Marketing and sales professionals sometimes mistake precise targeting of prospects with personalization. In fact, these are strongly connected concepts in effective digital marketing, but they are also very distinct.
The following is a comparison of the roles of targeting and personalization in digital marketing.
Targeting Precise Prospects
Targeted marketing is the process of identifying ideal people to whom your business should communicate the value of particular solutions. In the digital era, targeting has become quite precise, to the point where firms prepare buyer personas that represent a prototypical customer for a solution.
The following are additional key points that outline the role of targeting and distinguish it from personalization:
Fueled by Data – To an extent, both targeting and personalization are data-driven; however, much of the use of data in marketing is focused on identifying ideal customer profiles. These profiles include demographic, geographic, firmographic and behavioral traits held in common by your marketplace. Data on existing customers points to the ideal prospects to target.
Channel Identification – In addition to the people, targeting involves identifying the best channels through which to communicate. Key questions to consider as you evaluate options include: Where does the audience live? How do they engage with media and technology?
Broad Strategy – Though precise in execution, target marketing is a broad strategy. It includes planning for the best ways to gather and use data, communicate with people and track results. You need a strong technology infrastructure for collecting, storing, organizing and using data.
Delivering Personalized Content
Personalization is more about the execution of your communication strategy with targeted prospects. The primary goal of a personalized strategy is to deliver useful, relevant content that targets each individual buyer in an impactful way. The following are some additional key points about the role of personalization:
Guides through Journey – Targeting execution addresses only early elements of the buyer journey; personalization includes an approach to guiding a prospect through the entire journey to the point of conversion and beyond.
Leverages Automation – Whereas targeting uses data and analytics capabilities of technology, personalization is propelled by advantages of automation and artificial intelligence. Software tools enable you to communicate with each prospect based on behaviors, which makes the messaging appear at an individual level.
Agile – You do need to monitor changes in the markets you target, but agility is a key to effective personalization. You can have a communication strategy that is so prescribed as to eliminate flexibility. An effective approach to personalized engagement must allow your content to be served in response to the decisions and actions of the buyer.
As you evaluate the roles of targeting and personalization, it is clear that they are different. However, it is also clear that you can’t execute a great digital marketing plan without close synergy between them. Target the right people with the most relevant, personalized communication to achieve the best results.
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