Is personalization alive in the age of automation?

h

By in Views
On July 15, 2019

Browse
personalization and automation
Want to submit a guest blog?

Nick Gervasi is studying Marketing and Management at Loyola University Maryland. Nick currently interns as the Project Manager of the Marketing Team in Loyola’s Office of Campus Ministry and has a passion for writing, which he hopes to use in the future to shape the idea of business in a new, more honest and philanthropic light.


It’s 2019, and you can no longer expect to hear a human on the other end of the line when making an informational phone call. Rather, you can expect to deal with automated recordings that claim to be capable of answering any questions that you might have. If you must, and I repeat, must speak with another human being, that maze begins here – press 0. Then press 1. Listen to the following options. Say “yes” or “no.” This is the future we’ve been dreaming of, right?

In theory, bots that are capable of providing information services are not only helpful to customers, but also to the companies they give their business to. For one thing, they allow these companies to allocate funds to new, more innovative endeavors, rather than paying customer service representatives. Customer service, I would argue though, is one of the most important forms of marketing – it’s how a customer feels about their interaction with a company that informs whether or not they will do business with them again in the future.


Adding a human touch

According to brafton.com, though 54% of b2b brands have adopted or developed automated systems of some sort to operate more efficiently, a staggering 80% of customers say “convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendliness” are the key elements to a positive service experience. And, while some might argue that systems of automation are “knowledgeable,” I would instead call them programmed. This is because all automation – in a very literal sense – begins with human input. And, while one of automation’s main goals, especially when it comes to customer service marketing, is convenience, it’s not quite there yet. I don’t think I’m exaggerating in making the claim that everyone has probably yelled at a voice recording at least once in their lifetime.

Taking this type of frustration into consideration, there are a few things businesses can do to keep personalization alive in the b2b world. Firstly, be as transparent as possible – every company wants to know that they are doing business with an honest partner. According to an article written by Mike Khorev, one successful way to incorporate transparency into b2b interactions is to record behind-the-scenes videos of how your company operates. Not only does this innovative strategy allow business partners to see exactly what you’re doing, it also adds that valuable human touch that we talked about earlier: it is much more personal to see a human working on a product or service your company will receive than it is to see only the finished product itself. In reality, that product has a story, and much of it involves the hard work of humans.

Moreover, the less exciting, yet arguably most effective and common way to add personalization to b2b marketing is to “humanize” emails as much as possible. This means frequently using pronouns such as you and your, (instead of the company’s name,) as well as direct names and addresses. This is important because, according to a statistic borrowed from marketingsherpa.com, emails with personalized subject lines are 29.3 percent more likely to be opened than ones with generic or no subjects!


Data-driven insights

Let’s transition the conversation into sales. One way b2b businesses are achieving the seemingly paradoxical task or maintaining personalization in an era of digitization is by using Account Based Marketing (ABM). An ABM approach hones in on specific segments of the commercial market and speaks to those who are in charge of making decisions in b2b transactions. In other words, ABM requires businesses to decide who they are going to sell to before clearly defining the product or service that they are offering.

Using ABM, a company must first gather as much information as possible on different demographics before it can set its sights on one. It needs to know different types of customer problems, situations, incomes, and more before it can position its product to a select few of them successfully.

Many would argue that the more people who are introduced to a product, the more successful that product will be. However, ABM is exactly the kind of personal marketing touch that customers are craving and is being lost in the digital era.

So, yes, while a broad marketing campaign to sell a product might initially attract a larger audience than a specific marketing campaign aimed at a specific type of business, I would argue that it will be harder to keep customers without knowing their specific needs. Using the ABM model, however, a businessperson enters a potential sales call with predetermined knowledge of the prospect. This, in turn, allows them to build a better and more trusting relationship.

f2f meetings

Suggested Post

F2f meetings: unnecessary burden or dying art?

I write this as Slack heads toward an IPO; on its mission to “replace the email” according to The Telegraph. I’ve absorbed multi-platform...

Read More

We can all agree that technology is increasingly becoming a part of everyday life. Jobs are changing – some are no longer necessary, while new ones are constantly being developed in the wake of new machines and systems. From a marketing point of view, it’s up to us to recognize where automation fits into our customer relations and where we can keep a human finger on the pulse of customer conversations.

This will provide the personalized experience that customers today are looking for and help b2b businesses ensure that they are meeting customer needs without losing that valuable human factor.


Nick Gervasi is studying Marketing and Management at Loyola University Maryland. Nick currently interns as the Project Manager of the Marketing Team in Loyola’s Office of Campus Ministry and has a passion for writing, which he hopes to use in the future to shape the idea of business in a new, more honest and philanthropic light.


Want to submit a guest blog?
Tags
Back to Blog

Related Posts