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5 examples of personalization strategies

These real-world personalization strategies -- mixed with intent-based marketing, targeted emails and multimedia -- helped create long-lasting relationships with engaged customers.

Brands personalize content, offers and services to drive customer engagement. Basic personalization strategies, like starting an email with a customer's name, can help, even if the customer knows it's automated.

However, marketing teams can go beyond customized emails. Personalization strategies like intent-based marketing can improve the kinds of offers marketing teams make, and segmentation can help tailor marketing content to different audiences. Additionally, quizzes can engage customers and identify new personas to target. Brands can also elicit customer input to improve targeted emails or create personalized welcome videos.

Below, learn about five real-world personalization strategy examples.

1. Intent-based marketing

Intent-based marketing -- similar to account-based marketing (ABM) -- can help customize personalization efforts. For instance, Boomi, a B2B integration platform vendor, uses intent-based marketing to find the accounts and prospects actively researching technology purchases. This process pulls information from people who download white papers, various technology news services and other data sources into a customer data platform, said Divya Dutt, vice president of global web and digital experiences at Boomi.

The vendor wanted to focus on building up its marketing database with the most relevant accounts and prospects. "Our goal was to prioritize the quality of the lead over the quantity of leads," Dutt said.

The team at Boomi found this customized approach yielded better engagement with their message and increased qualified leads. It also helped them personalize the campaign based on timing, which helps align marketing with the buyer's schedule.

Teams can scale and move faster by taking similar content themes and thoughtfully adjusting the language, title and keywords to accurately fit the profile and needs of the lead.
Divya DuttVice president of global web and digital experiences, Boomi

A new campaign can be a big challenge, Dutt said, and requires significant attention to achieve the level of personalization necessary for success. Often, this strategy requires a dedicated person to execute, monitor and optimize the campaigns. This person can also make minor tweaks to the content or data to best fit the audience and find ways to thoughtfully connect with prospects.

However, marketing teams that want to use personalization often struggle with when and how to deliver appropriate content. For every topic or theme a team tracks, they need additional content tailored to those audiences.

Dutt also recommended teams avoid recreating content for each new campaign. "Teams can scale and move faster by taking similar content themes and thoughtfully adjusting the language, title and keywords to accurately fit the profile and needs of the lead," she said.

2. Segmentation

Marketing teams can also segment prospects during the onboarding process to aid in their personalization strategy.

For instance, Owler, a business analytics service provider, asks simple questions to learn about new free-tier users, such as their job functions, companies and reasons for joining the site. "This allows us to segment the audience by role and potential usage intent," said Derrick Jenkins, head of marketing at Owler.

Jenkins' team knows visitors sign up to become members for different reasons. Segmentation can help identify content that best serves the specific segment, which can drive conversions from free offerings to paid offerings that may provide more value.

Owler's marketing team captures information from various sources to analyze customers and how they use the products, including customer interviews, engagement analysis and onboarding statistics.

Teams that explore segmentation should invest time in understanding the customer, Jenkins said. He also said not to overwhelm customers with too many initial questions, as it may deter them from further engagement.

3. Quizzes

Better Tools, a wellness blog focused on millennials, uses quizzes extensively as a personalization strategy to engage with its target audience. It uses social media to post quizzes and A/B testing to identify the most engaging quiz formats, questions and incentives for potential users.

Zephyr Chan, founder of Better Tools, said the team created Facebook and Google Display ad campaigns to lead customers to the quizzes. They created short, simple questions related to the blog's content and helped the team customize content for individuals based on how they answered.

The most challenging part was getting people to take the quizzes, Chan said. Incentives such as discounts on products and services helped motivate them.

A list of benefits that personalization in marketing can bring to businesses
Personalization can help organizations engage and retain customers, among other benefits.

4. Targeted emails

One of the most common personalization strategies is targeted emails that customize offers to customer segments with similar needs. Rodney Warner, CEO of Connective Web Design, a full-service marketing agency, said targeted emails are his personal favorite, as they are easier to set up than other channels.

Warner said he has found that a good email campaign can help build a relationship with clients and increase engagement. However, marketing teams may struggle to find the right frequency to send out emails.

"Some customers want daily emails to be on the lookout for bargains, while others only browse their emails on a monthly basis," he said.

5. Personalized welcome video

Peter Krzyzek, co-founder and CTO of Chykalophia, a creative and technology agency, said his favorite follow-up marketing strategy is to create a personalized welcome video for new leads. When someone shows direct interest, they get the usual thank-you email. Then, a salesperson can make a personalized welcome video for that lead. While the video is slightly scripted, each one is also somewhat improvised and talks about the specific items and ideas presented from the lead's form information.

Krzyzek said this approach has helped conversion rates for initial sales calls and the final sale. He also cautioned that video is not a fit for various situations, and sometimes, customers may be put off by it. A/B testing can help identify if it is a good fit for a specific persona or campaign. Also, the video requires more labor to produce than an email, which may not suit smaller marketing teams with less resources.

Editor's note: TechTarget offers ABM and project intelligence data, tools and services.

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