Personalization at Scale to Win in the Engagement Economy

Engagement Marketing


For a long time, it was commonplace to hear people say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” But that truism has given way to a new one in the B2B world: everything has changed. It has done so profoundly and quickly—and will only continue in that vein.

At the Marketing Nation Roadshow in Boston on October 3, Marketo’s CEO, Steve Lucas, shared a vision for how modern marketers can capitalize on this new reality.

In this blog, I’ll cover how marketers can use personalization at scale to foster deeper engagement with their customers. 

Marketers Must Adapt to Survive

By now, it’s widely accepted that today’s buyers are in charge. They dictate their journeys and experiences and set the tone for interactions and engagement with brands. But are you aware of just how radically their expectations have shifted?

Consider these stats:

  • 79% of buyers only consider brands that understand and care about them (Wunderman)
  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they’re being understood (McKinsey)
  • 66% of customers expect their interactions with brands to be personalized (Marketo)

What does this mean to marketers? It means buyers want companies to respect (and align with) their values, and they do not make purchases based on logic alone. It means marketing to inboxes and selling to smartphones won’t cut it. It means a personalization strategy for your brand is as important as a personalization strategy for your content.

It’s Time For a New Personalization Strategy

As you develop that brand personalization strategy, it’s essential to consider the law of supply and demand because it governs us all. In the context of marketing, this means just because you can infinitely appeal to prospective buyers, doesn’t mean you should. In other words, using today’s technology to relentlessly reach out isn’t the best way to engage today’s buyers.

Because, while those infinitely powerful technologies empower us marketers in ways we could once only imagine, they can overwhelm and irritate prospective customers with too much information and unwanted offers. Simply put, while marketers have seemingly limitless demand drivers, prospects and customers have finite attention…and that attention span is declining. In response to marketers who fail to respect this attention scarcity, buyers push back, opt out, and relegate email to marketing purgatory (i.e., junk mail).

Embrace Precise Engagement

It’s tough resisting the temptation to keep pressing the accelerator on the “infinite demand drivers.” But it’s time to accept the fact that it’s a losing proposition to swamp buyers in a flood of content and information. It’s simply not strategic—or realistic—to hope the right message will find its way through at the right time as buyers traverse their non-linear, multi-channel journey. Knowing that you need to engage at every point in the buyer journey and customer experience, the question becomes how you do that at scale.

This is the perfect time to step back and make a thoughtful decision: Are you going to keep prioritizing volume or will value finally win the day? Hopefully, you chose the latter because value trumps volume in the Engagement Economy. The good news is that you can use today’s incredibly advanced technologies imbued with artificial intelligence to focus your marketing on value-laden tactics and actions. While it may seem counterintuitive, by narrowing in and engaging in a more limited—but relevant—fashion, you boost your value to buyers and earn their trust. That’s because—unlike so many other marketers—you are respecting the buyer’s time. The next piece of the puzzle is figuring out how to make that limited engagement as relevant and meaningful as possible.

Demand Drivers v Attention

Underpin Your Strategy with the Right Approach and Platform

Here’s a formula for getting this right: Listen, learn and engage.

Listen. Continually listen to your customers via every channel possible (email, social media, customer support, sales transcripts, etc.) to discern what it is they value most.

Learn. Analyze all the data you collect from prospects and customers to surface insights and understand their preferences, interests, expectations and more.

Engage. React in real time using Artificial Intelligence (AI) by engaging potential and existing customers in the right way, in the right moment.

While this sounds simple enough, it requires careful and sophisticated orchestration of many elements and moving parts. But you as a marketer need all this to be handled and executed as simply as possible.

Through a combination of automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) uniquely built to serve marketers, you can make sense of all your customer data in the moment to deliver relevant content and enable value-based experiences.

With these near superhero powers, you will be able to:

  • Predict the right marketing programs, content, and offers for the right people based on a deep and accurate understanding of their interests and wants.
  • Personalize with confidence, at scale, delivering the right interactions, experiences, and content at the right moment in the right channel for each person you’re engaging.
  • Perform at previously unattainable levels. Backed by machine-driven predictions and personalization, you can optimize campaigns and experiences at an unprecedented rate to drive 1:1 engagement in the moment. You’ll engage better, convert faster, and do it all economically.

The Future of AI is the Marketer + the Machine—And It’s Here

While all the elements described above are essential to engaging at scale, it’s worth highlighting the role of AI built for marketers. This is the machine intelligence that makes it possible to identify your audience, understand your existing content, and execute your campaigns in unprecedented ways.

It may sound like we’re painting a future vision, but this is available to you today through products like Marketo ContentAI.  An artificial intelligence-powered solution that empowers marketers to achieve one-to-one engagement at scale without adding significantly more resources is important to move your business from volume to value.

To be an AI empowered marketer, look for a solution that can: 

  • Automatically discover and catalog your content
  • Predict the best-performing content for each audience to guide content planning and improve campaign results
  • Automatically insert the content most likely to engage and convert each recipient
  • Serve up audience insights for every content asset, so you can better understand who your content attracts
  • Provide key metrics showcasing top content views, conversions, and more so you can measure the business impact of each content asset

AI can do all of this making it possible to deliver hyper-relevant content to each buyer while leaving you in control over what is delivered through each channel.

What potential do you see for personalization now that AI built for marketers exists? I’d love to hear your future visions in the comments.