Why email is critical for closing the personalization gap with ‘MADtech’ - ClickZ

30-second summary:

  • Consumers expect a personalized online experience from every brand.
  • Marketers are struggling to deliver this precise personalization at scale.
  • Adtech brings customers into the funnel, and martech helps cultivate a relationship, but the gap between the two creates data silos, inefficiencies and a breakdown in the handoff.
  • Joining the two in an integrated MADtech strategy bridges the gap and creates a seamless continuum that spans every channel.
  • Email is critical for allowing brands to use MADtech to give consumers a more personalized experience.

Engaging online audiences (be it via an email or any other form of content) has become increasingly difficult as more and more platforms, brands and publishers compete for their attention. Not to mention, thanks to the curated recommendation engines like those found on Amazon, Netflix and others, consumer expectations for a more personalized digital experience are higher than ever.

In fact, according to SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers won’t engage with marketing content unless it’s customized to their interests.

These nearly impossible standards, along with the demise of third-party cookies, have left many brands struggling to find the right combination of strategy and technology to deliver on these ever-increasing expectations.

At the same time, there’s been an absolute explosion in the number of adtech and martech solutions aimed at helping to solve this challenge. While this may sound like a good thing—more choices mean more possible solutions—the reality is, this paradox of choice leaves marketers feeling overwhelmed.

An even bigger problem is the fact that implementing even the best adtech and martech solutions can still leave a significant gap. Adtech brings users into the funnel, converting a stranger into a lead, while martech helps (Read more...) to personalize content and nurture an existing relationship.

However, the handoff between the two is often a huge stumbling block.

Because consumer data lives siloed within each solution, it’s nearly impossible to orchestrate a seamless customer journey, especially across multiple channels. As a result, consumers often don’t get the personalized experience they expect.

For example, how often have you shopped online for a product, made the purchase, and then for weeks afterward continue to see scores of ads for that same product?

While those ads might technically be relevant (you did search for that product), they’re not at all useful and clearly demonstrate the big disconnect between what brands think consumers want and what they actually want.

Integrating adtech and martech into a MADtech strategy can help solve this problem and effectively position brands for a more one-to-one relationship with their target audience over every channel.

Rather than a piecemeal, patchwork tech stack where more and more tools are bolted on, adopting a seamless, single, comprehensive solution would allow marketers to optimize their audience engagement, save time and resources and give consumers the personalized experience they expect throughout the customer journey.

While combining advertising and marketing technologies can easily solve this in theory, the reality is it often requires many different product integrations with deep and complex technological capabilities.

It also requires some kind of unifying identifier—a unique ID that allows marketers to identify the same user across multiple channels and enable the seamless handoff of an adtech lead into a martech solution.

How email enables MADTech and more

The best and simplest starting point for a convergence of adtech and martech is with email.

Email enables a MADtech strategy by serving as both a critical data point—the unique unifying identifier—and by pulling double-duty as both a martech and an adtech tool.

Here’s why email is critical to a MADtech convergence:

It contains a treasure trove of data

By registering and tracking registered users’ behavior, brands can collect and use a tremendous amount of data to personalize the user experience. And, because the email sign up is opt-in, those users have fully given permission to track their behavior and use it to their advantage—by providing an experience that’s tailored specifically to their interests.

It’s persistent across channels

Email is universal. An email address is required to sign up for essentially every platform and channel—from social networks to user forums to chat programs. Because it’s persistent, it allows brands to identify the user no matter which channel they engage on.

Email is tied to actual people, not devices

For years, marketers have relied on cookies to understand and track user behavior. But cookies are tied to the device, not the user. That means if a person visits your site on a mobile browser, there’s no way to identify them as the same user who visited on their desktop browser.

Worse yet, when devices are shared (such as a tablet or laptop shared by members of the same family), with cookies, their behavior gets aggregated into one very confusing and entirely inaccurate persona, making it very hard to accurately target.

Email eliminates that problem because an email address is very rarely ever shared. Because it’s tied to a specific individual, marketers can build a single, accurate persona based on trackable behavior, which allows for a much more personalized experience.

Email offers monetization opportunities

Email is the preferred and most trusted channel, and over two-thirds of people will click on an ad in email if it’s relevant to their interests. By embedding ads into email, brands can deliver personalized marketing that builds new audiences and retains existing ones.

With the right platform, for example, when an email is opened, it’s easy to match that user with previous click history, location and known preferences. Brands can deliver a targeted ad that matches those criteria.

If that email is opened again, that process is further optimized with a brand-new ad that’s even more relevant and useful based on new data collected in the interim. This creates a pattern of increasingly precise personalization that gives users exactly what they want.

Integrating adtech and martech into a singular MADtech strategy is critical for marketers in delivering the one-to-one personalization users expect across every domain and touchpoint.

It also allows marketers to replace the patchwork, piecemeal tech stack with a more cohesive, seamless, single solution for audience engagement.

This way, marketers can focus on creating value with more relevant and useful content that enables a more meaningful customer experience.

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