Remember when everything about marketing centered around scale? Technology was built to help us send as many emails as possible or to blast out as many ads—on as many channels—as possible.

Those days, as we all know, are long gone.

If that era was defined by quantity, today’s era is defined by quality—more specifically, how relevant and personal our marketing is to a specific audience at a specific time or stage in its journey. Today, customers expect experiences, ads, and content to be personalized to their needs and interests. And marketers expect technology that enables them to deliver those experiences.

The good news: lots of technology vendors say they’re focused on solving this problem. The bad news: not all of them do it well. And that’s creating a lot of noise for marketing technology buyers.

Customer Data: The Holy Grail of Personalization

To deliver personalized experiences, you need customer information. And to get that information, many marketers have turned to form fills, surveys, and gated content or offers. These tactics can be a great way to capture breadcrumbs that help you better understand, segment, and market to each customer.

There’s just one problem: people hate filling out forms.

One recent study found that forms with just three fields have a conversion rate of 25 percent. That number drops to 15 percent with six or more fields.

It’s no wonder Amazon has invested so significantly in creating simple, one-click buying experiences and why many marketers have begun ditching lead forms altogether. Forms and gates create friction in a prospective buyer’s journey. They’re like the TV ads we’ve all come to hate—barriers to what we really came to see.

Without Forms, How Do You Collect Customer Information?

Ultimately, this is what a modern marketing automation platform should give you.

Whether someone is a customer who’s been with you for a decade or a prospect who’s finding you for the first time, your technology vendor should be able to identify website visitors and intelligently analyze their interests and intent—with or without a form fill.

This can be accomplished through sophisticated data mining that makes it far easier to:

  • Capture comprehensive demographic details to ensure marketing messages are tailored to prospects and delivered in the most productive way possible.
  • Perform behavioral analysis to identify where prospects are in the buying process, determine how ready they are to buy, and make an educated guess around what they might be interested in next.

Not sure if your current marketing automation partner offers this technology?

It’s a question worth asking. All signs are pointing toward form fills and other interruptive data capture techniques becoming a thing of the past. If you’re still reliant on those tactics when that shift happens, where would it leave you? Would you still be able to collect the information you need to deliver the personalized experiences your customers expect?

In the next post in this series, we’ll be diving a bit deeper into this topic by exploring the foundational components that make up an effective marketing automation platform today. If you’re thinking about a technology switch, this post will help you set a baseline for key requirements. Stay tuned!

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