Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, which is why I write a Thanksgiving-themed post for the Evergage blog every year. I never cared for it much as a child, but as an adult I appreciate that this giftless holiday can bring my scattered family together. Plus, I love the food. Especially the mashed potatoes. And the pies.
The one part of Thanksgiving I have never enjoyed is the tradition my family has where everyone around the table says one thing they’re thankful for (it’s way too much pressure to say something sappy that will make everyone cry!). But this year, I started thinking that there are a lot of non-tear-inducing things for those of us in the marketing profession to be thankful for.
Here are five things I think marketers can be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Feel free to mention one of them to your family at the dinner table this year!
1. We no longer need to send generic batch and blast emails
Ah, the batch and blast email. As a consumer, I’m definitely over them. The companies I regularly interact with should know me. They should be able to send me emails that make sense to me personally — not send me a new email every day with the hope that one will stand out to me.
Luckily, marketers don’t need to rely on this tactic anymore. They can personalize the content of their emails to each individual the moment the email is opened. They can send emails that are triggered based on certain criteria — which make the email much more relevant when it’s received. And they can send smarter bulk emails that determine the cadence of email sends based on how each person engages with that company’s emails.
With all of these capabilities at their fingertips, marketers can be thankful they aren’t forced to send generic emails any longer.
2. We can use machines to identify each person’s interests and preferences
Can you imagine if you had to personally sift through all the data you collect on each of your customers or shoppers to figure out what each person is interested in? It would be exhausting, not to mention impossible if you do business with more than just a few people.
Thankfully, machines can sort through all the data you have acquired on each person — from deep behavioral data you pick up from their interactions with you across channels, to attribute data you collect across systems in your company, to survey response data you have gathered in the past — to uncover each person’s interests, needs and preferences.
You don’t have to wait for each person to tell you that she prefers the color blue or is interested in solutions for small businesses. You can infer that information from everything you already know about her.
3. We don’t have to pick one single message to feature on our homepages
Deciding what message or promotion to feature on your homepage is a big task. You want to be as relevant as possible to anyone that might land on that page, but you don’t want to be so generic that you end up not saying anything substantive.
The good news is that we no longer need to pick one single message to display on the homepage, or any other key area of a website. You can personalize the content to each of your key audiences — or even to each individual — instead.
Do you want to show one message to enterprises and one to small businesses? One to first-time visitors and one to returning visitors? One to shoppers of one category and one to shoppers of another? That’s all possible.
It’s even possible for machines to pick the message or promotion that makes the most sense for each individual person.
With all of those capabilities at your fingertips, there’s no reason to waste such an important area of your site with irrelevant or completely generic content anymore.
4. We can react to someone on a digital channel in real time
Marketers could only dream about responding to customers in their digital channels in real time in the past. For years, the most marketers could do was learn about a person while he was on their site and then use that information to affect his experience when he came back the next time.
But that’s not the case anymore. The right technology allows you to take in information and act on it immediately. So if you want to show a specific message to a visitor that has viewed at least three pages of your site, you can do so the instant he views his third page. Or, if you want to begin to incorporate what you’ve learned about someone’s intent (such as the fact that she is researching trips to Paris or she’s interested in learning more about A/B testing), you can begin to do that right away, rather than waiting until she returns to the site.
Given how far we’ve come with real-time technology, this ability to respond in the moment is definitely something to be thankful for.
5. We can target specific companies or industries
As a B2B marketer myself, I wanted to include one section just for those of us in the B2B space. In the recent past, inbound marketing was new and exciting. With an inbound marketing approach, the focus is on capturing large volumes of leads to deliver to the sales team for follow up. To capture these leads, many inbound marketing activities are positioned to deliver value to an audience in exchange for contact information that can eventually be passed on to the sales team.
There are still some companies out there that can benefit from a pure inbound marketing approach, but there’s no reason to throw your message out to everyone to see who it resonates with if that’s not efficient for your business anymore. The technology exists to target companies smarter. You can tailor the experiences on your website to resonate with specific accounts, industries or personas according to your ABM strategy.
There’s a theme to my list: it’s all about relevancy. We don’t need to deliver the same message or provide the same experience to everyone we interact with today. We can act on the information we’re constantly acquiring about our customers and prospects to give them better, more relevant experiences. As both a marketer and a consumer, I certainly think that’s something to be thankful for this year!