Marketing Personalization: How to Leverage Data to Reach Audiences

October 26, 2020
Marketing Personalization: How to Leverage Data to Reach Audiences

Think of the last time you were trying to get someone’s attention across a room – or in a Zoom meeting.

What’s the quickest way? It’s to say their name. The human brain activates when we hear our own names, even in a crowded space.

We also perk up about things that interest us. That’s why we listen to certain podcast topics, choose certain activities to fill our free time, and spend money on certain brands. The more you feel that something is familiar or catered towards you in particular, the more likely you are to keep going back.

It’s just cognitive behavioral science. No big deal. When it comes to marketing, we need to pay close attention to what people want and how their brains react to what they see and hear. Then, we need to give the people what they want!

That’s what sells.

How do we do that? Marketing personalization.


What is Marketing Personalization?

Marketing personalization uses data to deliver messages that are catered to the needs and wants of individual prospects. In opposition to traditional marketing, it creates content that is relevant to a niche group at the right time by leveraging data.

You see, we’re in a world inundated with ads – and consumers have learned how to tune out the noise.

The only way to truly get someone’s attention now is to say their name. Or in other words, personalize it.

If you’re not sure that’s true, check the stats:

    • 90% of U.S. consumers find marketing content personalization very or somewhat appealing (Statista, 2019).
    • 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business (Salesforce, 2020).
    • 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more a personalized experience (Accenture, 2018).


How to Personalize Your Marketing

1. Develop your personas and ideal client profiles.

Every business has to take an in-depth assessment of their ideal buyers in order to get anywhere.

Start with persona development for individuals you’re targeting (whether roles/titles in B2B or individuals in B2C) and/or create ideal client profiles or ICPs (company types based on revenue and other firmographics for B2B ABM campaigns).

2. Pay attention to prospect/customer behavior.

This is where DATA comes in strong. Don’t ever assume you just know your prospects.

Gather the data and actually use it to make marketing decisions. You can gain insights based on various data points like time on site, email opens, page visits, and more.

3. Segment your lists.

This is where data turns into action to get the attention of your potential buyers.

Make sure you have effective MarTech tools in place like HubSpot that can help you store, maintain, and segment the data that you’re gathering in order to drive alignment and engagement to provide a unified experience to anyone who interacts with your brand.

Segmentation will differ based upon what you sell and who you’re selling to, but that’s really where it gets into the nitty gritty and you can solidify and personalize the path from prospect to customer.

 4. Develop your content.

Here’s where data meets strategy so that your prospects feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Map out the content and messaging that you’ll deliver to each type of prospect based upon those segmented lists. Automate the mess out of it. Set up a conversion journey that answers the pain points of your ideal clients and then makes their problems easily solved with your solutions.

Yes, it takes time and resources, but the more you’re able to personalize and solve their problems, the more they’ll be clicking – and sticking with you.


Here's What it Looks Like IRL:

Business - to - Business:

Not trying to hide it: we’re a marketing agency that helps clients personalize their marketing campaigns to increase conversions and grow sales.

One of the really niche ways we do that is through Account-Based Marketing, or ABM.

    • Let’s say one of our top ICP accounts shows up on our site because of an email we sent out about our recent ABM Webinar. They don’t convert to watch in on-demand that day, but we start keeping an eye on their prospect activity since we’ve had a few exchanges with them via the sales team in the past.
    • A couple of weeks later, they check out a blog on ABM Account Management, and we have a couple of targeted ads running about ABM in their specific industry (are you noticing a trend here?).
    • When they click on the ad, it takes them to our ABM Resources Guide, and after clicking on a few more resources including our client case study on ABM, they realize they need some help in launching their own campaign. So, they book a meeting with one of our business development reps to talk through a plan to move forward.

Yep, I just poured out a little of our secret sauce, so you’re welcome. The point is, we knew our target ICPs, mapped it out in advance, used the data along the way, and aligned marketing and sales processes so that the prospect felt seen.

We didn’t shove our solutions on them; we helped to educate them with relevant content and messaging so that they could trust us to solve their problems.


Business - to - Consumer:

Personalization is a similar concept in B2C: make the consumer feel special and meet them where they are.

Brands use data to personalize their marketing all the time. If you’re looking at a pair of shoes at Toms, why do those shoes end up following you around all over the internet, from native to social advertising?

 Simple: personalization and retargeting. 

    • Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming platforms use personalization based upon your user behavior to provide relevant recommendations.
    • Sephora provides personalized offers across channels based upon previous purchases.

Fun fact: whether you’re in B2B or B2C, with the HubSpot CMS, you can cater smart content towards a specific persona and provide visuals and messaging based upon their needs.


The Point Is:

The more we can personalize based on behavioral data, the more we’re able to grab attention amidst all the noise.

I'll leave you with a great quote from the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” Although that was written in 1936, it still rings true – the application just looks a bit different in the digital world.

Marketing personalization is everywhere – now it’s your turn to put it into practice.

Author Bio

Abigail is the Content Manager ("Content Queen"), which enables her to lead the copywriting team, craft compelling stories for clients across industries, and oversee contracts. Her professional background includes teaching and sales with 10+ years in research, copywriting, and editing. She has a knack for details and an in-depth knowledge of storytelling, content development, brand voice, and tone. She holds a BA in English from Campbell University and an MA in English from East Carolina University. As an adventurer, lifelong learner, and lover of cats & plants, she approaches every day with curiosity and gutsiness. Connect with her on LinkedIn!