The days are long gone when companies didn't need to personalize their marketing communication and they could still be successful. However, personalization in 2016 needs to go one step further. All marketing needs to be connected and feel the same across every channel and every message.

Connected personalization enables a company to customize every marketing message for a particular customer. So the email they receive, the website products they are recommended, or the in-app message that pings on their phones should all be tailored to them and their preferences. With customers now expecting this sort of joined up thinking we are going to see it growing as more companies find ways to make all their marketing messages highly personalized and homogenised.

With so much noise for potential customers, successful conversion from email is increasingly competitive. Marketers only get one chance with an email, so it needs to be smarter and work harder. The information they used to set up an email campaign two days ago might not be relevant when that email is actually being opened. And if you understand that a customer isn't going to look at every single one of your emails, you need to make sure you offer them the very best message, when they do choose to interact with your brand.

The ultimate aim is to create a 'truly connected' consumer; a consumer that is so integrated into your business or brand, who receives such highly targeted offers and messages through their phones, tablets and wearables, that they evangelise about you and won't shop anywhere else.

One way to do this is by combining social and brand content in your marketing communications. Social media has completely transformed the way people create, consume and share content. With this new behavior of how people interact with one another, brands need to adapt how they communicate, market and position products accordingly.

There are tools out there that have been built with this change of behavior in mind and provide marketers with the tools they need to leverage user generated content (UGC), to increase conversion and customer retention.

According to experts, UGC is 50% more trusted than any other media and you can understand why. Retailers that use UGC in email see a 43% increase in click-through rates and a 2-3 times conversion rate plus 86% of customers look to UGC as an indicator of product or service quality.


by Kym Reynolds, senior marketing advisor for SmartFocus

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