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Making Mass Marketing Personal

It’s Personal
In this Web 2.0 era, audience focus is more important than ever.  Many companies spend an enormous sum of money on collecting information about their customers’ key attributes, but  few companies– studies show –take full advantage of that valuable information.  The truth is, procuring customer data doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and if you already have a CRM system in place, you have the necessary repository for it. 

The value of having personal customer data is not to be underestimated: It enables companies to transcend the environment of automation and impersonal cold calls and to connect with the customer on a one-to-one level.  In a recent blog article, Tony Compton, CMO at Infor, was quoted saying, “A whole new breed of customers will be magnetically drawn to companies that allow them to customize their experience and reflect who they are…They want to manage their persona, and that persona may change.”

Ask for the Data
Identifying and tracking client “personas” requires those tech capabilities that are likely already in place for your organization, (as well as a bit of creative thinking).  Have your website’s signup or sales inquiry pages include two or three simple questions regarding the customer’s area(s) of interest, location, or social demographic.  Get their name, and use it!  Allow your site visitors to customize their Web experience in every way possible.  The customer information that you receive using these tactics can easily be channeled into your CRM system and logged in the customer’s record.

Personalize Your Programs
Once you’ve collected this valuable customer information, how can you use it effectively to personalize mass marketing initiatives using the technology that is already in place?  First, you segment.  You’ve got the data, now you –for the purposes of marketing – identify your clients by attributes rather than by customer history. 

Then, you apply that information to your communications.  And communications – while methodical and automated – must be targeted based on the segmenting you performed.  There is no doubt that marketing automation capabilities are a major benefit of CRM systems.  And, while the term may imply otherwise, marketing automation does not preclude marketing initiatives from reaching customers on a personal level. 

Using dynamic html emails that are “tailored” to a niche of customers are going to be more relevant to the reader than the average mass emails, and therefore less likely to end up in a junk mail box.  Addressing customers by name in all communications makes the recipient feel recognized.  Sending targeted offers is an effective way to increase customer redemption. Personalized print-on-demand collateral can make your company standout. And, showing personalized web pages based on history will increase your website conversions.

Increase Your ROI
Basically, the more relevant the information is to the individual recipient, the more likely he is to perceive your company as aware of and responsive to his needs. That perception is powerful: it can create leads, sell products, and build customer loyalty.  For these reasons, personalizing your mass marketing is invaluable.

[Photo courtesy of ekklesia360.]