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Automating customer journeys: 4 steps to marketing automation personalization

Mina Saleeb, Global Director of Marketing Automation

Personalized marketing is a polarizing topic. For many it’s the gold-standard of content marketing, evidenced by McKinsey’s report that personalization can boost revenues by as much as 40%. Most customers see it that way too, with 80% willing to share their data in return for personalized deals and offers – a startling percentage given the difficulty marketers have traditionally faced building first party data amid the 21st century ‘data arms race’.  

For others, it adds to the content burden and may contribute to marketer burnout. In fact, Gartner has previously bucked the trend by predicting that 80% of marketers will abandon personalization efforts by 2025 due to lack of ROI or the perils of customer data management. We’re a year out from that date, and personalization isn’t slowing down. 

So, what if you could achieve the ROI benefits of personalization without significantly adding to your workload, and gain an advantage over competitors? Let’s examine how marketing automation platforms (MAPs) – including those you already license – can unlock personalization opportunities.  

Automate customer personas and segmentation

It might seem counterintuitive to start personalizing marketing by putting people into buckets, but it’s an important step – and one made easier through smart use of marketing automation platforms.  

Most popular marketing automation platforms can analyze your customer data and independently build personas, segments and marketing lists to support personalized activity. It’s no longer an arduous task for the marketer to build lists, but a candidate for automation. Certain platforms can assess your customer data based on behavioral and demographic insights, and suggest new segments or lists. This lays the groundwork for personalized marketing at scale, giving you groups of customers for which you’ll develop decision-driving messaging.  

Not sure how to access this functionality?

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Build a bespoke lead scoring system

Whether you’re using marketing automation for a B2B or B2C model, a lead scoring system will help to ensure that the leads you are nurturing through personalized tracks are assessed correctly with a view to successful marketing-sales lead handover. 

It’s important to seek sales and marketing input for this stage. Understand the actions that are high value for each department and score them accordingly to truly track buying intent. At this point, it’s essential that your marketing automation platform be seamlessly integrated with your wider platforms in order to collect and implement scoring data.  

Think about everywhere you can track customer behavior – is your MAP recording touchpoints across your website, email, social media and outbound calls? Where you can’t call on inbuilt integrations, linking up third-party platforms can be a technical task. This is where choosing a partner capable of building bespoke integrations can add a lot of value so that all of your customer data is accounted for no matter where it originates.  

With a customer 360 view scored in real-time, your MAP has what it needs to assess and deliver personalized content to customers and focus on leads most likely to convert.  

Identify automated delivery triggers

Your customer behaviors and touchpoints will inform opportunities for personalized communication – and you can build those rules right into your marketing automation platform. That’s for general communications to keep leads warm, as well as specific opportunities including birthday discounts and revenue recovery from ecommerce basket abandons.  

Your marketing automation platform can keep customers engaged with personalized content, introducing and extending content journeys to support conversion. Identifying and setting up these triggers can automate significant portions of the customer journey, making each interaction more relevant and timely.  

Equip your MAP with compliant content

Up to this point, whether you’ve worked independently or with a proven partner, you’ve been building the infrastructure for personalized customer journeys delivered through your preferred marketing automation platform. Now, it’s time to stock your MAP with a bank of approved content and templates to enable rapid deployment.  

Keep in mind: 

  • Personalization – your templates need scope for flexibility and personalization. For example, customer names, product highlight modules for products they have viewed online, rules for offering discounts, and varying text modules which offer messaging for different personas.   
  • Compliance – ensure all templates are compliant with email regulations and your own industry standards. It’s best to get all content approved up front as a package, so you can load your customer journeys into the MAP all at once.   
  • Trigger integration – remember to tie each email template to the identified triggers to make sure customers receive the right content at the right time. A bank of always-on ‘run rate’ content is a helpful backup to personalized delivery, just make sure you’re not overwhelming customers.  

Setting up your marketing automation platform to enable personalized customer journeys is an investment in customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty. Better than that, it’s your simplest route to powerful personalization without shouldering a significant ongoing workload.  

We believe that by breaking it down across these four steps, MAP personalization is an accessible in-house project suitable for businesses of all sizes. But, there’s also a lot to be gained by working with an expert partner.  

As an experienced MAP partner built around bespoke solutions, Bluprintx can streamline rollout while helping to retire legacy platforms, cut platform spend and support in-house adoption for your business – delivering immediate results while working toward long term growth. If you’re interested, visit our marketing automation hub – or for Adobe-invested organizations, see how our partnership supercharges your growth