Back in 2002, director Steven Spielberg shared a vision of what the future of personalized marketing might look like in his sci-fi noir film, Minority Report.
Marketers have been chasing this concept for decades, understanding that personalized messages are the most successful in terms of conversions and sales. The internet has changed the game, however, paving the way for Big Data initiatives that allow businesses to collect huge amounts of information, analyzing it to reveal insights about individual customers.
As technology improves, we’re moving closer to the one-to-one messaging Tom Cruise experienced at the Gap.
People want personalized marketing…
The ability to better personalize marketing also coincides neatly with greater demand from customers. People are increasingly busy, leaving them little time (or patience) for generic, irrelevant advertising.
This means that there is not only the potential for personalized marketing but that clients recognize the benefits of tailored messages. According to research conducted by Yahoo, consumers prefer personalized ads, finding them more engaging (54%), educational (52%), time-saving (49%) and memorable (45%) than general ads.
So, it may mean that your marketing campaigns yield better results by sending fewer, more targeted messages.
…but first you have to know them
Over 20 years ago the British copywriter Drayton Bird outlined the difficulties of crafting a successful sales letter:
You have to write in a way so engaging that what you have to say becomes interesting to those who receive it – who will be, more often than not, strangers with no desire to read what you write. Moreover, almost invariably, you will not know as much as you would like about those readers.
Although sales letters are on the decline, the same challenge still faces marketers in 2016. Whether your business is posting letters, sending emails, or engaging prospects via social media, personalization will have a huge bearing on success.
When it comes to social media marketing, the picture becomes even more complex. The latest stats from the Global Web Index suggests that the average digital consumer now has almost 7 social accounts – and they engage with 3.5 of them.
And each of these accounts has a different use. LinkedIn tends to be for professional connections while Facebook is favored for use with friends and family. As a result, the user only shows one facet of their personality and interests on each platform – monitoring a single social platform will result in an unbalanced understanding of the individual.
And an incomplete picture of your prospects will lead to less relevant messaging and missed opportunities.
Social listening – the key to successful personalized marketing
The good news is that the necessary technology and platforms are now in place to help gather background information on your customers and prospects. However, it is often a long game – collecting information across each touchpoint to assemble a complete picture of each individual.
The process can be simplified by centralizing the data collation and analysis process. As you interact with prospects, you have the opportunity to collect more information and use it to increase your knowledge and understanding of the individual.
As with most other facets of social media marketing, the first step is to listen and observe – particularly to those individuals who have shown an interest in your brand and products. Use your social platform to monitor updates and sentiment – what customers mean is as important as what they are saying.
You can then use these observations to segment prospects based on their interests, rather than typical demographic data like age, location, or job title. Tapping into people’s interests will be of far greater interest than simply targeting “best guess” messages based on what you think these people enjoy.
Personalization goes beyond marketing
The time and effort spent on building a detailed understanding of your prospects will pay off in the long term. Not only will you be better able to target pre-sales social messaging to their needs, but also future offers once they have converted.
These preferences may change over time, so it’s vital that your social media team continues to monitor contacts to detect these alterations and update your records accordingly. A good understanding of individual preferences can also be used to tailor the service offered to your existing customers, improving satisfaction levels and offering an incentive for repeat business.
Personalized marketing as a competitive advantage
Ultimately, anything you can do to deliver a personalized service to your customers becomes a competitive advantage – even in the earliest stages of a new marketing campaign. And if your messages continue to tap into the interests of your prospects and customers, you stand a far better chance of keeping them engaged long term, which will result in a far greater lifetime value of the relationship.
To learn more using social media listening to drive marketing personalization and more, please get in touch to arrange a quick demonstration of the Falcon Social platform.