What’s in a name?

Bank of useful ideas

You probably know your audience, but how well do you understand them? It’s time you really got to know to your prospects.

Not much, it turns out. Pair it with an email address, phone number, job title and company, and you’re starting to get somewhere. But when it comes to nurture marketing, they’re just the starting point. Those identifiers are the bare bones that tell you who your audience is, but they don’t help you understand them. And that’s an important differentiation.

We’ve spoken previously about the evolution of the buyer’s journey, and the same rings true in this space. Audience behaviour is changing, for better or worse, driven by a number of factors – not least the ‘always on’ expectation of today’s workforce. As that line between work and after-hours continues to blur, you’ve got more time and avenues to reach these people, and in turn, more opportunities to add another layer of intel to your prospect’s profile but beware of over communication! Start thinking about:

  • Which day of the week are prospects most likely to open my email?
  • What time of the day are they most likely to engage with my social content?
  • Are they more likely to engage with a blog post or an infographic?
  • Are my education prospects engaging differently to those in retail? What’s the best way to reach each of them?

When you tap into the plethora of tools at your disposal in a marketing automation system, you can quickly get the answers to a number of these questions, and more. Integrate your third-party platforms – such as a social media management tool – and you’re on your way to building out a 360° view of your contacts. It goes without saying, but once you’ve got this detail, use it! Up to 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when offered a personalised experience1.

The benefits here are twofold; you can create more of the type of content your prospects are consuming and deliver it when they are most likely to engage with it. This doesn’t need to be a daunting labour-intensive exercise either; afterall, we are talking about marketing automation. While some features – like Marketo’s Predictive Content – require a little groundwork to get going, others – like Act-On’s Adaptive Sending – are completely hands-off. These two examples achieve different outcomes; the former anticipates which content your prospects will engage with, and the latter determines the best time to deploy communications, but both help with the end goal of understanding your target audience.

Think about what you actually need to know about your prospect and customer base to better service them or to identify new opportunities. Progressive profiling – the act of serving information requests over multiple visits – can be a handy tool to fill in any contact detail gaps or identify preferences. If there’s a particular insight you’re trying to discover, whether profile or behavioural, there’s generally a tool in your marketing automation kitbag that can find it for you!

The one thing most of these features have in common though is the time factor; you need a little patience (and multiple deployments or engagements) to allow the system to observe, learn and collect your prospects’ information or engagement behaviour.

But don’t be put off by the perceived complexity of these tools. While some of the more advanced machine learning or AI-driven features will be found in top tier systems, you might be surprised to see just how powerful some entry-level solutions can be out-of-the-box. And regardless of your platform, if you don’t start by getting the basics right, you’re not going to see the return you need.

If you’d like to learn more about better understanding you audience or look at other ways to get more out of your marketing automation investment, reach out to us today.

1Epsilon, 2018.