Five Key Ingredients for a Winning Recipe to Automate Personalized Marketing

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by Kari Woolf

posted on 01-16-2018

Automation to improve customer targeting is on just about every marketer’s mind these days. We’re all grappling with how to drive personalized experiences, while balancing automation with control over messaging and targeting.

In today’s marketplace, it’s impossible to manually scale the data analysis and targeting strategies you need to meet customer expectations across multiple channels. Far from being a “nice to have,” automation can help you implement a content strategy that moves at the speed of business.

The real question for marketers to ask today is, “How can automation help me improve personalization?” To get more clarity on the value of automation, we turned to optimization expert Heather Razukas, consulting manager for Adobe Experience Cloud. In this Q&A interview, she addresses five key questions on how automation can facilitate personalization.

Heather, can automation handle the heavy lifting needed to personalize campaigns at scale?

Yes. In fact, this is what automation does best. Delivering personalized experiences at scale is where the real value of automation comes into play. Automation can help you take on tedious work that would otherwise be impossible to scale — freeing you up to think more about creativity, brand engagement, and improving customer experiences.

Automating processes also enables you to analyze and respond to customer trends in real time. With machine-learning technology, that data can be used to automatically optimize your campaigns. If you’re going to meet the expectations of your customers, you’re going to want to implement some level of automation.

One brand I’ve worked with found that automation had a much stronger impact on customer engagement than their manual processes, leading to a 7 percent increase in revenue per visitor, as well as an almost 6 percent boost in conversion rates when compared to business as usual.

How important is it to get executive support for marketing automation?

One thing I’ve learned is that, regardless of the method customers use to deliver personalization, without executive buy-in, projects rarely get off the ground.

Delivering highly personalized experiences isn’t an isolated project — it spans many aspects of the customer journey. Therefore, projects to enhance personalization require buy-in from multiple stakeholders across marketing, as well as from executives who have influence throughout the organization.

When you’re meeting with potential stakeholders, have a clear plan to support an organization-wide approach to your strategy. Conduct a test or perform a proof of concept to get your executive sponsor on board. Then continue to show ROI so they understand exactly what they’re getting in return for their support.

How should organizations educate their stakeholders about automation?

We already know automation is not designed to take the place of the marketer. But, surprisingly enough, I’ve found many companies are reluctant to embrace any form of automation.

This is where organizational enablement comes in. It’s your responsibility to make sure your organization receives the right education so they understand exactly what they’re committing to. A clear project plan that focuses on costs, potential revenue, and what’s in it for every department is paramount.

Enablement doesn’t just cover value, either. Another crucial point is to explain the benefits of machine learning in terms of scalability. By educating your teams about automation, you’ll take the angst out of the decision-making process. I’ve spoken to countless marketers who were reluctant to trade a certain level of control for automation. But, after a little education, most realized the benefits of machine learning far outweigh any trade-offs.

How does automation work when it comes to governance and regulatory restrictions?

Some organizations I work with have strict regulatory requirements — especially in the financial services and healthcare sectors. This necessitates extra steps and precautions when launching automated content strategies.

In addition to helping you with content delivery, an automated system can help ensure that you only deliver information and offers to the customer segments that are eligible to receive those messages. Automation technology can be used to limit the use of specific assets and to define appropriate content for specific customers. You can also set up alerts to ensure compliance with copyrights or other content with expiration dates.

Having a central team create automated rules that are globally applied is another best practice for ensuring that your marketing messages are compliant — and that will help put minds at ease in your legal department and executive suite.

How do organizations choose the right automation solution for their needs?

First, remember that it’s not a matter of whether or not you should be using automation. What you need to determine is how much automation is right for your brand marketing needs. What may work for a Fortune 500 company may be overkill for a startup. That’s why it’s important to consider what you’re trying to accomplish with automation and personalization.

Automated personalization strategies can range from a basic rules-based recipe to a multi-faceted artificial intelligence formula. If you’re new to personalization, don’t be afraid to start small. Incorporate A/B testing into the mix, and go from there. After all, it’s okay to stir-in automation one ingredient at a time.

Read more about how to effectively implement personalization technologies in Heather’s How-To article on the topic. With the right recipe for personalization, there’s no limit to how far your business can go.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Personalization

Products: Advertising Cloud, Analytics, Campaign, Experience Manager, Target