Connecting Conversations to Personalize Marketing

One size definitely does not fit all customers. 

That applies to marketing content just as much as it does to products and services. Getting the right content to the right customer begins with data integration.  Des Traynor, the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of business messaging platform Intercom spoke with me about making better connections and conversations with customers.

Twenty thousand companies use Intercom to personally connect with their customers across apps, websites, social, and email.  By using the same platform for all customer conversations, businesses can work off a comprehensive picture of each one to achieve “marketing automation on a one-to-one basis,” Traynor said.

Unlike “most solutions that treat everyone” the same way, this assures that returning customers will not be addressed the same way as newcomers and so feel that they are not recognized. “Marketing gets a lot more effective,” as a result, he says, when the “end user only receives messages that are relevant.” That makes them “more apt to interact” with the business, which leads to more positive outcomes.

He explained that it makes the digital experience more like “talking to a customer” in person rather than pushing a promotion that the person finds to be “spammy or noisy.” Traynor points out, “Too much irrelevant marketing makes people tune out.” The key to effective marketing is to “only say the right thing to the right people.”

That’s why you need to know where your customers are at, so that you don’t send them ads for products that don’t appeal to them, or that they’ve already purchased. To know which promotion makes sense for a particular customer, you need to be able to “connect the dots” between them and their intent.

One of the ways they do that is by identifying and tracking customers through their IP addresses. That means that a visitor to website can be identified on that basis even if the person doesn’t put in any data. Then site can customize what to show according to the needs of that individual as identified from the history. He said that it “works quickly enough to detect the visitor and start a customized conversation” in under two seconds.

Another way the personalization works is building a message off answers to key questions, as you can see from this demonstration of one of the features in Intercom’s Live Chat for Sales solution, designed to make it easier to generate new leads. It features Operator, Intercom’s bot, in the role of initial contact.

Operator gathers information about leads that come through the website and mobile app. Traynor said that it also has the capability of offering answers to questions it recognizes.  However, he clarified that it is designed to assist in informing the conversation, not managing it. The idea is to get the “boilerplate of conversations out of the way” to connect with “the right person and from there get to meaningful conversation.” Getting “routed correctly” leads to a “faster outcome,” which is beneficial for the customer, as well as the business.

The solution lets sales teams make a personal, 1:1 connection while automating the qualification and reporting. The reporting is an important aspect not just for sales to see how many leads are qualified but for marketers to assess messages prove most effective for particular types of customers and tweak them accordingly.

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