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When it comes to delivering personalized experiences, many marketers are still uncertain of whether or not predictive marketing will help them achieve their objectives.
And while they very much want to anticipate needs and deliver highly personalized experiences, they often don’t have enough audience data to indicate how accurately they can offer relevant material to their groups of potential customers.
So what can they do?
Interactive content is helping small, mid-sized, and enterprise level organizations deliver extremely personalized data and experiences by giving the audience a voice.
Let’s turn to a Seinfeld clip to explain. (Stay with us here, it’ll make sense.)
It’s kind of like when Kramer pretends to be Moviefone Man. People are always calling him thinking that they’ve reached Moviefone because his phone number is so close to the company number – so he just goes with it. When George calls, Kramer tries to guess at the movie he’s selecting – but he keeps getting it wrong.
Finally he says, “Why don’t you just tell me what you want?”
By creating more conversational experiences where information sharing can happen without the hard sell angle, businesses can gather important demographic data, better prioritize and score leads, and deliver the right follow-up content based on where the user is in the sales funnel – rather than just guessing.
Let’s look at what predictive vs. personalization really means, when/who should use them, and ways businesses can deliver highly personalized content and experiences through both activities.
MarTech defines predictive as: “The practice of extracting information from existing customer data sets to determine a pattern and predict future outcomes and trends.”
In recent years, predictive marketing has been seen as the “holy grail” of marketing. For good reason: By leveraging customer data and looking for trends and patterns, marketers can separate shoppers into cohorts for similar buying habits, needs, concerns, etc., and better predict future behavior by making assumptions based on that data.
In doing so, they have an opportunity to present the customer with a unique, engaging experience that makes the customer feel like: “Hey, they really get me! They know what I want!”
Large companies often use this approach: eMarketer found that when senior marketing executives from the US and Europe were asked about their approach to personalized marketing, 67% said they used behavior-based data to develop content based insights and emotions.
Giants like Amazon who’ve perfected predictive marketing have demonstrated the power of presenting the customer with the right product suggestion at the right time to keep them moving through the sales funnel.
Image source: martechadvisor.com
But predictive marketing isn’t suited for everyone. For most B2B companies who don’t have such a massive data set to work with or the same sophisticated analysis tools, making assumptions based on limited data can actually be a bad idea. With too little information, marketers can be making watered down educated guesses and alienating would-be customers.
When large data sets and fancy tools aren’t available, personalization can still be delivered when data is collected in other ways.
While predictive is based on guesses and past activity, interactive content can be paired with personalization to empower the individual user by requesting specific data. In response, the company can reply with the best related content, which creates a more 1:1 moment.
This allows the company to think beyond the persona and connect with the actual person instead. And rather than leaning on limited data, this route enables the audience to get hands-on and indicate what exactly they want and need.
You can do this in a variety of interactive formats (think assessments, calculators, quizzes, product pickers) which pose questions in which the answers provide greater insight into customer needs – all while educating and entertaining the user at the same time.
With the data collected from these assets, you’ll be better equipped to send follow up information that’s exactly what the individual person needs.
Maybe you’re wondering: Why is this approach more effective than using the actual data on hand? Why won’t predictive produce the same results for my business that it does for companies like Amazon?
As we mentioned before, limited data can lead marketers to incorrect assumptions that hurt their chances for conversion. Without a large data set and extremely in-depth cohorts, you could be presenting content that’s not at all relevant to your leads – and turning them off. Why work from an educated guess when you can simply ask questions that give you the hard data you need?
Which returns us to the earlier Seinfeld clip. Geaorge does a certain behavior. Kramer tries to respond accordingly, but with insufficient means.
Rather than guessing and making lose assumptions for your customers, with interactive content, you can actually give your customers a voice and let them tell you what they need.
What does this look like in action?
While this content approach can be very straight up and direct, simply asking (politely) for user information in order to “provide a more customized experience”, you can also use a little more misdirection and subtlety. Let’s look at an example.
Below we have Game of Thrones themed assessment about which House your marketing team would be. It’s a fun and non-salesy environment, but all the questions are able to grab user-specific details.
With the data collected, we were better equipped to understand the needs and types of people who participated – and we could better follow up with participants based on the inputs they shared with us, instead of merely guessing.
The main takeaway from all of this: Don’t make personalization decisions based on limited behavioral data when you can go right to the source and ask questions with more conversational content formats. As a result, you’ll be able to provide a higher level of relevant follow up and can learn important insights you can’t any other way.