The year 2016 will make history as the year of hyper-personal marketing. Personalized web experiences and messages are no longer cutting edge – they're the status quo. And entire generations of consumers simply demand personalization nowadays, including over 77% of Generation Y and Z customers.

At Selligent, personalization is a major component of what we call consumer-first marketing. It's an ongoing process of connecting with customers on a personal level by understanding them better through listening, acting, and analyzing their data. We channel this approach into powerful solutions that are earning real wins for our customers.

The payoff is enormous for brands driving true customer-first marketing: Personalized emails achieve 5.7 times higher revenue than non-personalized emails. Emails with personalized subject lines also get 41% higher click-through rates – another strong reminder of emails' enduring power in today's marketing mix.

But not everyone's winning the hyper-personal marketing game right now: In a recent study, 83% of marketers said they were struggling with personalized marketing. And what's more, only 20% of marketers use online customer behavior to increase the amount of personalized messaging in their email marketing.  

For these marketers, it's time for a reality check and a thorough assessment: Here are the five signs your email marketing isn’t as responsive as it should be.

1. Red flags in your metrics. Even the most basic email marketing solutions yield metrics that can serve as red flags. Signals that email initiatives are missing their targets include declining open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Also, closely monitor unsubscribe rates, spam complaints, and dips in deliverability rates (amount of messages reaching their destination). Pro tip: Watch the uptime stats of your server (there's a huge difference between 99% and 99.9% availability).

2. Missed opportunities for automated messages. As stated above, only one in five marketers uses customer behavior to trigger personalized messages. What a loss – nothing builds trust and conversion like contextual personalization with dynamic content. Successful behavioral triggers in online shopping include abandoned cart with product and search without purchase – the perfect triggers for "There are items left in your cart" reminders or "related products" suggestion emails. Hyper-personal marketing also makes use of lifecycle stages (e.g., reengaging idle customers), product preferences (letting consumers know an item is back in stock and sending replenishment reminders), and personal milestones (congratulations on birthdays and subscription anniversaries).

3. No real-time, personalized responses. Personalized, dynamic content, served in real time is responsive marketing on its A-game. It's also a major dilemma: Most marketers admit to struggling to personalize content in real-time, even though 77% say real-time marketing is highly important to their organization. Today's leading marketers are achieving major success with dynamic email content, updated at the time of open. For example, when a traveler arriving at the airport in a new city opens an email, dynamic content automatically adjusts to her new location: The email displays local weather, coupons for local events, and transportation advice – personalized and contextually relevant. Download our free Open-time Personalization Lookbook and remember that time is of the essence.

4. Reacting instead of responding. A big misconception about responsive marketing is that the "response" happens in the moment, almost reflexively. But it’s okay for marketers to plan ahead – and play events that interest marketing demographics. Next-level email marketing solutions allow for planning campaigns around milestones like the Oscars or sports events like the Olympic Games or the FIFA Euro Cup. Keeping sports fans hooked with event-specific information connected to personal preferences is the key to scoring major marketing goals.

5. Insufficient or outdated customer data. Knowing the customer and keeping customer data sets up-to-date create the foundation for automated triggers (see 2.) and real-time responses (see 3.). In a truly integrated responsive marketing ecosystem, all touch points lead to data capture and enriched profiles, which we call Customer OneView. Real-time personalization thrives on personal data points from birthdays to shopping preferences, social media activity, and web engagement history. As the next frontier, marketers are using real-time location data for triggered messages to convert micro-moments into revenue. But without current data, no dice!



Did one or more of these warning signs apply to your email marketing? No worries, the journey towards consumer-first marketing is not a one-way trip, but a continuous voyage. And as the understanding of customers grows, so do the opportunities for collecting more personalized data as the basis for even deeper connections and contextually relevant messages.

With the right solution at hand, marketers will be able to overcome challenges in their personalized email marketing. And because data capture and automation go hand-in-hand, email marketing thrives when it is integrated into broader solution – an omnichannel audience engagement platform such as Selligent. A recent Forrester Report applauded the Selligent platform for “ease-of-use, customer-driven preference management, and real-time personalization integrated with its campaign workflow.”

Getting on the road to hyper-personal marketing can be easy. After all, even if your email marketing isn't as responsive as it should be, that doesn't mean it has to stay that way.

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