15 Fun Elements To Include In A Personalized Marketing Campaign (And Why They Work), as seen on Forbes

January 10, 2020

When you think of a personalized marketing campaign, the word "fun" doesn't typically feature in the consideration. However, fun elements of personalized marketing have resulted in ads that were both successful and memorable.

Most customized marketing campaigns aim to create a feeling of knowing what the consumer wants. Balancing the fun element with the connection element is challenging. When the balance manages to work, it can change the engagement level of the entire campaign.

To help marketers ascertain where fun factors work, 15 members of Forbes Communications Council share the fun elements that worked in their personalized campaigns and explore why they were so successful.

1. Customer Projects That Use Your Products

My digital marketing team and I created an online community membership site for craft hobbyists to upload their hand-made projects after using our Perler Beads products. We launched fun contests and awards for the best designs, offered free craft classes and showcased their projects in our marketing campaigns. Keeping customers engaged and satisfied led to more purchases and referrals. - Stacy Sherman, Schindler Elevator Corporation

2. Your Prospects’ Branding

We’ve built campaigns that are based on our prospects' campaigns to their end customers, essentially reworking their messaging and positioning and branding and retargeting it at them. This works very well as it gets their attention and demonstrates that we get who their company is at a brand and market level. - Jennifer Kyriakakis, MATRIXX Software

Dog-lovers can be considered fanatics. But our pets can also serve to connect to others as we develop a personal brand. I learned this when I was developing my own brand online. Sharing fun pictures of Max, my golden retriever, allowed me to be 100% authentic and attracted other golden owners to connect. Bringing something you love into your brand can facilitate a quick connection packaged with trust. - MaryPat Kavanagh, Terahertz Device Corporation

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

4. Customer's Name In Lights

We created a postcard that included the client's name in the image of the movie theater ("Starring John Smith"). On the back, we incorporated specific elements about them within the text. We just had to be careful not to be too personal. We received several comments about "their name in lights." We developed a way to transition that sentiment into the business topic. - Christopher McGown, The Salvation Army

5. Customized Messages Around Client Engagement

In a noninvasive way, it's fun to point out some aspect of your business a customer has engaged with -- an Instagram post, a particular page on your website, a blog post, anything you can track -- and create customized messages around what that engagement means. For example, "Love our Pinot Noir? We just released a 2017 vintage that's perfect for a holiday celebration." - Melissa Kandel, little word studio

6. Social Media Shout-Outs

Online reviews are great, but a social media shout-out is the ultimate personal word-of-mouth referral. We encouraged our clients to promote us to their networks by doing a social media contest with cash prizes. We built multiple ways to get extra entries: each additional platform, using a photo of their phone number, including our URL. The reach was much greater than what we could have purchased. - Ellen Sluder, RingBoost

7. A Vision That Makes Them Say 'They Get Me'

At a trade show, a distressed potential client stated she felt she was "drowning in data" daily. We immediately developed a marketing campaign using an image of a woman at her desk drowning underwater with reports floating everywhere. We used the image in many marketing tactics, including a personalized email campaign with the subject line, "Jane, are you drowning in data?" This produced great results! - Rachel Verslues

8. Friend's Name For A Free Meal

We ran a campaign "A Meal To Friendship" for a fast-food brand on Friendship Day. The customers needed to mention the name of their friend in the comments and we would send a free meal to them and to their friend. Winners were allowed to add a customized message to the meal we sent to their friend. The customers enjoyed engaging due to the emotional aspects of it. - Haseeb Tariq, Fox.com

9. A Unique GIF

GIFs are small files that support both animated and static images. They can be designed to be educational and playful and are easily added to a personalized campaign. Done properly, a GIF is an effective way to improve conversion rates and reduce viewer bounce rates -- all while adding a little fun to your program! - Leela Gill, Intelligence Node

10. Pop Culture References

We target overworked tech marketers so the last thing they need is another boring marketing message about our services. Timely or pop culture references make them smile. Our 2018 Year in Review email featured movie references (like "Mean Girls") from Ariana Grande's popular "thank u, next" music video. Now working on a "Friends"-themed recap for 2019. PI-VOT! - René Shimada Siegel, Connext

11. Fun Photos And Testimonials

We've incorporated actual photos along with testimonials and promoted on social media. The photos and quotes can be more personal, fun and engaging, especially as people love to see and share content about themselves with their networks, which helps expand our marketing campaigns and engagement. We've definitely seen an increase in microinfluencer engagement from these efforts. - Amanda Ponzar, Community Health Charities

12. Staff Recommendations

Holiday emails are great and easy tools to personalize your campaign and show that you care, giving your audience a reason to stay engaged and become loyal fans of your brand. In your next email campaign, for example, include your company’s favorite holiday recipes, which will allow your audience to connect with your staff on an intimate level. Watch your open and click rates grow with each email. - Maura Kennedy, Pond Lehocky, LLP

13. Home Team Hats

Our top-performing campaigns incorporate our client’s products and services into our personalization. For example, one direct mail campaign included sending ‘47 hats to our top target accounts -- personalized to their local teams or alma maters -- along with marketing materials on how we have helped ‘47 with their own business. - Vincent Phamvan, Simplr®

14. Value Cards

Personalizing means adding value. To deliver this value we monitor our top intent keywords and build “Value Cards” which explain what the keyword means to each of our key personas. Head of sales researching “predictive analytics” cares about forecasting accuracy, while demand gen leaders want improved lead scoring. Connecting these dots and tailoring the message has made our conversions soar. - Latane Conant, 6sense

15. Superhero Capes

We recently ran a campaign to recognize HR heroes that included a comic book showing importance of HR leaders. As part of the campaign, we sent out superhero capes. At first we thought people might give them to their kids. However, at two events people were wearing them on the dance floor to show their pride in their role. The lesson is that swag should be fun and meaningful. - Sheridan Orr, CultureIQ

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