We live in an age of personalization. Armed with more data than ever before, businesses now have the opportunity to move away from mass marketing ‘blasts’ and toward increasingly targeted, personalized messages.
Consumers across industries are welcoming this opportunity. Ad blocking is on the rise, with an estimated 86 million U.S. internet users actively suppressing promotional messages online this year. At the same time, personalized marketing and particularly email messages generate significantly higher attention, engagement, and transaction rates than their non-customized counterparts.
Increasingly, your audience expects personalization. And fortunately, the ability to gather and utilize data about your audience has made the process significantly more realistic for small and medium businesses to implement.
The Rise of Big Data and Data-Driven Marketing
A few years ago, big data officially became a topic for businesses. The rise of online marketing has enabled us to collect a large variety of information about our audience, allowing us to draw insights that can help create more relevant and personalized messages for potential and current customers.
That rise of data, in turn, has led to an emphasis on data-driven marketing. As Ad Week points out, basing every marketing decisions on data you have gathered about your audience has turned from a novel approach into an integral business process in the course of just a few years. Your audience knows that you’re collecting information about them online. Now, they expect you to actually turn that information into value for them.
Turning Big Data into Actionable Insights
Of course, there’s a significant problem with big data and data-driven marketing that has long plagued small and medium businesses: the resources needed to accomplish that feat. Thanks to advertising platforms like Facebook, Google Analytics, and more, everyone can gather the sort of data needed to personalize your marketing. But few organizations actually have the budget and manpower necessary to turn that data into actual, data-driven insights and actions.
As a result, the last few years have not just given rise to the importance of data. They have also widened the gap between audience expectations and small/medium business capabilities. Your largest competitors may be able to interpret and use real-time data, but if you can’t, you’ll fall behind in the eyes of your audience.
Fortunately, the past may be the past. Increasingly, thanks to machine learning technology, data collection and pattern recognition are becoming more available to businesses of all sizes. In fact, machine learning has officially entered the sphere of possibilities in small business marketing.
How To Personalize Your Marketing Using Data
Every business can collect data about their audience. And thanks to machine learning, even small businesses can now use that data to create actual, personalized marketing strategies.
The reason, as Tech Emergence shows, lies in the increasing availability of technology. Tools like IBM Watson, for example, allow businesses of all sizes to recognize patterns in their data and even predict user behavior for a reasonable cost.
But pattern recognition still does not get to the core of the potential advantage of data collection: marketing personalization. Ultimately, your audience doesn’t care about the insights you gain if you can’t use these insights to actually personalize the messages your audience receives. Fortunately, that capability is also increasingly available.
Recent examples show: personalization is not dependent on business size. The startup Doggyloot, for example, simply segmented its customers based on the size of their dogs to send more relevant messages. The result is a significant increase in marketing success.
Marketing personalization, in other words, is no longer limited to large businesses. Customizing your messages based on your audience will reliably increase your marketing success, and does not depend on a large budget. All you need is the right software.
The Importance of a Powerful CRM for Personalization Success
In essence, it’s simple: the death of personalization is complicated data. Of course, you have to collect that data needed to customize your marketing messages in the first place. But if you cannot sort or use that data for your own automated needs, you probably won’t succeed in building a reliable strategy that helps and attracts your audience.
That’s where customer relationship management software comes into play. Ultimately, it allows you to gather customer-specific information in a reliable database. Then, you can use that information for increasingly personalized messages and marketing outreach.
Personalization comes down to two elements: audience segmentation and personalized messages. The right CRM allows you to do both:
- Create customer lists and workflows based on characteristics and actions recorded in your contacts’ profiles.
- Dynamically substitute in characteristics, such as your recipients’ first names or company size, into your email messages.
Of course, either of these steps can only be reliable if your CRM is powerful enough to gather every bit of information you can find about your potential and current customers. In other words, you need a software solution that is not only affordable for a business of your size, but can also integrate with other marketing tools – such as lead generation tools – to become the central hub of your personalized marketing efforts.
That’s where Microsoft Dynamics comes into play. It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions available today, but still offers pricing options that make it affordable for small and medium businesses. Once you have installed the software and begin to integrate your marketing efforts, you can take advantage of the numerous benefits that personalization brings with it. To learn more about Dynamics, and using your CRM to better customize your marketing for your audience’s individual needs, contact us.