Everyone wants customers that fanatically love their brand (Nike), won't consider competitors (Apple), and tell everyone they know about it (Harley-Davidson). Those customers buy more, more often.

If you want to wow customers and win markets again and again, keep reading. I'm going to tell you how to reach the right customers, via the right channels, at exactly the right moments—with personalized, real-time, data-driven communications.

How Purchases Happen

You already know that happy customers tell three people, and unhappy ones tell 10, right? But did you know that 90% of all goods purchased start with a Google search? Or that 60% of all goods are purchased on the strength of the brand communications?

Today, your customers expect personalization throughout the purchase experience. Online and moving into the real world, the brand experience has to be seamless.

So, what does this mean for your brand? Basically, it means that content—along with the technology that organizes it, and the workflow that delivers it—is your most important asset. Think of customer experience management (CXM) as the ERP for brands. Why? Because your brand is being talked about and shared—whether you control that experience or not.

Why You Need to Get Personal

To break through the clutter and connect with consumers in more meaningful ways, you need to speak directly to their needs and wishes. And the best way to do this is with personalized marketing.

When you integrate data about your customers' buying preferences and past purchase behavior into the communications you send them, you increase engagement, interaction, conversion rates, and sales. Using current and emerging technologies, you can automate your content marketing processes and cost-effectively deliver high-impact, personalized communications across all marketing touchpoints.

Here's what we've experienced directly with our retail customers:

  • Personalized email content can increase conversion rates by 2X-3X.
  • Automation reduces production time by 85%.
  • Production of print inserts and offers can be cut off a third of the time using 30% less staff.

Back in the glory days of print newspapers, advertisers had to just guess what the effect of their ad spend was. The only measurements they had were sales, foot traffic, and phone calls. The only insights available might be based on census and syndicated research data tied to ZIP codes. It was generally a loose interpretation of the amount of marketing effort and cost against any increased sales.

Today, brands must have a right-now, personalized message that can be delivered simultaneously across countless channels. The good news: We can now measure the consumers' reaction very quickly, optimize the message, and try again. The bad news: It's very difficult to create 1:1 personalized content for all those channels. Brands try and fail at this every day, so you need to be really smart about the way you create, re-use, personalize, and publish content.

The advent of omni-channel has turned the dynamic of digital marketing on its ear. By consolidating what once were distinctly separate workflows (departments, businesses) into a single technology stack, omni-channel lets you gain efficiencies and increase your brand value at the same time.

With a content management system in place, you can easily automate the creation, production, and execution of content across multiple-marketing channels to:

  • Create once, and deliver multiple on- and offline customer experiences.
  • Easily execute through both internal and external communication channels.

Three Steps to Up Your Personalization Game

Are you ready to blow your customers' minds and get results you once thought were unrealistic? Here's what you need to do:

1. Get the Right Tools

Onboarding integrated solutions that manage the entire life cycle of work, support different work methodologies, and manage all your employees' workloads will be the foundation of your success.

Get a solid content management system (CMS) on your side, but don't stop there. Pair it with a robust marketing automation solution to streamline processes and workflows. With this dynamic duo, you'll not only be able to produce great personalized content, you'll also be able to analyze customer data, identify customer triggers for more advanced personalization, and deliver localized content, tailored by language and region.

2. Find an Expert

Just because you've implemented a spiffy new marketing system, don't assume that everyone will jump on board with it. Combat change adversity by engaging a consultant who can configure the system to suit each user's job role and foster internal champions. That's not a secret sauce; it's just a thorough and logical approach to ensure a successful deployment. (Any vendor that suggests his or her solution is "so easy you can use it right out of the box" won't be willing to take the time to do that.)

3. Develop a Road Map

Real enterprise adoption requires a new way of thinking, and you probably know this better than anyone else. Software and services are vital, but when you're talking about a new approach to enterprise work, they have to be coupled with a change management strategy, one that encompasses industry best-practices and a maturity model, that can grow and evolve as your team and work processes do.

Imagine the Possibilities

Having your marketing engine be a single source of truth is powerful. Creating content once, then being able to publish it across all channels in your customers' native languages quickly and efficiently is just the beginning.

With a powerful personalization technology stack, expert deployment support, and a clear path from A to B (or Z!) on your side, getting personal with your customers is easy. You'll have the flexibility to easily fine-tune and deliver your content again and again based on customer feedback, and industry trends.

And you'll have the happy customers and improved ROI to prove it.

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image of Jill Talvensaari

Jill Talvensaari is vice-president of Marketing & Client Engagement at IO Integration, a provider of marketing technology solutions.

LinkedIn: Jill Talvensaari