Retaining Personalization in Automated Communication

Chris Thomas, Head of Enterprise Marketing and AJ Mock, Marketing Coordinator, CRST

Chris Thomas, Head of Enterprise Marketing and AJ Mock, Marketing Coordinator, CRST

Automated communication, through text, email, chat apps, and more, has completely altered the way most marketers build campaigns. Even when compared to a few years ago, the strategies behind – and scale of – customer outreach and reengagement have changed drastically. Advancements in marketing automation software have simplified the previously daunting task of large-scale customer communication to such a degree that even the smallest of small businesses can cultivate and maintain a database of loyal customers.

At the other end of the spectrum, massive companies can streamline and organize their communication as well. In my position, supporting recruitment marketing for one of the largest carriers in the transportation/logistics space, it is not uncommon to send more than 100,000 automated messages in a day. The kind of volume that marketing automation allows us to achieve is pivotal to our success, considering the current climate of logistics/driver recruiting. There is another important factor in the success of any email, text, or other direct communication campaign though. Personalization, the feeling that I am being addressed directly, is difficult to retain as the scale of a company’s communication grows.

The answer to many of the challenges with making mass communication more personal exist within the automation tools themselves. Personalization tokens (first name, last name, etc.) have been around for quite some time, but there are many more options in most tools, today. Here are a few examples of tools and features that have taken reengagement campaigns to a much higher level within my team:

Personalization in the main body of messaging. Personalization tokens in the subject line, especially as the first word or two, is extremely common. It is a great way to improve open rates, but we have found including them in the body helps click rate as well.

"Every day, there is a growing field of competitors that fight for the attention of customers, applicants, readers, and any other number of targeted contacts"

Make sure any tokens used are correct, and correctly mapped. There are built-in safeguards in some tools that warn you if the “first name” field looks a little odd. These extra features, along with carefully proofing the lists beforehand, have increased the success of our sends.

Utilizing the full capability of automation workflows. One of the most impactful uses of our automation platform so far has been using it to organize our contacts before any messages are sent. The first thing that comes to mind when hearing “marketing automation” is the idea of sending emails and texts to contacts that meet certain criteria. Adding in the segmentation of those contacts beforehand, and sending more detailed messaging based around those segments, has been a huge factor in our successful reengagement campaigns. It has also made the entire process much faster. I can upload large lists that are sorted into smaller lists instantly, freeing up hours to accomplish other tasks.

Every day, there is a growing field of competitors that fight for the attention of customers, applicants, readers, and any other number of targeted contacts. The not-so-secret weapon to winning is building and fostering a link with each individual you send communication to. It will not happen with everyone, but the more personal connections that are made the more success that communication will see. I am optimistic about the future of marketing automation, and I hope that as innovations in things like AI continue it makes achieving that personal touch even more attainable on a large scale.

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