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How is Personalization Changing the Face of Marketing?

In 2013, 84% of all email traffic was spam. The average person sees around 1,700 banner ads each month. Your audience is bombarded daily by companies trying to sell their products. In an oversaturated market, it’s common for consumers to get annoyed and end up ignoring all advertisements

But what if their online experience was different? What if it was completely tailored to their interests, and their friends? Feeling connected makes the difference. It creates a sense of community yet individuality all at the same time. Personalization in marketing works. We've interviewed several marketing gurus to get their opinions on the why's and the how's

Specified Content

John Jantsch (@ducttape) is a speaker, marketing consultant and bestselling author. His book Duct Tape Marketing, partners with a blog of the same name, which was named one of the 100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine. Jantsch commented that how you define personalization makes all the difference

If you stop at adding someone's first name to an email I think you're missing this changing face idea. To me, personalization happens when a marketer or salesperson can take a piece of content and make it more useful for a specific prospect or customer.

My favorite way [to do this] is to create customer- or prospect-specific news feeds, topic pages, and content collections

Most consumers know that just because their names appear at the top of an email doesn't mean you typed that email specifically for them. Personalization isn't just about fancy software, it's about providing relevant content.

A Sense of Identity

Small business expert and internet pioneer Susan Solovic (@SusanSolovic)was one of the original co-founders of the first video news sites for small businesses, Small Business Television. She is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and sought-after keynote speaker.

When it comes to marketing, Solovic agrees that personalization is the best.

We live in a high-tech world, yet consumers crave high-touch. They are tired of their calls being answered by Silicon Sally, and they want to be recognized as human beings, not a username and password or account number. Personalized marketing gives customers a sense of identity. They cease to be one of the masses, and instead become an individual with unique wants and needs. Consumers tune out mass marketing because they are bombarded by it everywhere. A personalized message that is relevant is much more likely to attract their attention and to seem more credible.  

When asked what ways her company embraces personalized marketing, Solovic responded with how she engages with her customers.

Currently, I use social media as a way to connect with my audience. I don't outsource this function because I think it is important to truly engage to be authentic. Later this year, I'm launching The Small Business Expert Academy, and I'll be using personalized video emails to virtually coach and mentor my audience.  

Nobody wants to feel like a blank face in a crowd. Focusing on the individual needs of customers will give them the sense that they are truly being heard.

Responsive Design

Jessica Sprinkel (@jessicasprinkel) earned her MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University. Sprinkel is currently the Director of Marketing Programs and an analytics software startup called Logi Analytics in Washington, DC. She explained how the latest technology allows companies to personalize their marketing.

More recently, marketers have been able to use dynamic content, which means instead of setting up individual campaigns, and trying to route prospects into the optimal one, you can create ONE campaign, ONE email, and ONE landing page – all of which display differently depending on who is on the receiving end.

The personalization of marketing is about more than just messaging.

Maybe the most important way you can personalize your website experience is through responsive design. For one of our recent campaigns, we discovered that as many as 32% of visitors were using a mobile device, and yet the page was designed for a desktop. We just rolled out responsive landing page templates across the board, with mobile-friendly features like swipe and click-to-call, and have seen conversions increase by almost 2x.

Personalization is about convenience. When a page or email is customized for him, a customer will feel like the company took the time to know him.

The Future of Marketing

Personalization is here to stay. Elle Woulfe (@ellehwoulfe) is a revenue-focused marketer with expertise in digital marketing and demand generation. She is the Director of Demand Generation at Lattice Engines.

Woulfe shared interesting insight about the future of personalization in marketing.

The next wave of personalization techniques will manifest themselves in offline touches. Smart marketers are tapping into predictive analytics and are using account level buying signals to make sure their sales reps know that a prospective customer has a product need even before the customer does. Brands that successfully implement these technologies and harness all the relevant buying signals stand to achieve a substantial competitive advantage.

Personalization in marketing is just going to get more personal. As businesses utilize new technology, soon consumers will be able to access all their "likes" before they even have a chance to search for them.

Get Personal, Get Results

Email personalization boosts open rates by 26%, and click-through rates by 97%! By 2016, more than half the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web, and customer-centric marketing increases online sales by 25%. There’s no denying it: If you want a steady increase of sales and loyal customers, personalization is the way to go.