Despite all the advances in marketing analytics and technology, the availability of increasingly sophisticated tools for segmentation and targeting, and an ever-expanding array of communication channels, creating that essential, highly personalized connection between the customer and the brand still remains a distant dream for most marketers.
More and more, marketers are turning to automation to better understand their audiences and, in turn, to design and deliver campaigns that resonate with the customer in a contextual, relevant way. The results of a 2019 survey on the state of marketing automation published in Social Media Today reported that 75 per cent of marketing teams employ automation tools. Customers too appreciate when brands use technology to create better experiences.
It’s a tricky situation. The same survey report indicated that almost two-thirds of marketers are concerned that automation will lead to a dilution of personalization. On the other hand, there’s a prevailing sentiment that too much personalisation can be off-putting to customers, making them feel like their personal space is being invaded.
Automation Done Well
Ideally, marketing automation equips brands with the technology, capabilities, and insights they need to understand and interact with their customers meaningfully, at scale, and in real-time. Used properly, it can become an engine of digital transformation that moves a brand towards customer-centricity—something that simply could not happen without data consolidation, given the complexity of omnichannel, digital communication today.
To the detriment of their campaigns and initiatives—and often at a great price—too many brands are simply using automation tools to deliver what still amounts to single-dimensional communication. Sometimes, they use automation in isolation or only on certain channels, depriving the potential impact of a truly omnichannel approach.
Worse yet, marketers hobble their efforts with incomplete data that lay idle or hidden in organizational silos. Without solid data, the foundation is virtually powerless. It cannot dynamically adjust course and contextualize responses at the individual level and can never deliver individualized experiences and seamless customer journeys that fuel top-line growth.
Paradoxically, automation does not diminish the importance of the human capacity for strategic thinking and planning. Automation can only realize its full potential when implemented through a comprehensive customer engagement strategy and roadmap that make sense for the brand and its audience.
For instance, a bank can determine that any credit card customer who has used 90% of their credit limit can be sent an offer for a personal loan. With marketing automation, the bank can trigger relevant offer-based communication such as this in real time and thus significantly scale its efforts.
Personalisation Done Right
The key to personalisation that delivers on its promise is a singular, 360 degree view of the customer. That means more than simply knowing all the critical customer data points—demographics, psychographics, propensities, interaction history, campaign participation, persona, and so forth.
It also requires translating that data into actionable insights that result in relevant messaging, contextual interactions, and tailored experiences that resonate with individual customers and moves them relentlessly towards conversion and ultimately brand loyalty.
By using AI and machine learning models, marketing automation solutions are able to help brands derive individual audience propensities around time, channel, content, offer, and more. This enables brands to continuously optimize how they engage each customer based on evolving insights captured across channels and systems.
That’s a distinct advantage the more sophisticated automation tools can provide. To take personalization to that higher level, any solution should have the ability to continuously gain new insights about audience profile and map to specific behavioural triggers and conditions that enable a brand to refine the when, where, and how of customer engagement.
Advanced Technology For Even Greater Personalisation
Constantly assessing marketing performance and gleaning insights are tasks ideally suited to marketing automation. With advancements over the last decade, marketing tools have become highly intuitive and capable of providing businesses with deeply relevant information that will help improve campaign performance and contribute to revenue.
But simply knowing the reach, engagement, and conversion of campaigns isn’t enough. Brands have to go deeper and be more precise. Brands need to invest in next-gen marketing automation solutions which have embedded artificial intelligence, machine learning models and algorithms at the core of their platforms, drawing on their power to analyze campaign performance and individualized customer interactions at scale.
Using predictive and prescriptive analytics, they improve marketing performance, enrich understanding of customers at the individual level, and ultimately deepen engagement.
They should opt for a marketing automation platform which can track each customer’s omnichannel journey, from the first interaction to brand loyalty, pinpointing exactly where and when conversions occur at the ever-critical milestone.
This empowers marketers to measure revenue contributions at the segment-of-one level and to examine RoI along multiple dimensions/levels – campaign, individualized audience, brand or product roll-up, offer, channel, location, and more.
Hardly anyone today would question that marketing automation tools and technology will continue to redefine how marketers approach their customers and the efficiency, speed, and scope of their efforts. What remains underutilized is the critical role marketing automation can play in enabling digital transformation among the brands to provide individualised customer engagement throughout the customer journey from click to conversion and beyond.
Marketing automation and personalisation are far from incompatible, they are inextricably linked forever.