Daniel Beulah

How to Harness the Power of New Technology to Personalize to Your Audience

February 13th, 2015

We are in the midst of an informational and technological revolution. It is constantly changing the way we communicate. There is an unspoken drive deep down in the collective psyche of humanity that is pushing us to make communication faster and universal.

Being able to express complex ideas is vital to our species’ survival. It’s taken us from caves to high rises. From wall paintings and smoke signals to emails and international phone calls, the way we communicate is versatile and fluid. What’s the norm yesterday could easily be archaic tomorrow.

As marketers we have to communicate our companies’ ideas, products and values to potential customers in any medium they communicate in.

As we move toward more instant communication, the marketer has to evolve with consumers. Just like the shift from direct mail to email, the savvy marketer must know when to move to a new technological medium and how to market correctly in that medium.


Mobile email

For several years there have been predictions about the end of email.  While email has changed significantly in the last 20 years, we now send more emails than ever before.

According to emailisnotdead.com, there are currently 4.1 billion email accounts that send 122+ billion emails per hour — and 53% of those emails were opened on a mobile device. The future of communication is mobile email, and there is already a lot of it going on.

In order to get ahead of this curve, email service providers (ESPs) are developing algorithms that automatically sort your emails. Google unveiled their answer to the overcrowded inbox late in 2014. A consummate innovator and leader in the email space, Google has developed a system that automatically sweeps your emails into three easy to manage subfolders: Updates, Social and Promotions. They have allowed more design elements to be featured in the subject line space and have made it even easier to clear a whole inbox in seconds.

So what does that mean for marketers?

It means that as ESPs move into the future, they will use bundling to sort people’s emails. This will most likely lead to the average clickthrough rate decreasing. However, the quality of the leads will go up because emails, instead of being cookie-cutter sends, can be personalized for individuals based on data marketers accrue. In the future, designers will have to work with content writers to make sure their emails stick out visually, alongside personalization.

Effect of Gmail Tabs

Chart courtesy of: MailChimp


Marketing efforts will need to work in conjunction with all the other marketing options the company is using. We have to move away from thinking about individual campaigns and towards holistic, cohesive marketing tactics.


Instant messaging

In order to ‘predict’ the future, do your research. According to Nielsen, the use of instant messaging apps accounted for 12% of the total time Americans spent on their phone in 2013. That number is expected to jump to 75% by 2018. Instant messaging allows users to communicate in real time with anyone in the world. You can now transfer files and get immediate feedback. It is the next evolution of information transference, which acts more like a slow phone call than a fast letter chain.

Companies have noticed the surge of public interest in instant messaging and have invested heavily in the technology. IBM has spent a lot of time and money developing the Sametime system, which, like Skype, allows for instant text and video communication but on a secure server. Facebook has spent $19 billion acquiring Whatsapp, which allows users to communicate to anyone online in their system without using cellular service. Since Facebook bought Whatsapp, the app has grown by 800,000 users per day.

People will rely on instant messaging for personal communication and email for professional. This makes instant messaging the holy grail of 21st digital marketing. To succeed in any campaign with instant messaging, you need to be aware that instant communication is as personal as a phone call. It’s about forming relationships with your potential customer in an open format. To do this:

  • Marketers will need to become a jack-of-all-trades. A brand representative, a designer, as well as a customer service associate — the marketer engaging in an IM campaign should be able to answer common customer service questions quickly and reliably.
  • Personalization will be key. As of right now, there aren’t many IM apps with direct advertising space, so all communication between you and your potential customer will be using the apps features. Robotic one-size-fits-all messages will quickly get you blocked.
  • Know the assets and limitations of the app you are using. Each one is different.  Know how to harness the power of stickers and emojis in Viber to say a lot with very little text and how to use the location sharing feature of Line to set up a secret product giveaway.
  • Follow the crowd wherever it may lead. Don’t be afraid to jump ship onto the newest greatest app. Brand loyalty is almost meaningless in the IM app world.

We don’t know how technology will change the way we communicate in the far future. We could be communicating telepathically via cybernetic implants, or we could roundabout and end up painting on cave walls again.

However, no matter the medium, as long as your value proposition remains clear throughout all of your channels, you will succeed. Remember, no matter how you communicate you’re still answering that fundamental question: Why should I buy from you versus anyone else?


You may also like

How SmartPhones Are Changing Consumers’ Daily Routines Around the Globe [via Nielson]

Mobile Marketing: 3 tips from ModCloth on mobile app engagement

Why Brands Must Get to Know Instant Messaging Apps [via Brand Republic

Random Apps of Kindness: Using mobile for nonprofit and cause-based marketing

Email is Not Dead [via Emailisnotdead.com]

The Future of Instant Messaging [Whatsapp & Snapchat] is Both Consumer and Enterprise [via Hugo McPinto]

Categories: Marketing Tags: , , , , ,

  1. February 17th, 2015 at 10:29 | #1

    There is such a wealth of information in this blog post; it is definitely a must-share. Thank you, Daniel!

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.