Marketing automation or Personalization?

Do marketers really need to pick a side?

It’s a tale as old as time. Or as old as modern day marketing anyway. Which technique is more effective for generating and nurturing leads and business? On the one hand we have a personalized approach with more attention, but also more time spent. The other, a well-oiled marketing automation machine that targets blankets of prospects and customers with (or sometimes without…) precision. The question is, who wins?

Team personalization

While an old-school approach, team personalization has also seen a resurgence of sorts in recent years. The era of bots, self-checkouts and even smart fridges has ushered in automation to our homes, but it seems our hearts and minds still respond to good old human touch. Once upon a time, this was the only way to do business. But as automation became more popular and eventually prevalent, a handwritten invitation suddenly felt novel. The rise of H2H (human-to-human) gimmicks exploded, from short videos to prospects addressing them directly, to business development reps taking to social media to scout out specifics interests of their targets.

Of course, personalized approaches take more time, but when done right, they typically achieve better outcomes. From better leads to prospects who are more likely to convert and customers that stay loyal, personalization certainly pays its way. But it also costs. Your staff can only prospect one person at a time this way, and your brand will be limited to how many customers it reaches with such a small-scale operation. So is there a way to enhance this effort?

Team marketing automation

Marketing automation, of course. We’re not talking about spray and pray. Sure, playing the numbers game will generate leads and website visits, but what kind of quality will you get from this? Customers who haven’t been targeted that end up on your site are much more likely to bounce than buy, let alone stick around and become loyal brand champions. Nobody wants that. But let me let you in on a bit of a known secret…

At dotdigital, when we talk about marketing automation, we’re actually talking about personalization. Because we’re not just about making personal experiences. We’re all about making personal experiences that scale – and that relies on marketing automation.

Let me explain. 

Marketing automation done right

Sure, you could use dotdigital Engagement Cloud to enrol whoever stumbles into your data capture and consent trap and send them huge volumes of uncatered content. But why would you do that when you can use it to mimic the H2H touch for each and every contact? You see, when automation is done right, it’s inherently personal (and no, we’re not just talking about using first names).

face screaming in fear

Here are four ways, other than @firstname-ing your contacts, that you can achieve personalized experiences at scale:

1. Segment

Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, we’ve all had that spooky experience of being flabbergasted at how relevant they are to our lives. Why is this? Frankly, we’re not as unique as we like to think we are. Same goes for your customers. Everyone can be put into a pot. Use dotdigital Engagement Cloud to create segments on everything from contact’s age, their RFM score, their location, or heck, even their star sign. You can even set up automation programs that create segments for you. That way you’ll be able to send contact that seems like it was made just for them. They don’t need to know how many others received it and are thinking the exact same thing. 

2. Mix up your content

In the body of your emails, you can even set up variable content, also known as ‘dynamic content’. This means in the very same email, you can show one recipient a picture of their local store in Aberdeen, and the other their local in Zürich, all from one send. You can write about different content depending on interests and preferences they have indicated to you and even display product recommendations based off items they have recently viewed or bought. 

3. Put the customer in control of their content

Your marketing automation program doesn’t have to take all your contacts through the same journey. Put them in control and vary the paths they can take by branching into different campaigns based on their actions. Cater content depending on what recipients have clicked through to, since you know that’s what they’re interested in, or what they have indicated to you in a survey. If they’re not so responsive, perhaps try a different approach with a remail. Find what resonates, and then scale it. 

4. Your secret weapon

Perhaps there are some old school marketers out there who we haven’t yet won over? We have one more trick up our sleeves. Our live chat tool.

With dotdigital Engagement Cloud chat, you can reach your website visitors at scale, and communicate with them personally. One on one, human to human. Not only that, but with a chat tool, agents can, on average, have six conversations at once and multi-team support means that customers can route themselves to the right team immediately, or be referred to the right information on site or team to talk to with a chat bot. The perfect blend of automation and personalization. Businesses use live chat to remove barriers to sale, convert, upsell and even lead capture or nurture, with the ability to send sales collateral or collect data on the user. Okay, so it’s not quite meeting for a coffee with a prospect, but not only does your business not have the time or resource to do this, neither do your customers! 

Live chat is convenient for both parties, which is frankly why it works so well.

So, before you go designing up your t-shirts for team marketing automation or team personalization, maybe take a moment to see if you can be both. After all, that’s how you’ll get the best results.


Click here to download our live chat ebook.

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