The holy grail of marketing is personalization that is so targeted, that communications to an individual customer look and feel like they’ve been handcrafted by a magical elf that knows everything about that individual. Of course, that is easy to do if a marketing department has the resources to individually track every single user, but in a world where customer acquisition cost is tracked to the penny, finding ways to deliver personalization on a scalable and economic basis is a challenge.

In the past, this drive for the right message, to the right person at the right time has led to a few different scenarios and product solutions:

  • Beefy enterprise marketing cloud platforms that do the job, but are expensive (think Salesforce, Marketo etc.)
  • Custom built solutions that require development skills and resource
  • Lightweight marketing tools that segment, but not enough (insert your choice of email campaign tool here)

Campaign Monitor, itself an email marketing platform, is looking to resolve these inherent issues by delivering personalization that it believes will deliver 1:1 levels of marketing. The new tools leverage integrations back to customer data – via website activity, an integration with Shopify or the Campaign Monitor API – with the ability to create micro-segments and behavioral based segmentation. The thrust here is that Campaign Monitor wants to bridge the gap between the enterprise marketing automation platforms at the top end, and the lightweight email marketing tools at the bottom end.

A Campaign Monitor primer

For those who haven’t come across the company, it’s a safe bet that you’ve received multitudinous emails that they power. Campaign Monitor is a provider of email marketing and automation software who boasts of more than two million customers at 200,000 companies worldwide. That list of customers includes HuffPost, Chandon, Rip Curl, Topshop, Vice Media and Virgin. The company was founded in Sydney, Australia in 2004, and now has offices in 20 cities globally, including San Francisco, New York, London, and Sydney.

And on to the announcement

1-to-1 email marketing (and the pedant in me wonders about Campaign Monitor’s use of both hyphens and the word “to” in there but, whatever) is a series of building blocks that enable any marketed to refine the marketing strategies they use in order to create the finest level of personalization – quickly and easily. In order to actually personalize emails, organizations need to gain visibility into how customers are engaging with the brand – not just within the email, but across different channels – their website or application, for example. The problem is that current tools, as mentioned previously, either allow this sort of integration, but at a high cost, or are somewhat siloed and don’t really deliver the holistic offering.

As Andrea Wildt, CMO for Campaign Monitor put it:

The B2C SMB market has been neglected – easy-to-use, yet powerful email marketing tools should be accessible to brands of any size. Our goal has always been to help growing brands solve complex problems in a simple way and this new offering will help our customers leverage consumer behavior for truly personalized, 1-to-1 emails that drive engagement, and ultimately revenue and loyalty.

OK, so what does it actually do?

Down to the nitty-gritty. This new offering has several functional aspects that will drive this desired personalization. Users can:

  • Track customer behavior across multiple brand touchpoints: Marketers can now bring in behavioral data to integrate customer behavior into their email marketing strategy. This makes engagement data from the most critical channels, such as a website, mobile apps, booking systems, business apps, and e-commerce platforms, accessible for marketers to develop a personalized email strategy.
  • Create advanced customer segments based on their activity: Leverage customer behavior to create segments specific to how they are engaging with the brand to deliver relevant content. These segments are dynamic, so customers can move in and out of these segments based on their recent activity so marketers are always targeting the right group of people.
  • Trigger personalized journeys by customer activity: Since behavior from websites, apps, and e-commerce platforms are captured in real time, this activity can trigger automated customer journeys to send the right email at the right time to accelerate conversions.
  • Create 1-to-1 email content based on each individual’s actions: Now marketers can use the drag-and-drop email builder to design email, and with a bit of help from their web developer, configure sections of the email to send highly targeted content that’s unique to each individual customer’s activity.

MyPOV

Personalization is, of course, the holy grail. As a long-time user of email marketing within organizations I’ve worked with, I have seen the improvement in conversion rates that comes with more refined personalization and action-driven communications. Of course, the hardest part of all that is to actually surface and integrate the data and in this aim, Campaign Monitor’s toolset is useful. There is, of course, the problem with all the action that occurs outside of the currently supported platforms – in an ideal world, an organization’s communications would be personalized based on EVERYTHING an individual customer does – not just e-commerce and website interactions but also the minutiae of their social media use, for example. But there is always a limit on what can be done outside of the realms of a Big Brother-esque dystopian reality of being watched 24/7. This new functionality will help drive organizations’ marketing departments to better levels of effectiveness.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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