Marketing strategy has shifted over the years from mass marketing to targeted marketing to today’s strategy of Customer Engagement Marketing (CEM), the process of creating and delivering timely, personalized messages to prospects and customers.

Yet most of today’s big brands are still working with the strategy of “carpet bombing” their prospects with a single message. Some have advanced to target marketing select prospects and customers based on very broad parameters (e.g., married or single), but such a strategy, while preferable to simple mass marketing, still misses the mark. In fact, segmentation, content personalization, recommendations, and the inclusion of custom database fields in email copy drive 360% higher conversion than a generic email message with a personalized salutation (1).

With 90% of marketers seeing individualization as the future of marketing – moving beyond segmentation to true one-to-one personalization in a real-time context, how do you move the needle from simple targeted marketing strategies to implementing an effective Customer Engagement Marketing strategy (2)?   Here are 5 tips to effectively begin to transition your marketing efforts to customer engagement marketing.

#1: One-to-one personalization needs to take place

To convert someone who might buy one time into a valuable, loyal, long-time customer, it’s best to create message streams tied to very specific buyer personas in order to create an emotional response that drives them to take action.

#2: Know what your buyers want

To understand what your buyers want, first look at their behaviors, not just their demographics.  How are they interacting with your brand?  What topics or products are they engaging with? You can even take this primary behavioral data to the next level by tying third party data into it, creating a more in-depth persona of each buyer group.  By managing the customer experience to understand the issues that drive different buyer behavior, you can deliver specific messages, images and call-to-actions that yield the highest returns.

#3: Operate an integrated, multichannel customer service strategy

The market today is looking for customer engagement marketing – an integrated process that combines the traditional elements of direct marketing and customer contact centers, including data analytics, campaign management, e-commerce and fulfillment, to deliver relevant, personalized and timely customer interactions across all channels. The goal is to create one-to-one customer experiences at every touch point, with every single communication in a seamless fashion.

#4: Advance personalization using your data

Buyer personas and messages are developed with enhanced data analytics using internal and external sources, appending behavioral data with traditional demographics to much more closely define “who you are.” You are not just married. You’re married with children of a certain age; live in a particular area of the country; and have specific purchasing and online behaviors.

#5: Build loyal customers with one-to-one conversations

Customers want personalization, in fact, 74% of online consumers get frustrated when content is not personalized to their interests (3). With customer engagement marketing, personalized marketing techniques are used to maximize results, and enable you to turn a stranger into a long-time, loyal customer. What’s important is to get above the clutter of the hundreds of communications that people receive every day and to create and deliver the right messages that are personal, relevant, convenient and actionable. Customer engagement marketing is just that – the process of personalized marketing.