Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Modern Marketing Blog Influencer Series: Bullseye: How to Personalize Your Content Marketing at ...

“The Modern Marketing Influencer Blog Series asked top influencers from across the marketing spectrum what’s on their minds and what topics and pressing issues in their fields they feel are begging for more insight. Here they share their thoughts on content marketing, personalization, and how they both come together.

The essence of successful marketing is getting the right message to the right person at the right time. The problem, of course, is that those are three very elusive variables, and locking them all down has traditionally required a great deal of manual effort. But sophisticated automation built into best-in-class marketing platforms can reduce this manual effort, making large-scale personalization possible.

Over the years, marketers have devised ways to balance specificity and effort to scale their personalization efforts. Account-based marketing, for example, focuses on a small segment of high-value prospects with targeted messaging, but it is limited to enterprise-size prospects, which are not necessarily your best prospects. Progressive profiling is another way to learn who your audience is and what they’re looking for, but it takes a long time and requires a great deal of input from your audience. What if your best prospects never come to your website to fill out a profile?

The Role of Automation

When you can personalize at scale, you can reach smaller organizations with highly targeted messaging. That requires powerful tools that allow you to:

  1. Aggregate offline and online data from a variety of sources, including public channels, such as social media or blog posts
  2. Derive insights based on the data
  3. Then deliver a personalized experience to smaller and smaller audience segments
Insights, Triggers, and Plays

Raw data on its own isn’t of much use unless you understand what it means and what to do with it. You must identify these insights by gleaning the data and then set triggers to perform marketing plays when the data meets certain criteria.

Insights tell you what you want to know about the nature of the account; that is, what’s going on with them? One familiar approach to this is lead scoring, in which certain actions are assigned a value: a newsletter signup is worth 5 points, for example, while downloading content is worth 10. But this is something of a blunt instrument that fails to tell the full story. By drawing in external information, you can find far more refined insights that don’t depend on a prospect’s interactions with your brand at all. And you can consider the sequence of a prospect’s actions, adding an entirely new trend dimension to your analysis. Are they growing or shrinking? Are they making money or not? What industry are they in? What are their priorities? What do they need to meet these objectives?

You can also glean insights into individuals within those accounts: who they are, what role they have, what they're working on, and what tools they're using. Best-in-class marketing platforms (such as Oracle Eloqua) can provide AI and machine learning to assist in this process.

Triggers are thresholds for action. They represent a collection of data, or even a sequence of activities, that indicate an account or individual message you’ve crafted to suit that set of circumstances. Like insights, these can be at the account or individual level.

Marketing plays are the actions that follow a trigger to get individuals or accounts engaged. They might include targeted messaging, offers, or calls from sales reps.

Technology Does Not Equal Strategy

While technology can assist in this process, it can’t do everything. Even sophisticated technology is a tool to implement strategy, not replace it. You still must start with a fundamental understanding of who your customer is. Two ways of going about this include asking:

  1. Who is our target account? What do our target accounts look like and why? If you're selling into healthcare, your target account list is not just the biggest healthcare companies. What are the attributes and characteristics of accounts that make them more likely to be good matches for your company? How do you build that filtered list of prospects to begin with? What tools can you use to help you identify other healthcare companies that meet (or on a trajectory to meet) those criteria as well?
  2. Who are the decision-makers within those organizations? Buildings do not write checks. You must identify the people who will decide whether they will do business with you or not. You can break these down even further along roles, both formal and informal: decision-makers, influencers, detractors, and users. If you can understand who those people are, what they care about, and what they're thinking at various stages of the buying journey, you can target them with the right message at the right time.

Now we have a basis for creating powerful, engaging content. We’ve set up a system that helps us manage and bring value to those individuals throughout that buying process. Not only does that build trust, rapport, and differentiation, but it also helps to increase velocity and conversion.

Learn more about leveling up your content marketing with personalization by reading “Interactive Content Marketing: Taking Personalized Marketing to the Next Level.”

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from Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud