How to Personalize Your Content Marketing Mix

Marketing Insights for Professionals

Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

To achieve true personalization, it’s important to take a tailored approach to all elements of your content marketing mix and to create accurate, up-to-date personas.

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To achieve true personalization, it’s important to take a tailored approach to all elements of your content marketing mix and to create accurate, up-to-date personas.

Personalization is essential if you want to make an impact and gain satisfactory ROI from your content marketing strategy.

There are many reasons why personalization has become so important, but one of the clearest is the huge amount of content that consumers are faced with today.

Anything that seems irrelevant or isn’t of interest to the individual user will be overlooked or ignored. Conversely, succeeding in the creation and delivery of content that strengthens personal connections with your audience can unlock major benefits for your brand.

A ‘significant opportunity’

Effective personalization can lead to a feeling among customers that you have a strong understanding of their interests, pain points and priorities. This can provide the foundation for rewarding and loyal relationships.

Amid the huge amount of generic, largely irrelevant content available today - it’s the personalized, targeted messages that will make a connection.

According to recent research from Periscope by McKinsey, more than half of consumers in the US (55%) and the UK (52%) often or sometimes sign up to receive personalized business communications by SMS, email or social media. More than four out of ten people in Germany (46%) and France (44%) said the same.

The study noted that consumers value and respond to personalization “when it’s done right”, stressing that people have little tolerance for “poorly timed, intrusive or irrelevant messages.”

Significant proportions of respondents in France (47%), the UK (42%), Germany (40%) and the US (36%) said most communications they receive still feel like mass marketing that wasn’t designed with them in mind.

“Taking personalization efforts to the next level represents a significant opportunity to drive up consumer engagement. To be successful with their personalization efforts and reap the rewards, businesses should employ advanced analytics and scalable and sustainable solutions to better understand their consumers and create the right mix of content, channel and timing to drive a change in behavior of an individual customer.” - Lars Fiedler, partner and senior solution leader for marketing solutions at Periscope by McKinsey

Personalize your whole marketing mix

Truly effective content personalization relies on taking every component of your marketing mix into account. It’s about much more than simply sending emails addressed to the recipient by name, with customers today expecting a more comprehensive, carefully thought out approach.

Research has shown that 92% of consumers are unlikely to respond to marketing that simply addresses them by name, while 93% are unlikely to engage with birthday emails.

Most customers today take an omnichannel approach to life, using a wide range of platforms to buy products, utilize services and engage with brands.

Therefore, you need to ensure your content is personalized and tailored to engage with recipients across the various channels they use. The effects of a well-designed email that makes a positive impression could be swiftly cancelled out by a generic social media message or mobile communication that feels mass-produced.

Taking a holistic, omnichannel approach to personalization will maximize your chances of achieving strong engagement and gaining clear ROI from content marketing.

Succeeding with personalization

A fundamental requirement for successful personalization across the full breadth of your content marketing mix is customer understanding. To truly understand your customers, you need to take a rigorous and structured approach to managing and gaining actionable insights from data, which can be made easier with modern tools like advanced analytics and AI.

Audience understanding is fueled by customer personas and profiles, which are informed by data collected from sources such as:

  • Lead sign-up
  • Conversations
  • Research
  • Google Analytics

It can also prove beneficial to take a proactive approach to gathering data that can inform your personalization efforts. Rather than waiting for people to give feedback, for example, approach customers to ask how happy they are and what could make their experience better.

Focusing on your personalization efforts from the user perspective is always advisable, since keeping customers happy and delivering a positive experience can never be a bad thing for the company.

“For customers, the value of personalization is all about getting relevant messages in a timely manner. It’s a balancing act that depends on customers trusting brands and retailers with personal information in return for insights and decisioning support that’s tailored at an individual level.” - Lars Fiedler, partner and senior solution leader for marketing solutions at Periscope by McKinsey

Using a range of channels to engage with your customers can also deliver results and strengthen your relationships. Even if one messaging platform - email, for example - is earning engagement, don’t overlook the additional value that can be gained from other channels where your audience spends a lot of time, like social media.

Finding the right balance of content types, communication methods and frequency of messaging will help show that you understand your customers and are able to give them a relevant, personalized experience.

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