Brands are always on the lookout for ways to expand their digital marketing prowess. And right now, the art of personalization is at the top of the list.

As an act of marketing refinement, personalization makes good use of digital marketing tools and data analytics to generate powerful one-to-one marketing opportunities. Using these tools, brands can sift through and cherry-pick key pieces of information to create one-of-a-kind email messages and offerings for each prospective customer.

With data insights in hand, marketing outreach is built around relevant personal data, search history, and combined with incentives based on their spot along the buyer’s journey.

Think of it like finally discovering a true purpose behind data collection—to serve the customer more intimately.

Companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Uber already follow a personalization practice to refine, grow, and expand their business based on what they know customers want and need rather than creating a generic hit or miss marketing. This approach to outreach is also quickly becoming part of a common customer service model—and what customers expect as part of their shopping experience.

The art of doing personalization well, however, is in knowing how to go bigger and deeper with it as a practice in a way that’s scalable long-term.

It’s new territory for brands just getting the hang of why they’re collecting data in the first place. Which means it’s more important than ever to create systems around best practices for data collection and application as a foundation for deeper personalization in marketing efforts.

How Brands Manage Personalization Practices Right Now

Before diving into deeper personalization, let’s review what brands are doing right now to leverage customer interactions and data collection.

In the current market, businesses piece together browsing habits, responses from email outreach, and customer data from personal or online interactions, previous inquiries, or purchases to create marketing strategies. This inside scoop provides key details to craft more personal, targeted marketing that improves email open-rates and clicks—and helps keep a brand top of mind.

An example of a common marketing personalization practice is a simple text reminder from your dentist that you need to schedule an appointment or a more in-depth email sharing upsell products or features that pair well with a recent purchase.

By connecting in smaller, more personal ways more frequently, brands can keep customer relationships at an active slow simmer based on specific interests.

Personalization tactics that help brands gain traction include:

  • Finding the right person on the buying committee for B2B that will influence fellow stakeholders
  • Using customer search data to find specific keywords relevant to customers
  • Leveraging a conversational or leading language approach in email marketing such as, “I noticed that you’ve been thinking about…” inspired by previous purchases or searches
  • Improving your pre-sale game by following social media threads of prospects to amp up conversation quality online or face-to-face
  • Using data to get to the heart of what’s important to a specific person quickly
  • Integrating chat boxes, voice integration techniques, or some level of AI

These are still relatively new approaches for many businesses as they practice utilizing their marketing outreach tools, so what tactics are considered next level personalization?

What Does Going Deeper Mean, and How To Scale Personalization

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to personalize marketing outreach. It can be designed to paint a visually appealing, brand-centered look, include key customer details, and share unique offers for every type of prospect in the sales pipeline.

It’s also often one-dimensional if it’s used as a one-and-done tactic.

Many marketing automation platforms now allow various levels of customization, taking email segmentation to the next level.

For example, if your customer base is diverse, but you have one, very specific message you want to communicate, deeper personalization will allow you to create extremely diverse email scripts that appeal to each customer type based on the marketing segmentation established for the brand.

To scale effectively, brands really need to understand the customer—what they need and want—and create the proper segmentation as a baseline, so technology can step in and do the heavy lifting. This is even more essential as email readers get increasingly sophisticated, looking for context clues to help people sort through what they see as spam.

Here are some tips to help with scaling deeper personalization efforts in marketing outreach:

1. Assess the Technology Tools of the Brand

What kinds of technology are you currently leveraging to manage data collection and analytics? Are these tools easy or cumbersome? How do you take the data and then leverage it to create specific algorithms that generate email details by language, country, time zone and help personalize things quickly and easily?

Decide whether or not your tech stack truly is effective, cull what weighs you down, and move forward.

2. Leverage AI Tools

According to Michael Brenner in his article, “How AI will make marketing More Personalized in 2018”:

“AI for email marketing will continue to improve, making it the norm for marketers to deliver hyper-personalized content, at the right time of day, with the right tone of voice, the right offers, and the personal, human touches that will encourage long-term relationships.”

Brenner adds,”With customers expecting a tailored experience for them, brands can come up with creative ways to gather more information about their subscriber lists through intelligent CRM systems that house deep data insights, to go even deeper into segmentation and seemingly effortless personalization.”

In this way, brands actively market and conduct research at the same time. That’s a good bang for your buck!

3. Amp up Social Selling

If you can establish a social selling program, you’re creating and monitoring results in real time and can scale based on need and customer desire. Then, you can use it to go deeper based on the emotional connection to the data.

In some ways, this can be viewed as “data manipulation” or seeing an offering from a customer’s perspective.

This example was offered up by Idan Carmeli in the article, “Superficial vs. Deep Personalization in B2B Emails”:

“If you want to tell someone that X number of their peers from the same region have already signed up to a certain activity or otherwise responded positively to an offer that was made to them. Clearly, this isn’t available as a ‘flat’ database field, and requires data manipulation.”

Another use of social selling is through email marketing campaigns. Instead of going to another website, buyers can purchase something directly in the email through an app-like interface.

4. Get Better and Smarter and Lead Targeting

When people make job changes, they’ll have a new role and new responsibilities, so stay connected to prospects throughout their career. Use social posts to generate top of mind questions for targeting. Take note of when companies are hiring, so sales teams know when to reach out.

Also, leverage the sales team insights as an outreach tool to help scale personalization efforts in smarter ways, and give them the technology and training they need to do their jobs well!

And don’t forget to regularly review customer details outside the traditional fields such as support tickets, campaign associations, and spouse information. This is a simple, scalable way to go deeper.

5. Use Data as a Lead Generator

It’s always smart to start with improving service to the customers you already have, so why not use data as an active lead generator?

Doing things like pre-calculating savings for renewal rates or sharing discount promos can help enhance the relationships that already exist and reduces costs in finding new customers.

Key Takeaway

At the end of the day, marketers need to look at the data collected and see the depth in it to convert it into a workable marketing strategy with an emotional pull for the most effective personalization.

The more marketers can use the data they discover and connect with each buyer personally along their journey (while making it seem like it’s their idea), then insights on how to scale will become a natural part of the sales process.

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Katrina Pfannkuch

About Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch is a creativity consultant specializing in writing, editing, strategy & coaching. She's a bit of a data nerd & loves seeing how pieces of the informational puzzle come together to paint a creative picture. Catch Katrina & her insights on kick-starting creativity at @creativekatrina on Twitter.