Automation vs Personalization Balance in Marketing Campaigns.
There is no doubt in the current market scenario that automation is beneficial to a business’s marketing efforts in a lot of ways.
It reduces the amount of resources required to perform repetitive jobs, and it frees up precious man-hours to be spent in more creative endeavors.
However, when businesses begin to think of automation as a cure-all, they run the risk of losing a personal touch and appearing distant to their customers.
Most businesses come to rely so much on automation tools for personalization that they dilute the strength of their message and end up sounding very generic.
But, according to HubSpot, personalized calls to action convert 202% better than default calls to action, and Statista tells us that the share of U.S. consumers who find marketing content personalization ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ appealing is 90%.
These and many other statistics make it obvious that no matter how attractive marketing automation services may seem to them, marketers cannot afford to undermine the value of personalized marketing campaigns.
The distinction between automation and personalization
It is possible sometimes to mistake marketing automation for effective personalization, especially when the automation is data-driven.
For example, consider an email marketing campaign targeted at customers who fill a particular form on your website.
Using automation tools it is easy to pick up the names of customers from their forms and send out promotional emails addressed personally to them, but is that really all there is to personalized marketing?
Chances are you also receive several such emails from platforms like LinkedIn and others, emails which usually end up sitting ignored and unread in your inbox.
Similarly, making appearances on a customer’s social-media feed is typically an automated effort. Unless a direct interaction is held between the consumer and brand, social engagement cannot really be called personalized.
Let’s look at a few ways to balance marketing automation with personalization for optimizing the engagement of businesses with their customers:
Go for personalization, but avoid intrusion
Earlier this year, the fashion brand Forever 21 sent free diet bars with the orders of their plus-size customers.
Quite possibly, the brand saw this as a way to connect with their customers, and failed to predict what would actually happen: their customers were outraged by this intrusion on their lifestyle choices and the implied body-shaming.
To avoid such marketing fiascos, it is important that businesses remain aware of the fine line between providing their customers a value-adding personalized experience and exploiting customer data in a way that infringes upon their privacy.
A good way to maintain this balance is to use personalized marketing in conjunction with automation tools to target specific customer groups with only the messaging that is most relevant for them.
Doing so provides value to the customers without making them feel uncomfortable--making it an ideal situation for both sides of the table.
Organizations like Epsilon do a good job of providing their clients a healthy balance of cutting-edge martech and customer-centric personalization approaches to marketing.
Read more about how Epsilon their Agility Harmony’s machine learning and decisioning engine to make informed recommendations for individual subscribers and delivered 1:1 inbox content to test audiences.
Add a human touch to automation
Addressing the message to individual customers is an example of using automation capabilities to implement personalization.
However, it is usually possible to go the extra mile by applying more creative solutions to real-life situations in different business domains.
For example, if a customer visits your website and downloads a resource, like a case study, or a form, then using automation tools you can schedule a follow-up call to them.
This may give a great advantage to a business because according to a Lead Response Management Study, the odds of securing a lead are reduced by as much as 400% by waiting for more than 10 minutes to follow up.
Use in-session data to personalize experience
Real-time web personalization uses the data from a customer’s entire journey to personalize their experience.
So, instead of using any sensitive customer data that might lead to privacy issues, the focus remains solely on optimizing the way that users interact with a brand.
Using in-session data you can actively market offers and messages to your customers that are relevant to them and have the maximum chance of driving conversions.
Moreover, you can also choose to highlight or downplay specific sections of your website based on the user-personas that you develop by analyzing the way users navigate your site.
Real-time web personalization makes it possible for businesses to deliver their marketing efforts with maximum impact when it matters the most.
For instance, a customer who is navigating through an e-commerce website looking for camping gear can be made real-time recommendations for hiking boots that he might also need soon, similarly for B-2-B organizations it makes a lot of sense to offer relevant white-papers and case studies to users navigating a specific part of their website.
Balance is key
When used individually, marketing automation and personalization provide marketers effective ways to engage with their customers, but if you can manage to hit the sweet spot of their intersection you have the chance of gaining an edge over most of your competition.
It is important, therefore, while implementing technical solutions to remember that your customers are more than just numbers and statistics--at the end of the day, its humans who drive technology, not the other way around.
That said, with the right approach marketing automation does have the potential to make marketing more personalized and effective. So, figure out a strategy that suits your business goals, strike the right balance, and then watch your marketing returns soar.