1.2: Sarah Frazier: How to Create More Personalized Marketing Experiences

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This is a podcast episode titled, 1.2: Sarah Frazier: How to Create More Personalized Marketing Experiences. The summary for this episode is: <p>57% of marketing and sales leaders are not happy with their company's personalization strategy.</p><p><br></p><p>Yes, you read that right. Over half of the marketers and salespeople surveyed in Drift's latest State of Personalization survey admitted that despite the plethora of data available today, companies still have not cracked the personalization code. Why not?</p><p><br></p><p>Sarah Frazier, one of Drift's managers of content marketing, believes it's due to lack of strategy.</p><p><br></p><p>In this episode of Conversation Starters, Sammi sits down with Sarah to talk all about how to deliver a personalized marketing experience through content. Sarah shares the tactics she uses for building out personalized content at Drift, her learnings from bad buying experiences, and tips for how marketers can start leveraging their content to start more conversations.</p><p><br></p><p>Like this episode? We'd love it if you could leave us a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review! And make sure to subscribe, so you never miss an opportunity to learn more about starting conversations in the Revenue Era.</p><p><br></p><p>You can connect with Sammi and the Drift Podcast Network on Twitter @sammireinstein,@DriftPodcasts, and Sarah on LinkedIn.</p>
Findings from Drift's State of Personalization book
02:17 MIN
The stake a buyer-centric business model holds for businesses
02:01 MIN
How Sarah thinks about personalization in her content strategy
01:51 MIN

Sammi Reinstein: Hey, this is Sammi Reinstein, and you're listening to Conversation Starters. On this show, we talk all about bringing conversations back to B to B marketing and selling because if there's one thing we know about doing business in the revenue era, it's that the best customer experience wins. Through the power of our own conversations with Drifters, customers and special guests, we'll learn how to deliver a sales and marketing experience that puts the buyer first. Let's get into it.

Elizabeth: Hey, Sammi.

Sammi Reinstein: Hey, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: How's it going?

Sammi Reinstein: I'm good. I'm excited to be recording episode two. It feels good to be back. I had some tea last night, warmed up the vocal cords, had some soup.

Elizabeth: Soup, what kind of soup?

Sammi Reinstein: I had some miso soup. I got sushi for self- care Tuesday.

Elizabeth: Oh, love self- care Tuesday. Can't go wrong.

Sammi Reinstein: You can't go wrong with self- care Tuesday. And I ordered from Uber Eats, as I always do, because their notifications, they know me a little too well.

Elizabeth: You have frequent Uber Eats.

Sammi Reinstein: Frequent Uber Eats. I went through a bad stage, mostly because they were just giving me different notifications. And I was like, " Yeah, I guess I will order Uber Eats. It's a lot easier."

Elizabeth: You weren't thinking about Uber Eats, but then once they're like, " Hey, it's dinner time. What do you need?"

Sammi Reinstein: Exactly.

Elizabeth: You're like, " Now I need Uber Eats."

Sammi Reinstein: They're like, " It's dinner time, or it's game day, or it's raining."

Elizabeth: The game day, it's like, " You need some wings." And I'm like, " I do need wings, you're right."

Sammi Reinstein: I do need some wings. Specifically though, they just know me so well and they give very good recommendations for my taste. So I've had very good experiences with the personalization there. But I know there are so many people when they go through buying experiences, where it's just absolutely impersonal and a very bad buying experience. Have you ever had something like that?

Elizabeth: I've definitely had the reverse, where I've tried to Door Dash groceries, and they won't... I'll say, "I want this specific type of pasta," say it's penne pasta, and then they'll just bring me macaroni. And I'm like, " Well, I didn't want that. Why didn't you talk to me and start a conversation about what alternatives would be?" That's frustrating and makes me not want to buy again.

Sammi Reinstein: Whenever I have a bad buying experience, I have a very sour taste in my mouth, and it definitely makes me want to go somewhere else, or just cancel my subscription, or whatever it is. There are so many options these days. To stand out, you really need to have great conversations with your buyers.

Elizabeth: Especially online, you can go anywhere.

Sammi Reinstein: Well, that is a very good segue into who our guest is today, Sarah Frazier, who is a manager of content marketing and copywriting at Drift, is coming on the podcast to talk all things personalization. And I can't wait to hear.

Elizabeth: She is a powerhouse. She's written two books recently, all about personalization. You can find them on drift. com and linked in the show notes. But I'm really excited to hear what she has to say and to dive a bit deeper into what she does and how you can make content conversational.

Sammi Reinstein: Great sound bite, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: Thanks.

Sammi Reinstein: Should we dive in?

Elizabeth: Let's go.

Sammi Reinstein: Sarah, thank you so much for joining the podcast. Me and Elizabeth were really excited to have you on because we love all of the content that you create, but even more, we love you and everything.

Sarah Frazier: Oh, my goodness.

Sammi Reinstein: But for those who don't know you personally, can you give all of the listeners just a little bit of background about what you do at Drift, all of the amazing content that you make?

Sarah Frazier: I head up the content, offers, and copywriting team. So when I say offers, people normally scratch their head and they're like, " What is that?" Offers are anything at the end of your campaign, so it could be a landing page, a book, it could be a report, it could be research. It could be a tool that you use, so like something like a website scraper or something that spits out results for you. All of those things are the purview of people under my team, and I work in collaboration with a lot of the folks on the creative team, and then I work very closely with demand gen teams since they head up our campaigns. So and then outside of that, I am in charge of the copywriting, so that, if you have any qualms with any of the copy on our page, I am the person that you need to speak to immediately. But yeah, that's sort of the long and short of it.

Sammi Reinstein: I love it. So you could say you're having a lot of conversations crosstalk with many people across many teams.

Sarah Frazier: I know. My goodness. Dad jokes, I love it.

Sammi Reinstein: Dad jokes.

Sarah Frazier: Yes. I work and collaborate with a lot of people on specifically the marketing team. But I also head up with the lovely Delaney, our webinars, and I help out with events. So I get to work with a lot of people outside of Drift as well, which is super awesome. And we create a lot of really good partnerships with companies like Asana and Adobe through that. So yeah, it's a ton of fun.

Sammi Reinstein: I want to tell you a little story before we dive into all of our questions. I was recently with my mother. And my mom was like, " Sammi, my phone is listening to me. I was talking about shoes. I was looking at shoes. And then Instagram showed me those exact shoes that I was looking at." And I kind of had to explain to her, " Well, Mom, I don't think your phone's listening to you. There's probably other intent indicators that brought those shoes back to you." But I think there's a lot of misconceptions as it relates to personalization in the B to B space. Can you try to give me a little bit of an explanation of personalization in B to B, if you were explaining it to my mom or my grandma?

Sarah Frazier: Sure. So first of all, no, her phone is definitely not listening to her, unless she has certain apps that have the microphone on. Those do, if you are using them at the current time and Alexa, for example, who didn't go off when I said her name, is listening. But no, it's funny, people don't realize when they're online the micro behavior that they have. So when they hesitate on an ad, immediately the algorithm knows, oh, okay, maybe they like this. Unconsciously, you probably don't realize that you're doing those things, and so it feels very honestly paranoid inducing. But for people who don't know what personalization is, you kind of already do. I think that it goes without saying that everyone wants to feel special. And back before, let's say the industry revolution, you go to mom- and- pop stores a lot more, they knew their buyers by name. They know who they were as people. They knew their family, all of that stuff. And with technology, it's definitely kept us more connected, but also makes us a little further apart. Right? We're doing our shopping online. We're doing our shopping at home. We don't get face to face with mom- and- pops anymore. And the great thing about personalization is it uses your behavior online to inform products and services that it serves up to you. And why is this better for you? Because it makes it so you're not repeating yourself and telling the same story over and over again to, say if you're shopping for a new vendor. So you can have curated things sent to you. Good example is ads. Ads are probably one of the best examples you could give you mom and dad because at some point, somebody has probably had this haunting feeling of being watched when looking at their ad recommendations on Instagram or Facebook. But most likely, you are actually in control of those things happening because you were hesitating on them and showing that there's interest. But in B to B marketing, it's kind of the same jam, where if you go on a site and you are exploring the pricing page, or you download an eBook, you're building a history so that when you inevitably do eventually maybe reach out to a company, that salesperson or that bot, for example, has this history of you and can serve up more relevant conversations or content that is useful for you and only you.

Sammi Reinstein: That is, I would say, a great definition that I can definitely bring back to my mom. I will tell her to listen to the podcast. Mom, I hope you're listening. I think it's interesting you bring up how personalization has really evolved, and potentially consumers or even some B to B marketers, a few years ago might've thought of personalization as maybe a little creepy, or something along those lines. But really now today, it's pretty much expected. I expect when I am doing my online shopping, or looking at marketing technology, that it will be personalized to me. And you touch on that in your new book, The State of Personalization. Can you talk a little bit about your book and some key findings that you found?

Sarah Frazier: Sure. So I think while we all really love those experiences, a lot of us struggle as marketers to deliver them for our buyers. And it's frustrating to both marketers and the buyers themselves because I think everybody knows that there is an internet profile of you that has been built. And people have data on you somewhere, and it builds up over time. So companies should know you, but they have a really difficult time connecting the dots. So one of the things that we found in the report, we asked a bunch of marketing leaders at companies like Dooley and Hootsuite specifically, " How successful have you been at delivering personalization at your company for your buyers?" And 57%, don't quote me on that, something more than 50% said that they don't think that they're doing a good job, despite the fact that they have this plethora of data in the back end. And a lot of it has to do with I think just not having a really clear strategy of what you want to do with that data. And I think a lot of people, especially myself, you can see when companies are struggling with that. So personalization shouldn't just be the name token at the top of an email, like Congratulations, you know my Sarah, good for you. I don't care. The personalization part is something a little seemingly more paranoid, like your mom was getting, is when they serve up thing that feel relevant to you, or conversations that feel relevant to you. A lot of the things that we talked about in the report was: How could companies be doing this better? And really, it is getting away from this mindset of it's your name sewed on a shirt mentality. It goes back to: Are you delivering things that are of interest to me? And so companies are trying to come up with better ways to do that, and that was probably one of the biggest takeaways from the report. And we kind of take the reader through, okay, here's what the state of the world is, which is generally how you start anything like this. And how are different marketers feeling right now? How is that impacting what they're trying to do? How's it impacting the business revenue? And then what can we do about the problems that we're seeing today?

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. It is so much more powerful, let's say in a Drift bot, where you can just customize, hey, company name, versus, hey, company name, and then something, if they know that I'm in financial services, making that opening more personalized to me, making the offer more personalized to me. That goes a lot further than just hey, Sammi. Or maybe there's no even first name at all, and they mess up my first name in the email.

Sarah Frazier: Right, exactly. Your mom knows your name too. Nobody's celebrating the fact that you know my name. It's the going the extra mile and putting in the extra effort, I think that's really the key. And one of the things that we already kind of touched on is doing that level of detail often seems hard. And one of the things we talk about in the book is actually personalization is scalable. You don't have to break the bank doing it.

Sammi Reinstein: I love that. I think that's a quote right there. I want to read a little blurb from the report.

Sarah Frazier: Sure.

Sammi Reinstein: So in this report, the 2021 State of Conversational Marketing Report, we say, " Personalization is no longer a nice to have feature of conversation marketing strategies. It's a necessity. Our research shows buyers expectations for quick personalized experiences have grown by 26%. B to B marketers are expected to deliver relevant content to their customers through preferred communication channels that match their buying journey stage." So lots right there to unpack, but one thing that I'm hearing throughout that quote is buyer. It's about the buyer and the buyer's preferences, and the buyer's preferred communication channels, and us matching those preferences. Can you talk a little bit about the buyer centric mindset and the stakes that holds for businesses?

Sarah Frazier: Sure. So nobody really likes to feel like they're being sold to. Buyers are extremely smart. They know when it's happening. And so a lot of companies, and some of the most successful companies in the world, particularly consumer brands, have really embraced this buyer centric mindset, which honestly sounds like a bunch of BS, but you see it in practice every day. So good example of this is a company like Apple. Apple sells a lifestyle. It's sort of show me that you know me mentality. They show through their marketing, through the products they're building, that they know their customers and they're serving those things up to their customers. And a lot of companies do this in different ways. So it could be within B to B marketing, we have customer advisory boards. We use that to inform product roadmaps. But then it gets to the level of marketing, which I think a lot of people expect when we're talking about personalization. But really, it should be embedded in every single level of what your company builds, makes, sells, to the conversations that you're having. It's embedded everywhere. And if anything, personalization is an extension of buyer centric mindset. So for example, having a customer advisory board is a really good way to get that feedback in at the ground level and to truly live out this buyer centric mindset, which is our buyers should be leading the growth of our company. They're at the tail end, but we should be really pulling them into even every stage of our own company journey. So I think where before, I don't know, back maybe in the'50s, door to door salesmen meant that as well. But for them, it was all about selling a product. Really for companies today, it should be about helping versus selling. So how can you solve my pain, specifically my pain, and make my life easier? I think a lot of companies have embraced that. Some have just been better at visualizing that for customers today.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. It's a great point, the show me that you know me, and making sure that you're doing that, not just in the buying cycle, but also for customers. And once someone has bought in, making sure that you're also helping, not selling, and making sure that they're healthy and getting them to that place, being a trusted advisor, and they're going to trust you that much more.

Sarah Frazier: Right. And I think that's the promised land for B to B companies, is when you can transition people from seeing you as more than a vendor to a trusted advisor, that's peak. That's what every... That's gold. If a customer says that to you on a call, that you are a trusted advisor, that's just like, " Muah, chef's kiss."

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, because when you aren't seen as a trusted advisor and you feel like you're being sold to-

Sarah Frazier: Yeah. It's inaudible.

Sammi Reinstein: It's awful. Have you ever had an experience like that, where you've just had an absolutely impersonal experience when you've been trying to buy something?

Sarah Frazier: Yes. So I do, I have a very... And I say consumer brands are really good at this, but they're also really bad at this in a lot of ways. And a lot of it has to do again, goes back to: How are you using the data on the customers you have? So I have this example that I could give you of, I was signing up for a credit card, or looking to add a new credit card, and I thought, " Maybe I'll go to my bank, my actual bank that I have, and see what they have to offer," and so I tried to sign up for one, and my God, they could not pull through. I couldn't fill out the application online. They had a difficult time pulling my information. They have all the information they need on me, that they could possibly need on me. And I had to go into the bank, I had to fax something from the bank. It was just this really annoying process because I was like, " I've had you for over a decade as my primary bank, and it's this hard to get a credit card with you. How is that possible?" And it's a very specific example, but I think there's a lot of cases where we often as consumers find ourselves repeating ourselves a lot to businesses. And I think that's frustrating because it really does make people not want to have one on one interactions. And it really makes people wonder, " Why am I doing business with this company in the first place?" You never want that to be the case when someone's seeking new services from you. So I feel like that's probably fairly common example that a lot of people can probably relate to.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, yeah. I mean, A, I didn't even know fax machines were still a thing. I wouldn't know crosstalk how to even fax something over. But B, it goes back to show me you know me. You were already a customer, and I'm sure this was extremely frustrating to the point where maybe you were considering going to a different bank and getting a different credit card. The stakes are really high.

Sarah Frazier: They are. Yeah, no.

Sammi Reinstein: Oh, okay. Well, there you go, whichever bank, if you're listening.

Sarah Frazier: It takes really one bad interaction like that, something so seemingly frustrating. This wasn't something that happened over one day. This was something that happened over multiple days. And it just feels frustrating because we all know the technology exists to do this like that, simply and easily, so it's frustrating when they can't get their shit together, so to speak, to help one of their own customers get some services. Yeah, no, it was not a pleasant experience, I will say.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Well, it's very clear that you know the power of personalization, so in your day to day as a content marketer, how do you think about bringing personalization into your content strategy?

Sarah Frazier: That's a good question. And I mean, you could talk about it from a surface level, so actually curating content for say maybe an ABN campaign. You have a landing page, you do a form fill, and you can essentially have someone's name at the top of something, deliver things specific for their company. But really, the best personalization that happens within a content strategy happens at the campaign level during our integrated campaign. So campaigns should really house the level of personalization that we're looking to do, and then the offers that fall underneath of that are informed by everything in the campaign. So we, this is very timely. We're doing our integrated campaign planning right now, the demand gen marketers are building out their campaigns. We're working in collaboration with them. They're having things like: What's the core messaging? What's the audience? What are the channels that we're looking to do? And then we go in and we say, " Okay, what are the offers that maybe exist that need to be revamped, or offers that we need to create?" Offers again being content to fulfill sort of the criteria of this campaign. And that actually is really where a good amount of personalization, it happens behind the scenes, and it doesn't seem as obvious, but it's so important because it is how literally your mom got that really creepy ad from that company is because she was a target demographic for that ad campaign, which lives in a campaign somewhere. So it really is at the foundational level, where personalization happens. At least in my opinion, there's definitely something really cool things that other companies are doing, companies like Uber, Flip and inaudible are really great at personalizing content online, really awesome at doing that. And again, it goes back to using data properly to serve up those experiences. But from a very foundational level, that should happen on the campaign.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you. And my mom did buy the shoes.

Sarah Frazier: They knew. inaudible.

Sammi Reinstein: It does work.

Sarah Frazier: It works.

Sammi Reinstein: Exactly. Well, I have one last question for you. You create a lot of content, but you also have a lot of conversations. How can people use content to spark conversations with buyers?

Sarah Frazier: I think it goes back to a lot of what we already talked about, which is right at the beginning. We're moving beyond, especially in content marketing, this spray and pray mentality. A lot of inbound marketing has this, where you create a piece of content and you send it to your entire database, and it doesn't work anymore. You should be able to segment your buyers and understand what's the kind of content that they're interested in, based on the stage that they are in their journey, based on their previous history and interests, and really using content to spark conversations means that you are having relevant and meaningful conversations. So for example, the sales person should be able to go in and see, " Oh, they started reading our Forrester report." Awesome. I'm going to reach out and say, " What did you think? Hey, I saw this really prevalent stat for you and your company. Let's dive into it. I'd love to hear more about some of the pains that you're experiencing." Using content that way, and also, I think it ties really well into: How are we also enabling sales? We enable sales through content. We help them spark better conversations, more meaningful conversations with buyers by enabling them with the content that we have because one on one conversations is really often sales territory. So it's really giving them the tools that they need and the historical data and the content they need to have those conversations.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Yeah, we talk a lot at Drift about the sales and marketing relationship. And I think especially with a content team, that is so important, making sure that sales have the right content so they can continue those personalized and meaningful conversations.

Sarah Frazier: Definitely. And I think product marketing here has been really great at partnering with content as well, and then linking that up with our sellers, which is awesome. And they really sort of steer the ship or the feedback loop for us of, here's what sales is saying that they need, here's where their area of focus is. And it's really nice to sort of have that continuous feedback loop, so we know as we're building new things, like right now for the integrated campaigns, we have that in the back of our minds, so we're creating things that are relevant for not just our buyers, but also our sellers, who really are on the front lines of everything.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, Sarah, I heard a few amazing pieces of nuggets that I'm going to take into my own work. Personalization is a necessity, show me you know me, and be a trusted advisor, buyer centric mindset, and you'll be able to have really meaningful conversations. And I have really appreciated this meaningful conversation that we have had today. Thank you so much.

Sarah Frazier: Sammi, the feeling is mutual. The feeling is mutual. And I love that.

Sammi Reinstein: Thank you, Sarah. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Sarah Frazier: Thank you. Have a good day.

Sammi Reinstein: I thought that was a great episode.

Elizabeth: That was awesome. I love Sarah. I feel like I always learn something new whenever I'm talking to her. And she's very doesn't beat around the bush, like this is how it is, and yeah. She's awesome.

Sammi Reinstein: She's really good at describing things, which is why I wanted her to have that definition at the beginning of the episode. And Sarah actually interviewed me for the role that I'm in now. And in the interview, she said, " Explain conversational marketing like you're talking to your 10 year old cousin." And I have used that in the back of my head throughout this entire process and job when I'm thinking about questions, or thinking about writing to customers. How can I not use jargon or anything like that? She's great at that.

Elizabeth: What's your answer? How do you?

Sammi Reinstein: Okay. Now she's putting me on the spot. I always use a candy store example because A, I have a sweet tooth.

Elizabeth: crosstalk.

Sammi Reinstein: And B, I think it's a universal experience. Everyone loves candy. If you don't-

Elizabeth: Sorry. We're in a savory store. Imagine this in a store of chips.

Sammi Reinstein: Imagine a meat market, I don't know. So imagine your 10 year old self walking into a penny candy store. That's something I used to go to a lot as a kid. My mom would give me a dollar and we would go around. So if I'm in that penny candy store and there's that bell that I can ring for the concierge to come up and help me with my candy and be a trusted advisor as I pick out my candy, imagine that if I rang that bell, no one showed up, A, and B, they just sort of slid me a piece of paper that was like, " Fill out your name. Fill out your email. Come back in 24 hours."

Elizabeth: As a seven year old.

Sammi Reinstein: As a seven year old, no, I would be out the door. I would find a different candy store. And B, I would find some else to entertain myself. I don't need the candy. I would find something else.

Elizabeth: There's plenty of other things.

Sammi Reinstein: Or I would go to another candy store, exactly. So conversational marketing is like if I ring that bell, there's always someone there to start that conversation with me and help me out and be that trusted advisor. So when you think about bots, it's kind of like anywhere you go on the website, there's that bell that's there. But then what Sarah's talking about, there's an added element of course, an advanced element of the personalization, where not only am I ringing that bell, but it's personalized conversation to me. Show me you know me. I'm having a personalized conversation with someone who's really taken the time to understand my needs and my challenges.

Elizabeth: That's a great answer. Wow. You really have it down. Love the penny candy example. I thought she... I really liked her analogy to the brick and mortar, when you'd go in and talk to someone because it should be the same feel on a website or walking in somewhere.

Sammi Reinstein: Everything we talk about is conversations and starting conversations, and being conversational. And we all experience conversations in our whole life. Right? I mean, we grew up having all of these conversations. It's just taking everything you know and applying it in a different manner and in a different type of technology. Thanks so much for listening to Conversation Starters. If you liked this episode, please leave us a six star review by clicking the link in the show notes. And hit subscribe so you never miss another one. You can connect with me on Twitter at Sammi Reinstein, and follow all of our shows at Drift Podcasts.


57% of marketing and sales leaders are not happy with their company's personalization strategy.

Yes, you read that right. Over half of the marketers and salespeople surveyed in Drift's latest State of Personalization survey admitted that despite the plethora of data available today, companies still have not cracked the personalization code. Why not?

Sarah Frazier, one of Drift's managers of content marketing, believes it's due to lack of strategy.

In this episode of Conversation Starters, Sammi sits down with Sarah to talk all about how to deliver a personalized marketing experience through content. Sarah shares the tactics she uses for building out personalized content at Drift, her learnings from bad buying experiences, and tips for how marketers can start leveraging their content to start more conversations.

The Highlights:

  • (5:53) What personalization means in B2B
  • (9:10) Findings from Drift's State of Personalization book
  • (13:24) The stake a buyer-centric business model holds for businesses
  • (16:15) Sarah's bad buying experiences
  • (19:01) How Sarah thinks about personalization in her content strategy
  • (21:19) How marketers can use content to spark conversations
  • (24:15) Episode recap

Like this episode? Let us know by leaving a review!