What is the Marketer's Opinion of Personalization & Interactive Content?

At our January Trends & Prediction webinar, our panelists and moderator covered three terrific topics. And we heard you! Rather than leave you with just a recording and slides, we’ve also transcribed the key points covered by our panelists to help you absorb the full context of the discussion.

The most requested topic post-webinar was “Personalization Impact on Prospect & Customer Engagement Strategies”. In this session, we featured three power-houses in Marketing, Sales and Customer Engagement. This blog post covers a Marketer's view with Missi Carmen, Director of Marketing, her 2017 trends and 2018 predictions for personalization and interactive content.

2017 Marketing Trends in Personalization

From the marketing side in 2017, the use of machine-learning personalization came to the forefront. A 2017 study by Researchscape International and Evergage found 1 in 3 marketers successfully used machine-learning and marketing automation, which we know uses algorithms and predictive analytics to personalize experiences at the 1x1 level. Digging deeper into the study, only 45% of marketers said they were getting personalization right. But what is considered “right”?

Only (45%) agree that marketers are getting personalization right. ...the proportion satisfied with the level of personalization in their own organizations is low at 30%...
2017 Researchscape International

Here’s my opinion of what “right” was in 2017. We saw personalization used in emails, an explosion of drip campaigns - just look at the Google Trends search volume on the growth of Drip Campaign related phrases over the last 24 months. Someone is using it. We also saw websites with dynamic content, steller mobile sites, and mobile apps that nailed it (Etsy, Houzz, Spotify and Trip Advisor).

So we saw a lot of personalization in 2017, but did it work? In a 2017 research study commissioned by Monetate, 79% of respondents that exceeded revenue goals had a documented personalization strategy.

Two-thirds of respondents approached personalization with rule-based targeting to segments (67%) versus the more advanced algorithmic 1-to-1 approach (13%), with 20% using both.
2017 Researchscape International

While that sounds like an impressive number, I dug a little deeper. Out of the 131 senior marketers who completed the survey, only 4% (5 marketers) had an advanced personalization strategy in place while 57% (75 marketers) are working on it. Which means, 40% (52 marketers) did not have anything in place! So was personalization really a trend in 2017?

I’m still coming back to yes, but more often than not, companies just used personalized emails (subject lines, names, city, etc.) Most of the information you’d find in a CRM field. But this is NOT enough anymore. If anything, consumers are expecting this rule-based approach. An advanced algorithmic approach. And to do that, you need your data.

Now we move onto predictions.

Here is my first prediction for 2018. First of all, data-driven campaigns are a must.

I firmly believe companies will gain and use more data on their prospect and customer profiles through landing pages, lead scoring, and automated tasks and workflows. Everything that today uses data collection.

Prediction 1: 2018 will demand that personalization use collected data interwoven into dynamic and engaging content throughout each stage in the customer lifecycle.

So where can you collect data? Normally websites use data collected in past behavior, emails read, link clicks, apps downloaded, etc. By using 5-8 data points within customer lifecycle, you’ll have a better understanding of WHO they are but more importantly WHAT they want, what they need, what they feel. It’s this information that will help create more relevant, personalized content.

And if you’re a B2B marketer, personalization and automation applies to you too! B2B companies that don’t sell online can use personalization to recommend relevant 'next best content' offers to sustain prospects’ interest in a business and nurture them towards a sale.

Tools like Hubspot, Marketo and even SalesForce’s Einstein AI all feature personalization rules that can deliver the next best product based on where the prospect is in the buying process.

My second predictions for 2018 is an increase in the use of ‘solution builders’ i.e. build your own car, shoe, grocery list, meal, plans (B2B).

Prediction 2: 2018 will see an increase in build your own solution: Cars, Shoes, Grocery Lists, Meals, Plans (B2B).

These interactive solution builders are an awesome way to collect data exactly around what your prospect is looking for, wants or needs. As you collect these data points and weave them into your marketing automation tool (we use Pardot) website, ESP or mobile app to deliver suggestions.

For the B2B marketers, you should also consider using an interactive solution builder to aid with personalization and segmentation. You already know what content your prospect visited and/or downloaded but adding a few interactive questions in front of the asset will help you learn more about their pain points, needs, interests, and where they are in the sales cycle.

That wraps up our Marketer’s view of “Personalization Impact on Prospect & Customer Engagement Strategies”. Stay tuned for Sales and Customer Engagement.

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