Mass Personalization

We see it all the time, yet we don’t always do it. It’s a critical part of building relationships with customers.

I’m talking about personalization. It really makes a difference.

No, not a simple “Dear Marie” at the start of your email. I mean real personalization that creates relevance. Relevance that leads to great things — engagement, relationships, sales, upsells, etc. Some studies in retail show that as many as 77 percent of consumers report they have made additional purchases when they encountered personalized product recommendations. And there’s no arguing that a significant percentage of customers now expect to be communicated with on a personal and targeted basis, with personalized messaging based on what they’ve done, bought or told you they want.

A significant percentage of consumers not only welcome but expect…personalized experiences and product recommendations.”

Plus, we all know it’s easier and less expensive to reactivate a current customer than to acquire new ones. So why wouldn’t you leverage what you know about your customers to differentiate what you say to them? Each one of them.

To reinvigorate your email campaigns, start by either adding in a personalization element, or better yet supercharging the personalization you already use.

  • 1. Take a look at your data. What do you know about your customers, and how can you organize it to help customize your messaging to them?
  • 2. Reformat your templates to allow for simple personalization like first names in an introduction and meaningful mentions throughout the email. Make it sound genuine and not contrived, however.
  • 3. Begin to add in more relevance-based personalization like purchase history, recommendations and content. Stuff like “since you bought this item last month, you may be interested in this to complement it” or “since you clicked on this article link, you may be interested in this new content too.”

It’s easier than you think. It doesn’t take alot of time. Change your process, organize your data, and put the thought into what makes the most sense from your customer’s perspective. Then charge ahead.

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The Dark Ages Persist

They’re still out there. You know who they are. They’ll all around us.

They’re people who still do it the old way. Still live in the dark ages and do it just because. Still do it because it’s too much work to change.

I ran into some of them today. They called me, on my personal iPhone no less. How they got the number I DO NOT know, and they would not tell me. They work for Fidelity Home Mortgage, some shady mortage company in California. They called me to offer some kind of home mortgage deal — the shady kind, of course (it’s a shady company, what’d you expect?). There were no questions about me or my needs or even if it’s okay if they called, they just launched right into a canned, continuous schpiel. My response to that was to ask how they got my number, in which case they didn’t answer but launched into another schpiel. I told them it was on the Do Not Call list and they should change their practices, and they launched into an apology and took my number and assured me it’d be removed.

Let’s count the offenses:
1. Buying telemarketing lists to cold call with no knowledge of the customer they’re calling, OR harvesting numbers from somewhere — one or the other (or possibly both, who knows, they’re shady)
2. Not buying DNC-scrubbed lists, OR not DNC-scrubbing their own list — one or the other
3. Not asking the customer ANY questions about their needs, just monologue-pushing their own product
4. Not offering customers a product customized for them, just some generic schpiel
5. Not even knowing if the customer wants or needs their product, just pushing their product blindly
6. Not engaging customers with knowledgable brand ambassadors — customers hear from a robotic employee reading relentlessly off of a script (not the kind of thing that endears you to anyone — read about how they explain it on their own website)

Benn through this lately? More importantly, know any marketers that still operate this way? Please tell me it’s not you.

Listen, take a good, long look at the way you work if it sounds like what you just read above. It’s a tough economy, but customers don’t settle for subpar treatment just because it’s tough. And when things get better, do you really think customers are going to go back and settle for what it was like before? Think they’re gonna come back to the same old thing?

Are you engaging customers in a dialogue? Do you target your marketing messages based on customer knowledge? Are you innovating your tactics? Are you a thought-leader in social media? Are you reading about what technology is coming next and preparing now to evolve your tactics in the future? Do you talk to customers regularly, not to sell them something but to learn about what makes them tick or keeps them up at night? Are you leveraging content?

Charge ahead and change your ways wherever the answer is “No” above.