January 29, 2018 Amanda Bates
What are you more likely to respond to? A marketing webinar invitation with a title like “How to Accelerate Your Pipeline,” or an invite that speaks to your segment and your particular problems, like “How to Cure Pipeline Bottlenecks in Tech Marketing” or “Lead Maturation Secrets For Financial Marketers?”
Most of us respond to marketing personalization, but as marketers, it’s hard for us to deliver. The problem isn’t lack of data — we’re swimming in data. We can record everything from what lists your leads signed up for to how long they spent looking at a particular page. We can test different messages, designs, webinar formats and content down to the word and get hard data about who our customers are and what they want. The problem is, most of us are focusing on content without taking the time to target our content and webinar strategy.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (LMS) faced a more daunting marketing personalization challenge than most. We’re the marketing and advertising side of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional platform. Our job is to help LinkedIn marketers connect with their customers.
The benefits of our product are obvious, but our customers are difficult to target because they come from so many industries with so many different targets. There are higher education companies targeting aspirational professionals, B2B tech providers, and nonprofits looking to sway key influencers and decision-makers. Figuring out who’s a webinar marketing prospect, who might be interested in our ebook, and who’s just there for connections itself requires some sophisticated modeling. Segmenting and targeting all those different groups is even harder.
How do you target so many different segments? Throwing a lot of content at them is part of the answer. We have an always-on marketing strategy across every channel available to us — sponsored content and dynamic ads, InMail and email, social feeds and blogging, live webinars and other webcasts. But throwing content was pretty much all of it. We’d get suggestions, run a webinar and see how well it worked. We were running a decent webinar cadence, with 4–6 per month, but we didn’t have a cohesive strategy behind our content and webinar marketing. No matter how good our content was, it wasn’t connecting quite like we wanted it to.
Marketing personalization starts with analytics
Our first task was getting our content on target — defining our audience so we could deliver the right content in the right form. The first thing was to figure out who was reading white papers, downloading ebooks or signing up and attending our marketing webinars. We brought in our business analytics team to work with us to score members for propensity, so we could see where our members were in the marketing funnel.
That helped us group the targets, but we still needed to know who they were. Fortunately, as a professional network, we had plenty of data to figure that out, including job titles, skills and previous experience as clients. Not only did that help us identify the hot leads, but it also gave us a sustainable model for lead maturation. But the breakthrough was the other information we learned about our targets. That let us do what we couldn’t do with good ideas alone: personalize the marketing content.
The personalization imperative
Our webinar marketing strategy got pretty intricate later on, but basic personalization was very simple. The content was already good, even where it was just targeted towards marketers in general. The key was tweaking the messaging. Just by making simple changes to address it to the industry of the member, we received a 184 percent boost in clickthrough. That’s a change anyone can make — you just have to take the time to learn who you’re talking to. And once you get the basics of marketing personalization down, there’s no limits to what you can accomplish.