Using Customer Data to Personalize Marketing Automation

The post below was written by Jenna Puckett, a technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice.

Your buyers aren’t all the same. So naturally, your marketing shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.

using customer data for marketing automation

As your business and customer base grow, replicating an intimate, one-on-one customer experience is important. Sending the same message to all of your customers (or potential customers) will come off as impersonal. On the other hand, an experience that is targeted and consistent will be more relevant to your prospects and therefore more valuable.

A combination of customer analytics and marketing automation is key to creating such personalized experiences. This software is the virtual factory where marketers combine customer data from website visits, email campaigns, and social media to produce more targeted marketing.

Why Context Is King

Customers want personalization. In fact, 75 percent of U.S. customers appreciate when companies customize messaging and offers to fit their preferences. Your business exists to meet a need; customers will appreciate your marketing if it’s as relevant to their needs as possible.

Personalization goes beyond simply plugging a customer’s name into an email greeting. It’s about selecting the messages customers receive based on their digital behavior. In order to learn more about your audience, you have to listen to them— but not always in the traditional sense.

Sourcing Customer Data

Social media interactions, email marketing, landing pages, surveys, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, retargeted ads — these are all customer touch points that can tell you about a user’s needs and interests. Customer analytics and marketing automation platforms help unite all of this information in one central place.

By connecting data from a couple of touch points, you can find general patterns for how prospects interact with your brand. You can then use this information to create personalized campaigns that move them down the sales funnel.


The reason customer data is so valuable to marketing automation is because it allows you to segment your audience. By identifying different groups of customers or prospects, you can send more meaningful messages to each group. When you match the content you’re sending to the recipients’ interests, you are creating a personalized experience. The marketing feels personal, even if it’s happening at scale.

For example, if you create a list of prospects who watched a high-value product video, you could then send them follow-up content like a case study for the product. This type of intentional, layered content supplies answers to the questions buyers encounter during their journey. And because this content is relevant, prospects don’t mind seeing it in their inboxes.

The best marketing automation programs offer flexible, highly customizable parameters and tight integrations with customer analytics tools in order to help prioritize and segment contacts. For example, you can automatically build lists based on pre-defined criteria, such as:

  • A high lead score
  • Job title
  • Event or webinar attendance
  • Customers of a specific product line
  • A “new leads” list
  • Geographic location
  • Business size

These are just a few examples of the ways to segment customers. By sorting your audience based on demographic information or online behavior, you’re able to identify different segments of your market and create content specifically for their needs.


Once you’ve segmented your audience, you can then decide which groups you want to serve and you can position your solution to match their needs. Tailoring your message or service to a chosen segment essentially enables you to optimize your campaigns, rather than blast everyone with the same, potentially irrelevant information.

So, what kind of tailored communications can you send? That will vary depending on your business goals, but let’s take a look at a few to get you started:

  • Drip campaigns are an essential function of lead nurturing. Over time, recipients receive information that helps solve their problem, and they also get to know and trust you. These campaigns are often tied to CRM contact records triggered by downloads and registrations from landing pages.
  • An onboarding campaign for new subscribers or customers is a helpful way to increase user satisfaction. For example, let’s say you sell a SaaS product but offer a free trial. An automated campaign that sends trial users information about how to use different features might increase product adoption rates and increase sales.
  • Promotions, discounts, and recommendations are a tried and true marketing tactic. Just be sure the offers are targeted— no one likes to receive a coupon or suggestion for a dress shirt they’ve already bought. Offering a matching tie is a more strategic tactic. Use the knowledge you’ve gained about customers and apply it to future offers.

Monitor and Adjust

If all this sounds like a lot of effort, don’t fret. One of the many benefits of combining customer analytics and marketing automation software is that together they provide in-depth analytics. This insight allows you to pinpoint which personalization efforts are worthwhile and which ones need to be improved.

Customer analytics and marketing automation are not “set it and forget it” solutions. And though it’s tricky to master, the payoff can be significant. But by using customer data, monitoring engagement, and adjusting accordingly, you can ensure personalized communication and greater customer satisfaction. And since all this effort translates to higher revenue, there’s truly no reason to treat all your customers the same.

Jenna Puckett is a junior technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. She covers topics related to gamification, employee performance, and other emerging tech trends. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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