There is a lot of talk these days about personalization--or more precisely, individualization. And for some, it might seem like all the hype came out of the blue. The concept isn't new by any means: time and again, we've seen that successful marketing and selling really come down to personal connection and relationships--and usually it takes a bit of work to forge them with potential customers.
So, what happened?
Marketing automation made marketing a lot easier, SaaS made it even easier and well, personalization expanded from the real environment to the virtual environment. According to the State of Automation Report, 2014, 66% of marketers surveyed believe the best benefits of marketing automation are enhanced targeting and personalization. 82% of those already using marketing automation are using a SaaS platform to do so--and it's no secret that SaaS made the technology more accessible than ever.
It makes sense when you think about, marketing automation drives individualization because it automates and streamlines traditional marketing workflows designed to gather attributes and preferences of anonymous prospective customers. Marketers send marketing emails, create unique landing pages for content and product offers and gather and organize data about each individual -- all with the press of a button.
More importantly, the ability to nurture individual relationships and increase the amount and quality of information about each contact to find qualified leads has allowed marketers to adapt to evolving online shopping behavior. And, it's also uncovered tools and practices now adopted by publishers to engage readers and increase Revenue per Reader.
Marketing automation streamlines the process of gathering reader data and applying that knowledge about prospective customers to target promotions, product development and sales tactics. It is all about the efficient application of data from multiple sources.
And yes, you've heard all about Big Data, but really at the end of the day, all of this is about one thing: giving customers what they want. Because, if you do that, you increase revenue.
Individualization is easier than ever for publishers, and it is driven by marketing automation practices applied to publishing systems. What is individualization? It's about:
- Identifying a reader's content preferences, online behavior (when and what content accessed) and even budget, as they come in contact with various parts of your ecosystem.
- Tailoring each reader's experience--in real time--to present the most relevant content, multimedia and calls to action.
Why is individualization important? For readers, time and attention span are in short supply. The ability to target specific needs based on past purchases and current behavior will:
- Increase engagement, which translates into more articles read, more pages viewed, more time on site.
- Help you fine tune reader experience: if you have a metered paywall, how many free articles should you offer at what discount level, if any, in order to close a sale?
- Increase perceived value - the more resources become readily available, in a reader's preferred format, the more likely they will be to return and buy.
What are the biggest advantages born from the automation/individualization/SaaS suite?
- You can do all this without IT personnel: You become more nimble, and they can focus on development. More importantly, your focus can shift to strategy and execution instead of working harder to deliver content through multiple channels.
- Increased conversions: The more engaged your reader, the more loyal they will become. When you reward visitors with the right content at the right time they progress deeper into your sales funnel. They don't have to plug in new information or do the research, your website and your emails do it for them.
- Increased content consumption: Visitors can't possibly know about ALL the content you have that is relevant to them, but you do, and you need only present it to them to spark interest and likely, engagement, subscriptions and purchases.
- You extend the life of your content: By gathering the relevant data about your anonymous visitors--like company, industry, location and behavior--you can present them with your existing content and thereby repurpose it. You don't need new content to get new conversions, you just need to cast your net a little wider. Meanwhile, your "familiar" visitors are helping you determine what your new content should be.
While the idea of individualization is not new, you can cut through the hype to see how you can build relationships that directly benefit your business, create loyal customers and deliver value to readers and advertisers. Want an example? Check out Intelligence Press.