Personalization in marketing has been one of the hottest trends over the last 5-10 years. There is a good reason for that. According to Twilio, 62% of consumers say a brand will lose their loyalty if they deliver an experience that is not personalized, up nearly 20% from 2021. According to McKinsey, personalization will be the prime driver of marketing success within five years. I doubt you can find a marketer who doesn't believe in the value of personalization. In fact, more detailed, accurate, and actionable personalization is one of the top goals on a marketer's to-do list. Billions of dollars of technology, data, machine learning, and AI push personalization to unprecedented levels.
Personalization is the Holy Grail for marketers. It's in high demand by consumers. Does it have a role in ad agency business development? Do your prospects respond to it? In conversations with agency leaders, I hear them say personalization is important to new business success. But when I probe further, it is not much more than the first name in a cold email. Those with a little more sophistication can personalize by referring to a specific agency service based on a web page visit. Some see personalization as congratulating a trending social media post or award. These used to be good first steps, but today, they are merely table stakes, expected, and the least effective forms of personalization. The industry is far ahead, and agencies are far behind.
The challenge for agency business development pros is to go beyond the ordinary and get deeper, more personal, and more actionable. And to do so at scale. Once upon a time, we'd develop personalization in person. We'd meet at events and conferences, community service efforts or sports and entertainment, on the golf course, or at the pub. Relationships were developed, nurtured, and used to personalize the pitch in a natural and authentic way. Today, given the many circumstances we face, that is a lot harder than it used to be. And even more so with large prospect lists and limited patience for success.
The advent of social media, especially LinkedIn, gave us rich new resources to find common ground and draw insights about personalities that help improve our personalization. LinkedIn is the most comprehensive collection of marketing people. Its format includes college affiliation, past work experience, volunteer activities, content posting, common friends, and connections, which are helpful for personalized interactions. You can even get a rough sense of the marketer's personality based on how their profile is written, what things mention about accomplishments and accolades, and the overall tone. Extracting it is time-consuming and hit or miss because the amount and type of information vary.
There had been no better source of personal data than LinkedIn until recently. A few products have come to market that use AI and other technologies to analyze you. They develop personality profiles based on a comprehensive analysis of publicly available data such as LinkedIn, Facebook, corporate profiles, posts, publications, and other sources. The way they do it and the sources and processes involved are their proprietary IP. Still, the results are improving as technology improves and demand increases. I tried a few of these services in the early days and was not impressed. That all just changed.
A recent encounter with one of these resources prompted me to share that experience with you. I'd even go as far as to say this may be the most important sales innovation since the invention of email. Yeah. I was that impressed. I was skeptical. It was unexpected. I was doing prospect research when in about 1 – 2 seconds of load time, I went from being clueless about the person and her personality to confident in my approach, messaging, and tone. I had been struggling to connect, but now I have all the tools to do so with the ultimate personalization.
I'm sure you can tell how excited I am about this product and what it can do for agency business development people like me. Even more exciting, I discovered it in my favorite sales intelligence tool, Winmo. They have built it directly into their platform on the profile page of every contact in their database. They recently announced this feature, and you can read the details here.
It turns out I did not know this was coming. My first encounter was a complete surprise. The other morning I was reading a Winmo daily briefing email. I noticed a marketing VP I had been trying to connect with was just promoted to CMO. Bingo! The perfect reason to reach out with a congratulations email and a comment on the LinkedIn post. The timing couldn't be better because we all know a new CMO means changes ahead.
I clicked on the Winmo alert story link to the full article. I read the details and then clicked on the prospect's profile page. It popped up just like every other time I do prospect research. After a second or two, the profile page lit up with a wealth of personality insights, something I had never seen before. I said to myself, holy S!$&, this is a gold mine. I started scanning the various sections, and the wheels started spinning–that's what I have to say, that's how I should say it, that's what I should avoid.
The first thing I noticed in her personality assessment is that she responds well to confident salespeople. I blew that one in previous outreach because I was worried an overconfident tone could be a turn-off. The next thing I noticed was to avoid long-winded pitches. For me, brevity is challenging when introducing an agency. Another actionable insight, tell her you are there to help her create a visible impact within their organization. I know just how to say that. And another actionable insight, stress the business value that I offer. That is something I always do.
I could go on and on about all the tremendous actionable insight nuggets, but the best way to understand the total value is with a demo. I can show you a list of do's and don'ts to say, tips on structuring an email with suggestions for the greeting, subject, tone, length, and closing line. You'll see guidance on key personality traits like risk tolerance and decision drivers. Read their DISC and OCEAN profiles to get a more comprehensive understanding of their dominant personality traits. My prospect exhibited dominant traits of conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness. My congratulations email could practically write itself now: what a discovery and perfect timing for me.
I've been experimenting with AI copywriting. I imagine these insights will greatly assist in crafting the perfect, fully personalized AI-drafted message. Note that I said AI drafted because I always add my personal touches after the robot is finished. While preparing for a couple of calls, I tried putting these insights to the test, and it felt like the insights fit the person and conversation so well. I don't know about you, but I appreciate that it suggests what I should say and, equally important, what I shouldn't say. Sometimes I don't know where the line is until I cross it. I could quickly see how the ease and accuracy make the benefit more scalable than any other service or process I've tried. Having it embedded in Winmo makes it such a useful tool because I won't have to jump in and out of one platform to the next and back again. Let me know if you've used anything better.
After my initial testing and experimenting, I have to say Winmo has gone next level with surprisingly accurate personality insights. Whether you are doing individual contact research, acting on one of the many new business trigger alerts, or a spur-of-the-moment opportunity, it's easy to reach the right brand decision-maker and create outreach that is more likely to get a response. It's hard to imagine a better new business tool, no matter the cost.
On the other hand, if Winmo is not for you, there are stand-alone personality insight tools that you can subscribe to. If you have a big budget, you might try IBM Watson Personality Insights and sign up for the 30-day free trial. Crystal is another that's been around for a while and offers a free trial. A newcomer, Humanistic AI, is a Winmo partner and provides a 21-day free trial. While many of these may add value to your prospecting, none of them can add as much value as the embedded feature in Winmo.
Want to put AI on your team? Let's connect, and I'll show you how I use it. Why not include Winmo in your 2023 planning? Considering the economic headwinds ahead, you will need every advantage you can get. If you like this post, sign up for my new business newsletter. And find me on LinkedIn for daily tips and insights. Feel free to reach out at any time. #LetsGrow!