Marketing Automation and Personalization – How To Strike the Right Balance

By Michael Brenner

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What do you think of when you hear the word marketing ‘automation’? For many of us, the word conjures images of cold industrial practices, long rows of robot machinery on the production line, spam emails with generic, impersonal greetings.

None of these things are very good, let’s be honest. I think if you went out and spoke to the man or woman in the street, and asked them if they’d prefer a company to deal with them on a personal level or with automated practices, there would only be one answer. Hint: they probably wouldn’t choose the robots.

But we can flip this a little. What about if we asked them to describe the best customer interaction they had ever experienced? Which company provided this? What happened? How did the organization go above and beyond in delivering great service and an incredible experience at each and every point of contact?

Next, we could ask them, do you think this great experience was supported by a personal touch, or by automated marketing processes? Probably, most would vote for the former, and, probably, most would be wrong.

Hidden in plain sight

Of course, this is what we want. We want to provide great experience to our customers, and we want to offer interaction with genuine worth, which meets the requirements of the consumer whenever they come into contact with us. When we engage with a customer – no matter what stage of the product’s or service’s life cycle they find themselves at – we must tailor this engagement to the specific needs and objectives of that customer, and also to our own aims for that particular individual.

This requires intimate consumer knowledge. For businesses operating on a very small scale, this may be achievable in a natural, personalized manner. If our client base is very small, we may be able to reach out to clients individually, holding data profiles on each customer and managing that data ourselves. However, as businesses grow, this becomes unfeasible.

Instead, we must use automation to segment customer groups. This gives us the opportunity to provide smart levels of generic support, geared to a particular group, providing products, services, and support which fit in with their expectations.

In this sense, our What Marketers Say: Marketing Automation No-nos

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