Marketers have enthusiastically embraced content marketing as a key strategy and engagement tactic. It serves many purposes including lead generation, SEO, sales nurturing, and customer retention. However, posting or distributing generic “one-size-fits-all” content is no longer good enough. In both B2C and B2B markets, consumers or buyers are looking for information that speaks directly to their needs, desires, and specifications.
Companies can turn to martech (marketing technology) and data intelligence to build a marketing stack to deliver and personalize content for prospects and customers based on key attributes such as:
- Where they are in the their customer journeys
- The prospect’s demographic profile
- The prospect’s individual interests and preferences
When you identify individual prospects, you can target content and messaging with the intelligence of their content type preferences, personal information 1, past buying behavior, and buying intent. This was very difficult in the past but several martech vendors have established new ways of content personalization. And, by content, we are talking about: images, blogs, infographics, videos, eBooks, and other forms of snackable/sharable content.
It all starts with data
The journey begins with customer data —the lifeblood of modern marketing. It is critical to collect and analyze the right data about your customers and prospects. Having a deep understanding of your audience is necessary to personalization as it creates the insight that produces the ability to serve the right content at the right time. Data 2 can come from many places – your CRM and sales databases, website accounts, email lists, third party online, and offline data, and the user behavior from your site that gets recorded in a data management platform (DMP). Web user behavior can be valuable showing what type of content formats resonate, and what types of content are likely to be consumed and shared.
Linking data to the individual device
A unique personal identifier such as an email address, website account, or a record in your CRM can be turned into or connected to a non-personally identifying ID. Once the non-personally identifying ID is attached to an individual device, the next step is to create rules and algorithms around what type of content and messaging to serve customers and prospects. For web visitors you don’t know, tools like DemandBase 3 can use IP address to give you basic demographical information so they can be served with personalized messaging. Having an IP address also allows you to append third party data to create a richer data set. Companies like Neustar 4 can help clean, append, and enhance your data.
Implementing a personalization tool
The next step is finding a company such as Everage, Marketo, and Oracle Maximizer who can personalize your website to serve recommendations. Vendors like Get Smart Content can use your data to personalize content in real time. These tools work jointly with your data. In addition to understanding your current customers, predictive analytics can be utilized to create lookalike audience for prospects.
Driving results through personalization
B2B companies personalize content based on attributes such as a customer’s job function, industry, and how close they are to making a buying decision. For a company selling a technology solution, a hospital CFO who prefers to watch videos and is close to making a final decision has different information needs than a line of business manager in a manufacturing plant just gathering research material for a future upgrade. Treating these types of buyers in the same manner is a missed opportunity to create deeper engagement and drive them down the sales funnel.
On the B2C side, personalization can significantly increase conversions on ecommerce, travel, and entertainment sites. There is an opportunity to push content and messaging of personal interest to customers via websites, mobile apps, emails, and advertising. Dynamic content optimization (DCO) of digital ads is a powerful tool and leverages your data to increase ad engagement and clicks. Data collection and insights should extend to your advertising efforts as well as content personalization.
Tracking and analyzing performance
It is important to track and analyze performance to see if personalized content delivers higher site engagement measured in page views, time on page, dwell and scroll time and sharability. Analytics should be incorporated into the process to make content personalization sharper with real time adjustments.
The ability to use and harness your data as a competitive tool to personalize product, content, and ad messages will pay off in increased engagement, conversions, and ultimately in sales.
- Only use personal information with appropriate privacy-protecting measures in place
- Reputable data companies protect privacy by taking appropriate measures to prevent personally identifiable information from being merged with online browsing behavior. They also provide appropriate consumer notice and choice, and work with their customers so they do, too