In today’s world, where we speak to audiences digitally more often than in person, it’s becoming more important to personalize the digital delivery of our communications and content.

Believe it or not, Americans now own more connected devices than there are people in the country — and spend more time interacting with those devices than any other medium combined. In just a few years, Americans have quickly evolved to expect personalized communications delivered exactly when and where it matters most to them. Some call this phenomenon “mobile moments.”


Speaking to Your Many Audiences

When I talk about “speaking to your audience,” I’m talking about communicating to them through all the electronic interfaces you offer — such as email, website, e-commerce site, text messages, push messages and your apps. It’s vital that the delivery of information and communication be timely, relevant and contextual in the digital world to effectively engage. In fact, the best way to communicate with your audience is to be as timely and relevant as possible.

This goes for all of your audiences.  You might be communicating with:

• Dealers.

• Distributors.

• Technicians.

• Consumers.


Successfully Engaging All of Your Audiences

The HVAC companies that I talk to tell me that there are significant challenges to keeping up with the rapidly changing expectations and demands of these diverse audiences. One of the primary challenges is the ability to capture, harness and instantly take action on their data — in order to successfully engage technicians, customers, distributors and dealers alike.

Good digital direct communications programs leverage four key data sets to deliver the kind of personalized communications experiences that engage and retain your audience:

• Demographic data.

• Behavioral data.

• Location data.

• Transaction data.


Demographic Data

It’s vital to know who you are working with. What are their names? Where do they live, work and play? If they are technicians or distributors, then you’ll also want to know — what regions do they cover?  What product lines do they use?  Who are their customers?

Digital interfaces — such as mobile apps — present an unparalleled opportunity to capture baseline user data, including the user’s name, email or mobile number. In addition, opt-in rates for mobile apps to receive email, text and push communications can reach 30 percent to 80 percent, depending on user affinity and interest.

Social media sources are also helpful in building individual customer profiles. You can leverage email addresses to match publicly available social media accounts and then further populate your database with information—such as name, occupation, profile description, followers and more.

Finally, third-party data sources (like from direct mail) can provide additional demographic info.


Behavioral Data

Tracking individual behavior can provide powerful insights and generate actionable data. Digital interfaces generate a wealth of data metrics — such as page views, clicks, scans, redemptions, opens, closes and so on.


Location Data

Apps now have the ability to link a user’s location to data metrics. Tagging latitude and longitude coordinates will identify their location at any given time. You can even measure time spent at a given location — for example, a technician doing an onsite repair.

More precise location data can also be collected with the use of beacons, an increasingly popular choice among retailers. Some retailers even track user presence at competitive locations.


Transaction Data

Transaction data are very powerful and predictive. The challenge is, how do you put it to use from a digital communications perspective?

Integrations are often the “long pole in the tent,” preventing companies from accessing real-time data. Successful programs typically extract the data in real time, or at a frequency high enough to complement their data stream.


Personalizing Your Communications

In order to truly engage and retain all of your audiences — dealers, distributors, technicians, consumers — you must combine these data sources into an easy-to-use segmentation and communications automation tool, which is really the key to a successful, data-driven personalization program.

You may be wondering, will users actually share their personal data with you?  Absolutely, according to some surprising results we found this year in our study with mCordis, “Consumer Attitudes to Privacy, Permission and Personalization.” In fact, when we looked at the mobile usage habits of 1,050 users of all ages, we found that people are more than willing to share their personal data — if they feel they are getting something worthwhile in return (think: royalty rewards, discounts, coupons) and if they trust the content provider. 

The bottom line is this:  the more personalized your communications with your different audiences, the better — through email, text, website, e-commerce and apps. And the best way to personalize the message for your audience experience is by leveraging demographic, behavioral, location and transaction data.  As quickly as possible.  Because if you don’t, your competitors will.