It is important to personalize interactions when nurturing leads and customers. But, as marketing takes advantage of technology to further transform an art to a science, we need to be aware of the many imitations of personalization:
- The “Happy Birthday/Holiday Wish,” made possible by tracking a date in a database = not personal
- The “Thank You for Purchasing a Specific Product,” made possible by tracking purchase information in a database = not personal
- The “Business/Personal Insight,” made possible by research on Google or LinkedIn = not personal
Don’t get me wrong, having a business or personal insight on the first call to a cold lead might be a great way to break the ice, but that is NOT personalization. Personalization comes from interpersonal interaction, not from your interaction with a website or database.
Let’s examine the ways we can personalize the above examples. Since it is impossible to personalize without an interpersonal interaction, this is the first step. If you haven’t met, emailed or called a given lead or customer, don’t bother wishing him a happy birthday. He will not be impressed by the fact that you know his birth date. He’ll simply wonder how you mined the data. A meaningful birthday wish is one that is based on personal interaction and from relevant subject matter.
How to Personalize
Let me illustrate in a different way. Say you’ve only had one conversation with Bob. You found out that Bob loves fishing. You didn’t know his birthday was right around the corner, but your trusty CRM brings it to your attention. Instead of allowing an automated “Happy Birthday” email to shoot out to Bob, personalized only by the fact that it’s the right date and name, REALLY personalize it with that one unique aspect that you gleaned from the conversation you had with Bob:
“Happy Birthday Bob! I hope you get a new fishing pole on your birthday!”
This is a real personalization that will receive a smile and a sincere “thank you” from a new business acquaintance, and possibly new friend and customer.
When you thank current customers, use the insights from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and thank your customer for why they purchased, not what they purchased. Once again, your machines will be at a loss to provide this data. Only your interpersonal interactions with the customer will give you the ability to say:
“Dear Mrs. Butterworth, Thank you for buying your cleaning solvents from us. I’m excited for you to have more time with the kids and spend less time scrubbing the sticky syrup off your table!”
Once again, this message is worth sending for the smile and the sincere, “No… Thank You!”
Just remember, technology is meant to augment the natural abilities of humanity, not replace them. As we attempt to automate personalization, we need to be careful not to simply imitate it (and fall short). Use your CRM to record those dates and details, but also record the “one unique aspect” that you gained from your interpersonal interactions. After all, nurturing was never meant to be done by machines.
How do you personalize your interactions during lead nurturing? Am I totally off base? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici
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