Using Automated Customization to Market Smarter and Faster - dummies

Using Automated Customization to Market Smarter and Faster

By Jeanette McMurtry

With the advent of all the digital channels and data‐driven insights we have today, marketers face a new set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is how to manage, produce, and effectively deploy all the content needed to reach target audiences with relevant messages across an expanding array of digital and even traditional channels.

You need to customize content to individuals and personas to gain attention, influence behavior, and capture sales. But if you market to thousands of customers, sorted into various customer segments, with different needs, different cultures, different locations, and different generational attitudes, you have a lot of repurposing to do for each campaign you execute. Being able to do this quickly and efficiently is often the difference between a brand’s success or failure. No small task or amount of pressure here.

Consider this scenario: You want to promote a new product that supplements an existing one. You want to communicate this to each of your target segments and your current customers in all the markets in which you operate. And you want to use email, Facebook, mobile, web banner ads, and printed point of sale (POS) displays at all the retail outlets that sell your products. You need to customize each element for each persona targeted, maybe even each geographic location targeted. Oh, and you want to target Spanish‐speaking and English‐speaking customers at the same time.

On top of all of this, you’re offering an introductory price for a limited time only so it’s critical that all pieces are in market at the same time for all markets you serve. And you have to get it out in a matter of weeks to take advantage of seasonable buying cycles.

So think about that for a moment. If you’re targeting even just four consumer segments in just a handful of different locations, you need a lot of versions for each element you use in your campaign. In many cases, your content customization costs can increase by 300 percent or more according to Perry Kamel, a leader in the content management technology field and CEO of Elateral, a cloud‐based content hub designed to manage and deploy content in all formats across all channels.

If you’re paying an agency $50 to $250 or more per piece (varies by type of content) to build out those versions, that adds a lot of time and money to the cost of your campaign and makes your ROI goals all that more elusive. And if you don’t meet the ROI goals set by your CEO or board, your job could be on the line. The pressure builds.

Thankfully, marketing technology has evolved to include robust systems that enable mass multi‐channel customization, which provides an affordable and quick solution to this scenario. With the right technology and relevant messaging, you can increase your outcomes by 30 to 40 percent, Kamel points out, who has achieved this level of results consistently for clients in various industries. Add that to the savings in production, and now your ROI can be mind‐boggling in a good way.

This table presents a more detailed comparison to see how time and cost savings can add up.

The Time and Cost Savings of Automating Content Versions
Task Conventional Automated
Design and assemble templates for segments 12.25 hours @ $110 per hour 0.25 hours
Brief agency, await concepts, review concepts, check art, await edits, and review edits 7 days 1 day with no agency involved
Approve artwork and deliver production‐ready art to producers $1,348 $28

The point here is simple: A successful marketing plan can and should embrace all channels without worrying about the cost and time to produce and deploy, no matter how big or small your business is. Technology exists to make it actionable and affordable to execute omni‐channel campaigns and communications to thousands, even millions, of customers and prospects efficiently.

Here are some tips for choosing the right platform for your budget and marketing plan:

  • Look to the clouds. Cloud‐based systems are the most efficient way to store, access, share, and use your digital assets. Your team players, employees in remote offices, agencies, resellers, distributors, channel managers, and so on can then access all assets any time and get items to market quickly. Just be sure to choose proven systems that will meet your security requirements. Cloud systems are most often priced as SaaS models, allowing you to buy monthly subscriptions to use the platform based on your needs and budget.
  • Use templates. Creating a new design and/or shape for every content element you need can be cumbersome. Look for a system that has templates that support all content types, online and offline, that you can customize for your channel and production needs that are then automatically resized and reshaped for various channels and screen and production requirements.
  • Consider multi‐format options. Many campaigns integrate printed and electronic POS material with mobile, social, and digital channels. You’ll need these materials to be produced in sync with each other, especially if you’re sending display materials to distributors or retail outlets that you want in place while social channels are engaged to drive customers to those locations.
  • Check content analytics. Look for a system that can help you track content usage across your enterprise for specific assets and determine outcomes for various elements. This capability can help you eliminate wasteful elements and focus on executing those that drive the most revenue and profitability.