Marketing Automation: Too Personal
As digital marketers, we can cite countless studies that illustrate how our customers want more relevance across the channels we use to engage with them on email, social media, websites and more. Yet, we also hear the constant drumbeat from consumers who are worried about how marketers are using personal data, and that perhaps we're getting too personal.
It's a double-edged sword; one that's made sharper still by the fact we don't always demonstrate that we know what personalization means.
1. Marketing Automation vs. Personalization
The term "personalization" is often misused, particularly in cases where what is positioned as personalization is actually marketing automation. There is an important distinction: Marketing automation has proven to be an effective way to target a consumer's needs or interests and maximize ROI without the drama that can come from using personal information or behavioral data.
For example, B-to-B marketers create automated email responses following a webinar sign-up that thank the customer for registering and include a special offer for a free research report. While the email may reference their recent registration and include an offer for related content, the effectiveness of this campaign is rooted primarily in its timeliness through automation.
Marketers often lump these responses into the personalization bucket, but efforts like these are all about marketing automation, even when they include data-driven content. The same goes for marketers who utilize social posts to reach fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Posting messages to a fan's news feed is typically an automated effort. Traditional social engagement does not become "personalized" until a direct conversation takes place between the consumer and the brand. And when that happens, it's usually less about marketing and more about customer service.
Let's take a closer look at some key digital channels in which marketing automation and personalized messaging intersect, and examine how the right balance can help marketers maximize ROI without subjecting themselves to privacy data drama.
Andy Zimmerman is the chief marketing officer at Evergage, a leading personalization and customer data platform (CDP) provider. Andy has more than 20 years of experience heading marketing, sales, business development and alliances at leading software companies, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.