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Personalization: How to Build Engagement in an Impersonal World

Marketers are fighting harder than ever to acquire new customers and engage the ones they have. But establishing relationships and personalizing marketing is becoming increasingly complex. Customers expect brands to understand their needs and are more aware of how their data is used. Targeting and personalization are under threat as data privacy concerns take center stage. And with budgets having to keep up with ever-growing media spends, marketers need to do so much more with less.

In this session, Exclaimer CMO Carol Howley explores how marketers need to pivot towards being more authentic and how utilizing every channel you own in a coordinated way can support both demand generation and building long-term relationships.

The state of marketing

As a marketer today, you have to fight harder to acquire new customers and engage the ones you have. But establishing relationships, building communities, and personalizing marketing are becoming increasingly complex.

Today's customer expects you to understand their needs perfectly. 76% of consumers admit to getting frustrated when they don't receive personalized experiences. They don't just expect personalization; they demand it. Customers will go elsewhere if they don't receive the personalized interaction they require.

At the same time, customers are now more aware of how their data is being used. From comprehensive regulations like GDPR to upcoming privacy changes, targeting and personalization have become more challenging than ever as data privacy concerns take center stage.

That's not all. Tighter marketing budgets are having to keep up with ever-growing media spends. For example, the average person in the U.S. is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day. This puts marketers in a position where they have to do much more with less. And with the "TikTokification" of social media, you're navigating algorithm changes that make building communities on social media platforms more challenging.

It's frankly impossible to grow a business sustainably without a strong customer focus. This is done through building lasting relationships, delivering value quickly, and engaging them at every stage of the buyer's journey with personalized marketing. The aim always has to be to support customers long-term and live up to the promises you present them with.

So how can you use every digital channel you own in a personalized and coordinated fashion while supporting demand generation and building long-term engagement?

It's all about personalization

One of the biggest growth levers available to marketers is to actively engage potential and current customers through personalization. However, the marketing landscape has fundamentally changed. As the world has shifted to a post-COVID hybrid/remote working model, it's become increasingly harder to obtain new customers and avoid losing the ones we already have.

This change has meant that consumer expectations have escalated dramatically. 71% of consumers now expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. Personalization is now the default when it comes to engagement across digital media, mobile, and in-person interactions.

But delivering personalization has become more difficult because customers are now more protective over their data. 81% have become so concerned with sharing their data that they have taken proactive action to restrict what they share. And there are more privacy restrictions incoming such as the removal of third-party cookies on websites. This means marketers face the challenge of delivering personalized services that will drive company growth while respecting data privacy concerns.

Winning engagement strategies

To deliver growth through personalization, brands must consistently offer value, use every available channel, and focus on engagement. There are opportunities and patterns that marketers can leverage to make this a reality, approaching personalization in the way that’s right for your business.

Here are our top five approaches to make personalization work within your marketing strategy.

Create personalized marketing strategies

1. Put customers at the heart of your business

Don't see customer engagement as a marketing issue measured solely by your NPS (Net Promoter Score). It should be treated as a companywide opportunity. Organizations that approach personalization as a critical strategic objective often achieve the best results. This is based on a desire to put customers at the heart of business.

For ultimate success, customers must be the focus of every department. This makes engagement more authentic, ensuring that your organization's product/service and overall experience live up to the promises made. Today's customers can easily see through brands that fail to deliver and are quick to turn away from bad experiences.

This means you must make difficult decisions regarding protecting your customer experience. It's a trend we see across many B2B and B2C companies - and it's here to stay.

2. Lean into data and analytics

There is an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced every day. This will increase to 463 exabytes of data by 2025. Investing in data and insights is critical to making your business agile and resilient in the face of change. The ability to make data-driven decisions means you can quickly determine what content to serve specific customers, track successful activities, and make continuous improvements.

However, you need to be aware of the aforementioned data privacy issues. You must update your data strategies to share relevant ads and measure campaign success. This could mean reviewing your tech stack with the latest advertising measurement solutions that comply with the modern privacy landscape or updating your privacy playbook. Hence, you comply with all data legislation.

Meaure your personalization efforts constantly

3. Scale your performance marketing based on your business growth phase

As Exclaimer is a scale-up organization, we strongly believe in performance marketing. As a B2B brand, we focus on Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter, along with digital advertising, content syndication, and so on. Earned media also has an important place as it ensures we present the right stories to the right audiences, as does the optimization of third-party review sites like G2.

No matter what phase of business growth you're experiencing, consistency across all channels is essential to get your message across effectively.

4. Build a dynamic content engine to strengthen your brand

Content is king for most businesses. Performance marketing eventually plateaus when optimization no longer drives desired business results. This leads to the opportunity to build a strong brand through content that has a clear point-of-view and adds value for your audiences. However, this content should not just focus on your products and how "great" you are; it should be much broader.

Here at Exclaimer, we are moving our marketing efforts to a demand-generation model. This is based on a content engine that uses our brand, staff, community, and customer stories. Even though it is a work in progress, we are seeing some promising early results, bringing out our personality and giving customers a much more human experience.

Create a content engine

5. Drive growth by diversifying your channel mix

It's important that your company never relies on only one marketing channel. This is essential given the rapid changes to an advertising world that is focused on data privacy.

Marketers should invest in brand building early on in order to navigate challenges such as GDPR, privacy concerns, and algorithm changes to social media channels. As performance marketing eventually peaks, the best brands are consistent, recognizable, and have a clear point of view.

Deliver authentic engagement across all channels

It’s fair to say that the value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying. For marketers today, using every possible channel in the right way for your stage of growth is vital in building a competitive advantage in today’s digital world. This means optimizing channels that may have been overlooked.

When used correctly, the standard corporate email that your company sends on a daily basis becomes a powerful communication channel for personalized marketing. Through professional email signature templates, an organization can broaden its social media reach, promote the latest content, showcase brand personality, provide fast customer feedback, improve employee efficiency, and extend the reach of all marketing campaigns.

Easy to roll out an integrated campaign - so the whole company and people outside the company know what offers are live. Great to announce upcoming events, webinars, and product launches. Sharvari Dorwat, Symec Technologies

Conclusion

Whether you want to start small or make significant changes, personalization should play a part in any company's marketing strategy. After all, it's the key to building loyal customer relationships for the long term. In fact, companies that use personalized marketing have seen up to 20% higher retention rates than those that don’t!

Using personalization proactively means never missing an opportunity to speak to your customers and supporting them wherever they are in the buying process. When you focus on what is important to your target audience, they will become more engaged with your brand and purchase from you more often. This means having a clear understanding of who they are, how they behave, and why they do certain things (e.g., what motivates them). Once you know this information, you can start using it in order to create personalized experiences for each one of them across all channels, including through your email signatures.

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