Choose Marketing Personalisation over Automation – The shop assistant who treats each customer equally, the sales representative who reads the same script to those who pick up the phone, the marketer who sends the same email to all her subscribers.
There is nothing wrong with this, isn’t it?
The shop assistant figured that it was inefficient to listen to each customer individually, and decided to create some common rules to be used no matter who the customer is.
This helped her serve more customers quicker.
The sales representative who was behind her targets for the month, decided that she could read from and apply a script to each of the people she called on the phone.
This helped her make more calls.
The marketer got tired of sending personalised emails to each of her customers, so she came up with an email template that could be sent to all her subscribers.
This helped her send more emails…and so it is that marketing automation was born.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the process of using technology to make marketing activities easier to manage, more efficient and more financially viable.
At Hubspot, they are fooling themselves (and their audience) when they say:
Many marketing departments automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns — not just for the sake of efficiency, but so they can provide a more personalized experience for their customers. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier((What is Marketing Automation? – Hubspot.com)).
The people at Market are a lot more honest about it:
It [marketing automation] enables companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster((Marketing Automation – Marketo.com)).
The last two sentences from each quote are key to understand the trend. Marketing Automation:
- Makes these tasks easier
- Can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster
All of the sudden, the key metrics for marketers became speed, efficiency and revenue
If you have read my post about stories vs case studies, you might have guessed where I am going with this.
There is nothing wrong with being efficient and fast, as long as you understand where the focus is.
In the case of marketing automation, it’s clear that the focus is on the process (efficiency, speed, etc.) and reach (more calls, more emails, etc.).
What if you switch toe focus back to your audience? Entering marketing personalisation.
What is Marketing Personalisation?
Marketing personalisation, also known as personalised marketing or one-to-one-marketing, is the practice of using technology to listen to and deliver personalised experiences to your audience.
In the words used by the people at Mailchimp, marketing personalisation is:
The practice of using analytics to make advertising messages and product experiences feel unique to each customer. Personalized marketing is much more than just inserting the customer name into the same marketing email that goes to all of your customers. It’s about reaching the right person with the right message at the right moment with the right suggestions((Personalized Marketing – Mailchimp.com)).
This definition is at the core of marketing personalisation. The last sentence addresses three key aspects of this type of marketing:
- The audience
- The timing
- The suggestion (to solve the challenge)
In this approach it’s clear that the focus is on your audience.
All of the sudden, you are not marketing anymore: you are building connections!
It all sounds great, you might say, but what about selling and generating revenue? Would this approach not limit the number of sales or revenue generated?
Funny enough, companies that applied marketing personalisation as their strategy experienced an increase in sales((Ariker, M. et al. ‘Personalized at Scale’, 1 November 2015 – Mckinsey.com)) and revenue:
40% of U.S. consumers say they have purchased something more expensive than they originally planned because their experience was personalized((The 2017 State of Personalization Report – Segment.com)).
As part of the H2H movement, you are called to move from selling to building connections and trust.
While efficiency and speed are not an evil in itself, they might lead to placing the focus on the process rather than the audience, which will ultimately result in loss of trust and brand loyalty.
When in doubt, choose marketing personalisation over automation.