Marketers are constantly looking for new ways to reach and engage with their audiences. That’s why customer acquisition -- and retention -- technologies are evolving at lightning space. As the competition for audience attention becomes new cutthroat, marketers need to find new and innovative ways to connect with their customers in an authentic and meaningful way.

The challenge that marketers often face is that it’s difficult to stay on top of new technologies and continuously switch gears. First and foremost, anything and everything seems to be the ‘next best thing.’ Ask two marketers the same question about ‘what’s best,’ and they’ll react with completely different responses. Do a Google search, and you’ll find hundreds of hits for the same pain point. Not to mention, you don’t know what you don’t know -- and you may be missing out on valuable marketing opportunities without even realizing it.

While it’s true that there are a number of marketing technologies out there, there are some solutions that you absolutely need to know. Some will directly apply to your business model and brand -- others won’t. Regardless, you need to make sure that the following 3 are on your radar.

1. Custom and Lookalike Audience Targeting on Facebook

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Years ago, when Facebook advertising was in its infancy, marketers were skeptical about whether or not this type of targeting would take off. This rationale made sense, as people are unlikely to be browsing Facebook for the sole purpose of looking at ads -- they’re more likely to be passively browsing their friends’ feeds and looking for new articles to read.

But in the last few years, Facebook has introduced a number of highly engaging targeting features, including (1) the ability to reach your existing customer base and (2) a means to expand your audience by building ‘lookalike audience’ profiles based on your most engaged users. Not to mention, corresponding ads can be deliverable directly within the NewsFeed, where audiences are likely to be actively scrolling and seeking information.

No matter your conversion goal, you can use Facebook’s targeting features to optimize your chances of success -- custom and lookalike audience targeting features position your brand to reach the audiences that are most likely to care about and engage with your message.

2. Socially Augmented Shopping

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Study after study reveals that social selling is a marketing force of nature. That’s because your audiences rely on their peers for information about their purchases -- it’s a way for cash and time-strapped consumers to always make sure that they’re buying products that people love.

One tool that exemplifies this idea is Waze, an app -- recently acquired by Google -- that consumers use to communicate with one another and share information about traffic patterns in real-time.

That’s why Evergage launched a new platform called Evergage Tribes, which relies upon a similar ‘foundation’ that makes it possible for audiences to collaborate and share information in real time. Tribes is designed for retailers that are looking to optimize natural shopping experiences. Consumers can share and seek out data from like-minded peers without needing to leave the site -- which reduces the chance that they will flock to a competing website.

3. Behaviorally Driven Trigger Campaigns

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If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably familiar with the terms ‘personalization’ and ‘marketing automation’ and may have a number of campaigns in place. What you may not realize; however, is how sophisticated you can get with specific strategies and tactics — that is, you can reach audiences through triggered messages, based on actual website activity.

For instance, if someone has added an item to a shopping cart — without completing the checkout process — you can serve up a message on the website or send an email with further guidance or incentives for the shopper to complete the transaction. You can also recommend products based on content that your shoppers are browsing.

Marketing campaigns are most effective when they’re highly personalized. You can drive conversions by responding to specific user needs.

Final Thoughts

There are a number of technologies that we could have added to this list -- but we chose to focus on these because they are truly foundational -- and often ignored -- by marketers today. Personalization underscores the next generation of marketing. Outsmart the ‘noise’ by relying on technologies that prioritize genuine connections. Look for new channels that build upon the best of the best to reach audiences authentically.