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How marketers can take steps toward greater personalization



How to enable greater personalization in a world of impersonal experiences

“We want to be treated as individuals by the brands we do business with,” said Katie Wheeler, senior manager of product marketing at Salesforce, in a recent webinar. “But, it’s hard for companies to treat folks at the individual level because there’s so much data — there are so many platforms and devices.”

“But this is what customers expect — they expect a personalized experience,” she added.

The demand for greater customization is something brands can’t avoid. Seventy-one percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, according to McKinsey’s Next in Personalization 2021 Report. Marketers need to know what level of personalization their organizations are currently providing and what steps need to be taken to improve it.

Assess your personalization readiness

One of the foundational features of personalization is one-to-one interaction, rather than sending the same messaging and providing the same experiences to all customers. However, this can often be challenging for brands.

“A lot of companies invest in all this great technology where customer data is stored,” Wheeler said. “But it’s often siloed in different systems.”

Siloed customer data can open the door to disconnected brand experiences, preventing marketers from understanding their audiences. To enact real-time personalization at scale, brands need to know how their data is stored and how it’s used to create personalized experiences.

brand readiness for personalization
Source: Horizontal Digital and Salesforce

Wheeler recommends marketers implement technology like decision engines to scale up their personalization efforts. These technologies can use AI to track customer behavior, process the data, and then offer personalized solutions in the form of recommended actions, offers, products, etc.

Implement a phased approach

Once marketers know their brand’s level of personalization readiness, they can more easily enact the necessary changes. No matter what amount of personalization you’re dealing with, all marketers can benefit from making changes incrementally.

personalization maturity levels for marketers
Source: Horizontal Digital and Salesforce

“An important reason for starting small is that you may be facing some pushback from stakeholders,” said Matt Wash, senior manager of marketing technology and operations at Horizontal Digital, in the same webinar. “What success can look like in this phase is identifying a single channel of personalization and partnering with the [company] division that is more ready for personalization, finding successes, and proving [that success] to the rest of the organization as you progress.”

Focus on audience segments and business objectives

When enacting a marketing personalization project, marketers should first analyze primary audience data and set up benchmarks for success. Establishing these foundational data points will make it easier to scale efforts in the future, especially when detailed use cases are employed.

“Identify and prioritize use cases to execute,” said Erica Skelly, senior personalization strategist at Horizontal Digital, in the same presentation. “Look at what’s going to drive the biggest business impact with the lowest hanging fruit.”

Getting executives on board with personalization tactics is much easier with use cases that highlight successes. The more data you have, the more specific these can be, which can make it easier to tie them to business goals.

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Expand and connect additional channels

“Learn from the use cases,” said Skelly. “Look at any lift in key metrics … You can also refine or change the use case, making sure you’re enhancing the performance.”

She added, “If possible, connect a new channel to make it a multichannel approach.”

Streaming multiple data feeds from tools like CDPs can help highlight trends from these use cases. Adding these to your martech stack can show marketers which channels are performing best, which channels audience segments prefer, and more.

Skelly also suggests identifying apps, email, or any other connections marketers can use to keep customers within the sales funnel. Then, marketers can test how effective they are at engaging people at key touchpoints.

Leverage insights to create a personalized omnichannel experience

“Utilize the connectivity across the additional channels you’ve identified to bring customers back into the funnel,” Skelly said. “Drive them toward the conversion point to ensure they’re increasing the ROI based on your business objectives.”

This advanced phase of personalization is all about acceleration — scaling up your multichannel expansion, data and trend analysis, and tool integrations. Marketers can then enact more in-depth data measurement tactics such as propensity modeling and last/multitouch attribution.

brand personalization phases
Source: Horizontal Digital and Salesforce

An important thing to keep an eye on during this acceleration phase is your brand’s content. Marketing to audiences on different channels calls for varied types of content, optimized to fit the customer’s context. Marketers should use the insights gained from earlier phases to better structure their personalized messaging in a way that brings people into the funnel.

Wash noted that marketers must also be aware of the “privacy paradox,” which can help keep content/experiences personalized without breaching customers’ privacy: “Everybody wants more personalized experiences,” he said. “But, we also value our privacy and are concerned about the information we’re sharing.”

He added, “That’s something that needs to be constantly assessed when looking for opportunities for personalization.”

Watch this webinar presentation at Digital Marketing Depot.

About The Author

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.

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Salesforce winter 2023 release: The business executive’s guide



Salesforce winter 2023 release: The business executive's guide

More than 150,000 companies are Salesforce customers. Salesforce’s share of the CRM market is about 25%. 

Few customers take advantage of the thrice-yearly release updates rolled out to every Salesforce user. I get it. Folks aren’t always paying attention to the releases because they’re focused on running their business, tending to the million things that come up each day. 

The full edition of this Winter’s ‘23 Release comes in at over 700 pages. The boiled-down, brass-tacks summary is still 32 pages.

Few business executives have the time and bandwidth to keep up with the ins and outs of these updates. Your admins and marketing operations people may slog through the whole doc but may not connect the dots between business initiatives and platform functionality. 

This series will connect those dots. I’ll summarize what you need to know about the latest release in five key categories: commerce, sales, service, marketing and loyalty programs.

I’ll cover the features that will help you make better decisions for your business and maximize how you use the platform. 

Based on features in this release, Salesforce is focused on:

  • Improving the base platform (adding ease that your hands-on admin and developer teams have requested for a long time).
  • Creating even more ways to connect with customers.
  • Offering more industry-tailored options that bring value to a business more quickly.

Robust support for subscription selling added to Commerce 

Adding a subscription pricing model benefits most businesses, whether you’re a fan belt manufacturer or an artisan dog food company.

Making it easier for your customer to buy your product is always a win-win, and this release makes implementing subscriptions more seamless from the backend with the Connect API tool. 

Connect API resources now support subscriptions and multiple product-selling models: 

  • One-time sales where products are sold for specific prices once. 
  • Term sales offer time-limited subscriptions. Products are sold and renewed for a specific amount of time, e.g. 12 months. 
  • Evergreen subscriptions offer products on a recurring basis until canceled.

Configuring charges for collecting local taxes in international jurisdictions was also enabled. 

Dig deeper: Salesforce unveils features to boost automation for marketing and sales

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Additions to sales enablement functionality

Overall, I’m loving the general focus on enablement through enhancements with dynamic forms, screen flows, and Slack integration. 

Teams can now build and launch enablement programs that drive to the most important KPIs for your business. You can now focus on specifics, like programs for a particular region or product, and offer incentives to drive business from them. 

And, dynamic form improvements mean end-users have more flexibility with fields and sections to display on page layouts. 

Sales teams can now better access, update, share records and get important notifications on their key accounts directly within Slack using a new integration. Sales can collaborate in account- and opportunity-focused Slack channels while accessing Salesforce data. 

And, you can make it easier for sales teams to work with colleagues throughout the enterprise in departments such as fulfillment, shipping, and finance. This is enabled using Slack and providing real-time access to data stored in Salesforce to everyone who needs it.

Next time, I’ll dive into the latest service, marketing, and loyalty programs features included in the Winter 2023 release.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Joe Anzalone

Joe is Vice President, Salesforce Technology at Shift7 Digital. As a member of the Shift7 leadership team, Joe works to craft solutions and architectures that meet ambitious client goals using the power of the Salesforce platform, including product ownership for Shift7’s Industry GTM Accelerators. Joe brings more than 20 years of experience implementing Salesforce and other digital platforms including enterprise solutions and complex technology implementations. He sits on the Salesforce B2B Commerce product advisory board. Shift7 Digital is a Salesforce Ventures-backed agency, revolutionizing the digital experience for manufacturers, distributors, and their customers.

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