Historically, marketing has been an all-or-nothing
affair: messages are distributed to the largest possible number of people, attempting to reach new consumers while retaining existing customers. Online or traditional advertising and email campaigns tend to generalize product and service information to a common denominator to attract as many views as they can. While appealing to the masses as a concept isn’t wrong, wouldn’t it be better to target consumers who are most likely to purchase your products and services? If you’re like most people, you’re a bit selective about the people you surround yourself with: you prefer those who share at least some of the same values, the same goals, the same likes and dislikes and so forth. And you’re most likely to nurture the relationships with those with whom you share similarities, while
remaining polite and civil to those who aren’t such a great match. The same is true for marketing: it’s about creating and nurturing relationships between brand and buyers. “While appealing to the masses as a concept isn’t wrong, wouldn’t it be better to target consumers who are most likely to purchase your products and services?” With personalized marketing, you remain open to targeting a larger audience while spending the most resources reaching out to consumers who are the most likely to purchase your brands. In this white paper, you will learn the five steps toward personalized
marketing, and why tailoring your messaging to various audiences can be a game-changer.
If you are interested in personalized marketing, but aren’t sure where to start, think about two very familiar companies: Netflix and Amazon. Netflix has an algorithm that recommends movies and television programs that you might like based on what you’ve already watched. Amazon has a similar strategy: Say you’re purchasing a Bluetooth speaker. You’ll likely see a list of items that others bought in the same purchase as the Bluetooth speaker model in your cart.
These two personalization methods are a subtle yet effective upsell: Netflix’s suggestions can help you remain engaged with the service for longer periods of time, and Amazon’s recommendations may help you discover an accessory you didn’t realize you needed. Brand awareness and presence just aren’t enough in today’s uber-connected world. Personalized marketing matters because today’s consumers like to feel connected to brands by being part of the conversation—this is why people subscribe to brands’ Facebook and Twitter feeds, pin their favorite items to Pinterest and follow other brand social media sites. Even if your company has multiple social media platforms used to communicate with customers, you may not have the whole picture. You know your followers are a sympathetic audience; after all, they chose to subscribe to your feed. You might also be able to collect some voluntary information from consumers when they subscribe to your website, or through a survey—but that won’t always happen.
What if you could get even more personal than the data your customers give you directly?
The first step in personalizing your marketing efforts is understanding your existing and desired audiences. Demographics are important, but they are only part of the picture. Let’s say your company is an organic dairy that specializes in yogurt. You know your social media followers have an interest in your brand, but do you know who’s actually doing the purchasing? If you were to learn that the largest purchasing segment for your products are health-conscious moms, you might want to immediately begin tailoring your messaging toward women of childbearing age. This is a good demographic to target: these moms want to feed their kids healthy foods, and might already be familiar with your brand or even already a customer. But what about others who might be very interested to learn about your offerings? Using data science software, like People Pattern, can help you understand your audience and find additional characteristics of similar and related audiences, such as:
• Parents in general. You can include dads, too; all families are not created equal.
• Health-conscious people. Many people without children may also be interested in
buying organic dairy products.
• Busy professionals. Yogurt makes a healthful, quick breakfast for people on the go. From those brief examples, you can see that the most obvious target might not be the only place to market. Once you validate not only demographics, but also characteristics of the audience you have and the audiences you want, you can begin defining
The next step toward personalized marketing is to optimize your lead generation efforts through smarter audience identification, segmentation and targeting at a granular level.
When you look at what people are saying and writing, you can begin to identify some of your audience behaviors. Modern data science software can provide insights that help you further identify and segment your audience into personas—clusters of people who have similar behaviors, values, goals and preferences. By breaking your audience into various personas, you can get very granular information like device choice, language and word cluster use, platform presence and more. You can also begin to predict audience behaviors and preferences, such as:
• Which audience members are about to have a baby, get engaged or other major life
• What other products and services are your audience members buying?
• Which competitive products are your audience members using?
• Which audience segments are expanding or emerging?
Understanding and forecasting audience needs can be an extremely powerful competitive advantage. In other words, just because someone isn’t part of your target market today doesn’t mean they won’t be tomorrow.
trust. For example, Marketing Sherpa notes that it isn’t effective to offer a 10-pound bone to a five-pound dog.*
Today’s technology empowers you to validate other interests shared by individuals who engage with your brand—helping you discover personas you might not have been aware of. Since you’re probably thinking about dogs right now, imagine your company sells products for dogs. Clearly you would want to communicate with known dog lovers—but that’s still a fairly wide audience. Consider how you could customize your marketing messaging if you were marketing to dog lovers who:
• Attend music festivals and other live music performances
• Enjoy local beer
• Are sports fans
• Also have cats
• Travel regularly
A couple of quick examples: The health-conscious mom who is a customer of the organic yogurt discussed earlier might like to learn about why your company is committed to organic products. The dog lover who’s a sports fan might be interested in buying from your new product line: a leash and collar set in their favorite team’s colors.
Those are just a few ideas to open yourself to the potential of personalizing your content marketing for specific personas: You can include generalized information about your products and services along with specific, targeted messaging that can have a greater influence on the individuals it reaches.
When it comes to media planning, you want to discover the best ways to connect with your audience. Once you’ve identified the personas you want to target, you can then use data science software to identify where your customers are engaging. Some of the most popular places to explore media buys include Twitter, LinkedIn, Google AdWords, Television and Facebook. But perhaps your audience insights have validated other areas where you can spread your message.
Email campaigns, Pinterest, display ads, sponsored posts or videos or banner ads are all
possibilities, just to name a few. Plan to reach more than one of your identified personas. This could mean two or three email messages that will contain different content that is customized to appeal to a specific persona. You could create more than one ad tailored for specific blog audiences, or create a Facebook campaign that is served only to a very precise set of viewers. And mix it up by planning a strategy that includes more than one of these methods, to reach the largest possible number of people. Also consider identifying and reaching out to influencers and advocates. Influencers are those who already have a voice in a related topic: for the organic dairy we discussed earlier, an influencer could be a mommy blogger or food blogger with a good base of followers. And advocates are people who are already talking about your brand in a favorable way. Reaching out to these important audience members can boost your relationships with brand-loyal fans of today and tomorrow. A highly satisfied customer with an existing blog or other social media following can work like a megaphone to spread your message—along with an endorsement!
Although personalized marketing is an ongoing process, the “end point” of each campaign is measuring success. You’ll want to track each of your personalized marketing efforts separately so that you can compare winning versus stagnant techniques. You won’t want to continue employing a method that isn’t working—and at the same time, you will want to renew or even expand what you’ve found effective. Some of the metrics you can track include SEO, number of leads generated, audience downloads, sales on your website that came from tracking URLs in your marketing materials, number of views or impressions and how often content and/or viral videos were shared. Once you have gathered metrics for your campaigns, compare the ROI for the various strategies employed to obtain a quantifiable rate of success. Then,
leverage that information to begin planning messaging and delivery for future campaigns. Continue evolving. Keep experimenting with new approaches, whether it’s refreshed or brand new content or a new combination of media types, renew your messages regularly to keep your brand fresh in your customers’ minds.
You yourself see ads and other marketing materials every day. Aren’t you more likely to respond to those providing information about brands that offer the items you are actually interested in? This is why personalized marketing is more valuable than trying to market to everyone. Now that you’ve learned a bit about the five steps to personalized marketing, you understand that the most effective marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. By learning more about your audience
and its personas, you can intelligently hone in on and target individuals who are the most likely to purchase your products and services. These are the people you want to build relationships with, because after all, these are the people who help sustain your business.
People Pattern is a Software as a Service platform that supplies Audience Insights to the world’s biggest brands. Via semi-supervised machine-learned algorithms and natural language processing, People Pattern turns vast, messy public expression into actionable persona sets, helping brands gain an edge in the race to win, retain and serve customers.