You go to the mailbox today, and there are two envelopes there. Both are invitations to an upcoming social event. One is addressed to “sir or madam,” has a generic event description and a “plus one.” The second addresses you by name, describes why you should be interested in this event, and uses personal details to connect. Both events are on the same day and time. To which one do you RSVP? If you’re like most people, you clear the calendar for the second event, and start picking out what you’re going to wear. That’s because you know the person who invited values and appreciates you. Now, imagine when that level of personalization is applied to an inbound marketing campaign. This is a powerful opportunity. When a consumer is looking at products, services or ideas on the Internet, they are not looking for generics. Part of the success behind Pinterest, for example, is the ability to gather ideas from around the Internet, regardless of website. Today’s savvy consumer knows what they want, and is adapting to sophisticated tools to find them. Personalized websites and design help narrow the decision for consumers, guiding them through the selection and buying process.
According to research, consumers are fatigued by conventional mass-market techniques. Digital media, like DVRs and podcasts, let consumers skip over the commercial content they don’t find relevant. That’s why marketers have responded with sponsored content, integrated into the entertainment material. In an article at Direct Marketing News, Natasha D. Smith notes personalized emails increase click-through rates by almost 250 percent and boost revenue-per-opened email by 412 percent, because consumers value content that refers to them directly. Imagine now what that means for printed marketing materials. We have already discussed how Millennials enjoy direct mail, now imagine the increased effectiveness when that direct-mail appeal is augmented by additional consumer data, based on buyer preferences. Location marketing is another aspect of personal technology. Many shopping apps now use geo-fencing and other location-based technology to reach consumers in-store. But direct-mail targeting, localized to specific shopping areas and using personal data, can help get consumers into the store in the first place. These two concepts, working together, can deliver impressive results, taking advantage of cultivated consumer interest with proximity appeals (like advertisements or coupons appearing on an app when a consumer is near a specific retail display). Personalized marketing helps bridge the gap between impersonal digital communication and in-person interactions. Personalized content is going to be the norm going forward; your business should be ready to engage with consumers at all stages for their purchasing journey. By Mark Pageau, vice president, sales and marketing email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: mpageau