- The latest report on the State of Marketing in London Research and Act-On found that only 21% of companies use marketing automation technology to personalize their website.
- Consumers are increasingly demanding relevant, tailored content, underscoring the importance of personalizing the web now and in the future.
- Automation technologies make performing advanced personalization an easier and smarter process.
- Could the reasons marketers avoid website personalization be a lack of confidence that they really know their customers, or the fact that advanced personalization is risky and difficult to correct?
- Maybe it’s just resource constraints. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The future of marketing is personalization, and automation technology is a marketer’s best friend when it comes to running highly personalized campaigns.
But the youngest Marketing automation status report London Research and Act-On show that only 21% of companies use marketing automation technology to personalize their websites for visitors.
Why is this?
The marketing world has been promoting the importance of relevance, segmentation and bespoke messaging for potential customers for years.
We invest in customer journey mapping and create buyer personalities to better inform our content. We segment our lists and trigger automated outbound communications based on what we know about our potential customers and their behavior.
However, most of our personalization efforts are limited to email, SMS and other outbound channels.
Websites appear to be overlooked.
With the exception of the 21% ahead of the curve, businesses view websites as one version.
Many design their website to suit their entire audience, and every single visitor sees the same content regardless of who they are.
Now I have some theories as to why marketers aren’t using their automation tools to personalize their website. I’d love to hear yours too, so please sign up with a comment at the bottom of this article!
Marketers aren’t so sure they know their customers
In order to send personalized e-mails, we first need a potential or existing customer to share their personal data with us.
Depending on the information we collect, we can quickly collect a lot of solid data about an individual. demographic and psychographic as well as their online behavior.
This data implicitly tells us that the person fits into one of our audience segments, or that they have a particular pain point or interest.
It’s pretty easy then to write a single email or series of marketing messages that contain this information.
However, there is a difference between personalizing an email for a known prospect and an entire webpage or website for a mix of known and unknown prospects.
It basically means creating multiple versions of a page for:
- Unknown website visitors (although this could still be personalized by the IP address)
- Target buyer A.
- Target buyer B.
- Target buyer C.
… and so on.
To effectively personalize a website experience, we have Got to Know our audience inside and out, and you can customize the content to really resonate – or risk alienating them.
Especially for companies with many target audience segments, it can be difficult for marketers to create entire websites that they are sure will be relevant and engaging to each targeted buyer.
Advanced personalization is difficult to achieve
To reiterate the point above, simple personalization is something most marketers are good at.
Gone are the days when a simple personalization of the first name in an email was enough to create the feeling of one-to-one communication.
With the premium marketing automation technology available, many have switched to more strategic personalization such as: B. swapping recommended content links in an email based on the job role of the recipient.
That said, there is still a long way to go when it comes to website personalization, and not just because marketers aren’t sure they fully know their buyers.
Other factors are:
- The time it takes to plan, produce, and execute advanced personalization using automated technology.
- Deadlines and internal pressure to deliver projects such as new websites or web pages as quickly as possible.
- A reluctance to take the risk of personalizing a publicly accessible page and making a mistake in the process.
- The risk of complex marketing tactics like advanced personalization is becoming a bigger and bigger animal to take care of.
- No internal resource to keep multiple page variants up to date and relevant over time.
Of course, there are other resources to consider that lead me to my third and final theory …
Lack of technology and data resources
Take into account the technical requirements associated with integrating a website into automation software and then synchronizing it so that personalization can take place via dynamic content.
While marketing technology tools make website personalization much easier, they first need to be set up correctly.
This usually requires extensive technical expertise, possibly in the form of a dedicated web developer, IT support team, or an expert advisor in a selected automation platform.
In-house technical support for more advanced marketing integration is rare, and budgets do not always allow outside contractors outside of companies.
At this point, however, I’d like to say that as a marketing automation consultant, personalizing web content is much easier once the initial implementation is complete and can be managed in-house with the right training and guidance.
In addition to the technical side, another resource consideration is data hygiene.
Maintaining a database to keep potential data clean and accurate is a proactive task.
Granted, marketing automation technology can help automate aspects of it. However, when it comes to using data for personalization, all you get out is what you put in.
Without the resource to step in and ensure that data is properly managed and managed, it can be difficult to use that data in a really meaningful way.
Undoubtedly there are other reasons why companies with marketing automation tools don’t use this to personalize their web content, but these are the ones that come to mind first.
As I said before, I’m looking forward to other opinions. Please join the discussion by leaving a comment below!
Tom Ryan is the founder of the Pardot consulting firm MarCloud Consulting. He is a Salesforce certified Pardot consultant with ambitions to innovate the Pardot and automation space.