We’re all familiar with traditional marketing — the kind of one-size fits all marketing approach where a business uses a uniform marketing mix even if their market is different. Some brands, like Proctor & Gamble, make an effort by offering different products — Tide, Gain, Cheer, etc — and different sizes, scents, etc. But, even this adaptation is limiting.
In the past, P&G did what they could in a world where mass marketing was king. Advances in technology, however, make nearly endless adaptations possible, and, indeed, favor companies who can effectively do adaptive marketing, which, according to Ad Age, is set to be the next big thing in marketing — then, how long before it’s a necessary requirement for business success.
So, what is adaptive marketing:
Adaptive marketing is an approach that enables marketers to tailor their activities in unparalleled ways to meet their customers’ interests and needs based on recorded data [source]
And, this graphic, from a company specializing in teaching organizations to do adaptive marketing, shows how to do adaptive marketing right.
Adaptive marketing is a customized approach to marketing that focuses on different types of customers. It brings an end to the era of mass marketing and ushers in a period where a relationship with a brand addresses the needs of individual consumers.
Why do adaptive marketing?
Adaptive marketing offers numerous benefits for both businesses and consumers. Consumers enjoy receiving products and services that precisely meet their needs and match their expectations. At the same time, businesses naturally profit by delivering an excellent customer experience, resulting in higher sales (and often premium pricing).
An adaptive marketing campaign starts with a change in mindset. A successful adaptive marketing approach requires businesses understand and appreciate the diversity of their customer base. In addition, the choice of technology has a strong impact on the efficiency of adaptive marketing.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that adaptive marketing is only for large corporations. Cloud technology and innovative thought have given small to mid-sized companies needed tools to compete using adaptive marketing tactics.
Office 365, one of the most popular cloud-based business tools, already gives you and your team the ability to produce and collaborate during the course of business. You can use these same tools to power your adaptive marketing strategy. Microsoft’s suite allows you to perform omni-channel market analyses as well as create adaptive content that caters to different customers in specific situations.
Omni-Channel Market Analysis With Office 365
Omni-channel marketing builds upon the multi-channel model by integrating all your channels on the business end. Moreover, omni-channel marketing includes the analysis and segmentation of your customer base.
You can use Office 365 to perform your omni-channel market analysis. Tools such as Dynamics CRM and Power BI enable you to collect customer data, segment your customer base, and obtain an overview of your marketing metrics.
Successful adaptive marketing begins with the use of Dynamics CRM, a Microsoft-branded customer relationship management tool that gives you centralized storage for and access to customer data. The application automates marketing interactions and improves communications while supplying your company with vital business intelligence necessary to create meaningful customer segments.
Microsoft’s Dynamics includes five individual apps that seamlessly integrate, but you don’t have to buy them all at once. Instead, you can add the capabilities that you need as your business grows.
Dynamics CRM helps your company segment your customer base, prospects, and leads into various manageable groups which can be individually targeted and served. You can create segments of your audience based on age, gender, geographic location, occupation and other demographics. In addition, other factors such as psychographics, personal values, online behavior, and travel habits can facilitate segmentation in unlimited ways.
Once you have segmented your contacts, export the results into an Excel spreadsheet. Now that you have a spreadsheet containing the data you want to use, you can load it into Power BI, the Microsoft business intelligence tool.
When you open Power BI, you’ll have access to a dashboard with tools that draw from your data to learn about your leads, profitable marketing channels and other marketing metrics. This omni-channel analysis will help you create powerful customized content that can turbocharge your marketing effort.
Creating Content With Office 365
Once you’ve finished your omni-channel market analysis, you can create content relevant to each segment of your audience. In order to create adaptive content, you need to understand that this content changes both in appearance and in substance depending on the recipient’s specific needs, desires, and hot buttons. Office 365 has plenty of tools that enable and simplify the creation of adaptive content.
The Publisher app allows you to make flyers and other publications for export to digital formats or printing. Built-in templates and those available for download give you and your team a head-start in your content creation effort. You will want to create customized material that appeals to each of your contact groups. Publisher supports the “mail merge” feature that will automatically personalize and address (if necessary) a copy of your content for each contact.
Sway is another marketing tool that Microsoft recently added to the Office 365 family. The app works on multiple platforms that assist marketers with the creation of canvases of marketing ideas. These ideas communicate via a variety of content types and degrees of user interaction.
While creating in Sway, you and your coworkers have a chance to blend text, video, graphics and user inputs in a shareable page-based format. As with your other content, you’ll want to use Sway to create content designed to engage and convert members of each segment of your omni-channel audience.
To sum up, omni-channel analysis gives your company the ability to capitalize on the data generated by your business. Using Office 365 applications, you can segment and analyze your audience and then create content that appeals to each group. Personalizing your content via mail merge functions adds the names and other data points of your audience to your material to give it a polished and personal flair that captivates each individual reader.
Using Office 365 allows you and your team to work and collaborate among applications that interact well with each other and have similar interfaces. Ultimately, having your adaptive analytics and content creation in the same family of apps allows you to reduce the time spent learning applications while drastically improving the performance of your marketing effort and the profitability of your business.
Author Bio: Heather Redding is an avid reader, freelance writer, tech enthusiast and a coffee snob from Aurora, Illinois. When she is not working, Heather enjoys photography swimming and hanging out with her friends. You can reach Heather via Twitter.
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