imagine visiting a site and having everything on a given page speak with your interests and needs in mind. This is the basis for site content personalization. The tools we have now allow us to analyze what sites you’ve visited, what actions you’ve taken, where you’re located, etc. to tailor content to you as the user.

Why is this so effective? Because an OVERWHELMING number of users report being overwhelmed with options – to the point where they lose interest in purchasing altogether. By personalizing their experiences, you can feed them fewer options that they’re more likely to want.

There are online tools that can do this automatically, using content you’ve created for each of these designated groups. By creating alternate landing pages for each of your buyer personas, you can feed the right message to the right person, and seal the deal.

Ad Personalization or Hyper Targeting

Taken from the old school advertising adage of “Right ad, Right time,” ad personalization delivers the message your target audience needs when they’re most apt to react. Using the information collected above (online behavior and personal characteristics), an ad manager can decide which ad message to deliver to a user once certain conditions are met.

These “conditions” are usually search terms entered or pages visited that relate to the ad’s message. We’re “striking while the iron is hot,” so to speak, by hitting the user when enough information is gathered to confirm their needs. This means higher conversion rates and less wasteful ad spend. Ca-ching.

By delivering a personalized experience, your company can better connect with customers and prospects. When combined, the personalization tactics listed above will generate better business relationships for you and your contacts, ultimately increasing conversions for your brand.

To take advantage of these personalization tactics, you must first segment your customers into distinct, identifiable groups. Still haven’t segmented yet? Get your ducks in a row by downloading our Personalization Checklist today!

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