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Break these four bad marketing habits!

We all have bad habits, from bringing our mobile devices to the dinner table to biting our fingernails. And, as anyone who’s ever made a New Year’s resolution knows, bad habits can be hard to break.

Marketers are not immune to this truth. Over the years, marketing teams have developed their own bad habits, many of which originated as best practices that have been replaced by better technology over time. Customer segmentation is one example. Many marketers still believe that segmenting customers into demographic groups is a pathway to personalization. In reality, broad segmentation is a shortcut to irrelevance given the insatiable demand for individualized experiences that most customers have today.

So, what bad habits are you harboring in your marketing practices? Here are four bad habits that you should break right now if you want to deliver great customer experiences…

1. Fear of fixing underperforming campaigns

If a marketing campaign doesn’t perform well, the tendency is to blame the campaign. Maybe the assumptions were flawed, we rationalize, or maybe the segments were wrong, but for whatever reason we assume the model is broken and throw it out. Many “bad” campaigns, however, just need tweaking. Adding insights around content affinity, for example, could re-align customers and messaging to deliver much better results. In other words, don’t be afraid to tinker with your campaigns; a few modifications might have them running perfectly for you.

2. Confusing segmentation with personalization

Twenty years ago, personalization looked a lot like a “Dear John” letter. It might be a personalized email that began “Dear [your name here]” or a handful of buyer personas that determined whether you were offered a new lawnmower or a new washing machine when you were browsing a home repair site. Today’s customers expect a lot more. In an age when Netflix knows what you want to watch, Amazon knows what you want to buy, Spotify knows what you like to listen to, and Instacart knows what you like to eat, simply knowing someone’s name, age, gender, and income isn’t even table stakes anymore.

3. Putting too much faith in your gut

Marketing has long been regarded as more art than science. Fortunately, we have much better science today: machine learning, artificial intelligence, recommendation engines, etc. Relying on gut instinct is a recipe for disaster when your competitors are using the latest technology to create amazing customer experiences. That’s not to say that human intelligence is obsolete. Instinct and experience still play an important role in interpreting data and formulating hypotheses, but smart companies start with technology first.

4. Throwing out good campaigns because of bad data

Marketers tend to view campaigns as time-sensitive strategies. They’re effective for a moment in time, and then that moment passes. Instead of putting good campaigns out to pasture, marketers should consider optimizing them over time. With the amount of real-time data that technologies like customer data platforms can collect, marketers can constantly refresh their campaigns as they learn more about their customers. Also, customer journeys evolve as life changes. Buying a home, getting married, and having children all have an impact on that journey. If your campaign engagement is weakening with time, it may your data and not your strategy to blame.

Digital transformation has dramatically changed the marketing landscape. At Lytics, we’re at the forefront of that transformation, and we see marketers make a lot of the same mistakes from company to company. If you’re really ready for change, talk to Lytics about our customer data platform technology, and read my latest article in Customer Think, “9 Marketing Mistakes That Are Costing You Customers Right Now.”