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It’s the ultimate goal for ambitious marketers: Creating an optimal information provision and buying process not just for groups of people, but right down to the level of individual prospects and customers—and perhaps even tailoring products or services to accommodate specific individuals. In today’s B2B world, personalization, which has been described as “anextreme form of database marketing” has far to go before it achieves widespread use.
Marketing automation answers the marketer’s need to become involved earlier in the purchasing process and influence the prospect’s decision into a systematic business asset. In a B2B context, it enables companies to gather in-depth information not just on the companies they are selling to, but on individuals within those companies. Armed with this knowledge, covering both the personǯs interests and their phase in the process, marketers can provide the right information and useful advice to match, making sure to capture the prospectǯs attention and, hopefully, goodwill.
Marketing automation, in a nutshell, then, is all about personalizing communication so that it is timely and relevant for a prospective buyer—with the aim of increasing the number of conversions, whether it’s moving them from an early browsing stage to more of a serious interest, or leading them to identify exactly the product that will suit their needs and providing a business case to help close the deal.
Happily, advances in marketing automation systems are making personalized sales and marketing processes a real possibility, even for smaller companies.
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