Marketing Automation vs Personalization: How to combine?

Marketing Automation and Personalization have been two major trends in B2B marketing for the last two years. At first glance, they seem to be mutually-exclusive because of their controversial nature.
However, businesses just cannot allow themselves to choose only one option these days.
  • On the one hand, automated messages are considered to be spam and are ignored by the target audience (not taking to account that social media are waging wars with every account that uses automation openly).
  • On the other hand, personalized messages will not bring any results without proper distribution (which can only be reached if you have all your social channels streamlined). Doing that manually is quite an expensive process, so you need automation as well.
That is why the belief that technology is killing personal communication needs to be abandoned as soon as possible. In this article, we will show you how can you combine automation without ruining your customer relations.
Although, we would need to define both processes before.

Marketing Automation

Obviously, it is something that manages marketing processes automatically, allowing marketers to focus on strategic decisions, thus making marketing efforts much more efficient.
Starting from data gathering, to data analysis, to lead generation, to lead nurturing, to lead qualification to the direct sales process. All of these processes can be optimized with marketing automation.
It is an extremely broad process, that can be applied to pretty much every stage of the marketing lifecycle. Basically, you don’t have to press the “send” button on every email you send, post you publish, or get lost in spreadsheets while trying to track everything.
However, it is not only about advantages. There are some dangers as well.

Automation Pros & Cons

When it comes to automation, it has a lot of serious benefits:
  • Optimizes time expenses drastically. Automation allows you to streamline all your processes without wasting your time on stupid processes like sending messages to all the prospects manually. You just set up your target audience, create the pool of content and voila – the machine does everything for you.
  • Makes A/B testing cheaper and easier. Most probably, you have never conducted A/B testing before. It is not because you are a bad marketer, it is because this process is super expensive if done manually. Automation allows you to exclude all the manual work and just compare results.
  • Perfect for Lead Generation. With all your marketing processes streamlined, you can create a sustainable flow of leads entering your lifecycle.
However, there are some dangers as well:
  • Expensive in terms of budget. Just like any other major improvement, automation takes a serious budget to set up. That is why you need to know your Customer Lifetime Value in order to know whether you can afford automation without cracking your budget.
  • Complexity. Automation requires experienced professionals who know how to work with data properly. Otherwise, your company will end up doing even more campaigns that will not deliver any results.
  • It needs proper maintenance. Don’t get it wrong: there is no automation software that would be 100% autonomous. You will need a team of people who will analyze and optimize the process.
Moreover, marketing automation is a dangerous thing when it comes to Social Media Marketing. There are more and more platforms that fight automation with all their algorithms.
We got it, social media encourage personal communication. But how can you become more personalized?

Personalization

Personalization is a process of adapting your marketing efforts to individual prospects’ characteristics and preferences. It is extremely important in terms of meeting the customer’s needs, making interactions faster and easier, thus increasing customer satisfaction and making customer lifetime longer.
By making your marketing more personal, you invest in building long-term customer relations. What does that mean for you? You increase your Customer Lifetime Value drastically by focusing on engaging with your existing customers instead of acquiring new ones.
According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. This stat perfectly represents why do you need to focus on long-term relations.

Personalization Pros & Cons

When it comes to personalization, you can expect to experience these advantages:
  • Personal details can still grab a prospect’s attention. It all starts with calling a person with their name. That is how you show that it is not a bot they are talking to, which increases your response rates.
  • Long-term relations. If your messages are well-personalized, you improve your client’s experience. You make them feel like you care (you just really need to care). People want to stick with companies who take their personality into account.
  • Customary personalization can inspire recognition. If you show people they are special – you become special for them. That’s a great strategy for you to stand out from the crowd.
However, there are some disadvantages:
  • It is an expensive pleasure. To make your communication personalized, you need to have your CRM streamlined, collect and analyze prospects’ data on an hourly basis, while having an extremely agile team who can implement changes as quick as possible.
  • People are not always honest with brands. There are no reasons for you not to trust your prospects, but they’re also are risks that you will personalize your communication according to false data. Obviously, that will bring you desired results, because people will blame you for poor personalization.
  • Your prospects know you are not sending messages manually. If you are a B2B marketer, like we are – you have to consider that your audience knows exactly how personalization work from the inside. They will definitely appreciate your personalization, but it will not amaze them at all.

How can you combine personalization and marketing automation?

We will use our LinkedIn Lead Generation Campaign as an example of a combination of these two processes.

Research.

At this stage, we need to determine the audience we should engage with during the campaign. For that, we use a boolean search, scrapers, different search filters, as well as software for creating a precise lookalike audience.
This stage can be automated, although it is curated thoroughly by our Account Managers.
As soon as we know which audience we are going to work with – it is time for

Profile Optimization.

This process involves our copywriters, who are doing their best to make clients’ profile look all-star. Besides that, they need to add a personal touch to the profile. That is why this stage is fully personalized. We conduct several interviews with the client to figure out his professional and personal traits. Then we combine our psychological and copywriting skills to showcase these traits on clients’ profiles.

Creation of Messaging Scripts.

At this point, we use data that we collect during the research and create messaging script according to the buyer personas we receive.
This process is also personalized. In fact, it is meta-personalized. What does that mean? It means that we use personalization to create personalized messages for our client.
There are several aspects of how can you personalize your content:
  • Name of the person you are reaching out too;
  • Company and industry they work within;
  • The areas you can cover depending on the content they usually cover;
  • Adjusting the tone depending on the prospects’ level of the authority;
  • Referring to some pain points they have;
  • Scheduling the time of day when the message is sent.

Outreach.

Depending on the type of the company, this process can be both personalized or automated.
If our client is able to pick up leads right away – we can just empower his reach using simple marketing automation, as we have previously created the messaging script. However, if it is a high-end client and they do not have time to bother with their LinkedIn – we have a team of Account Managers who can conduct the communication manually.

Analysis.

We send weekly reports to our clients, outlining all the necessary information about leads so they can proceed with communication in the most efficient way.
We process this information automatically, defining main metrics. Then we adjust our campaigns according to the results we receive.
Basically, we have this process automated to make clients’ communication personalized.

To sum it up

We hope that you now understand that such different processes can be easily combined to deliver the best results possible.
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