What to Do (and What Not to Do) When Personalizing Your Content

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Personalizing your marketing content to have maximum impact can be a tricky balancing act, so it’s important to know what methods you should (and shouldn’t) be using to get results.

Article 4 Minutes
What to Do (and What Not to Do) When Personalizing Your Content

Effective personalization of your marketing content can deliver excellent results, increasing the likelihood of your customers responding to your messaging and deepening their relationship with you.

The big challenge of personalization is that it can be very difficult to do well, particularly if you’re dealing with a large and diverse customer base.

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Here are some of the key things you should (and shouldn’t) be doing to get the best results from personalized marketing:

Use all the data at your disposal

Every piece of customer information available to you - from past buying habits to social media feedback to location data - should be used to build up the most in-depth, detailed picture of your audience as possible.

Having access to all this intelligence will help you deliver a carefully tailored and personalized experience, extending all the way from the basics (addressing recipients by name in email newsletters, for example), to more complex processes such as making pre-emptive product recommendations based on previous purchases.

Data is one of the most valuable resources you have as a business, so it’s vital to make the most of it in your marketing.

Don’t be too invasive

As crucial as it is to gain actionable insights from customer data and use them to inform bespoke marketing content, it’s equally important to know when personalized messages or recommendations cross the line from being helpful into being invasive.

Suddenly becoming aware of just how much data companies hold on them can be off-putting for some people, so the ‘creepy’ factor is certainly something you need to be aware of.

A recent report from Periscope by McKinsey found that unsolicited communications from companies they don’t know was the most common complaint for US consumers (41%). Shoppers in Germany (40%) and the UK (40%) were most bothered by the ‘eeriness’ of location-tracking messages.

Communicate regularly, on your customers’ favored channels

There are many communication channels available to businesses, so it makes sense to take advantage of as many as possible. If you have a digitally literate customer base who spend a lot of time using their mobile phones and browsing social media, this is where you’re most likely to engage with them.

Some people might prefer to be contacted by email, or to speak to someone in person when they want to find out more about your products or services.

Again, close analysis of your customer data will help you draw the conclusions required to make the right decisions on keeping in touch with your audience. It’s also important to find the right frequency of communications.

Don’t bombard your customers

Regular contact helps you build a relationship with your customers and maintain their familiarity with your brand, but be careful to avoid one of the most common pitfalls in marketing: bombarding people with information.

It doesn’t take long for customers to become annoyed with companies that are constantly sending them content or information, especially if they’re generic or irrelevant.

Collecting as much feedback as you can and paying attention to customer responses to your communications will help you build an accurate idea of how regularly you should be engaging with people.

One of the key conclusions of the Periscope by McKinsey research was that consumers simply “won’t tolerate” being “bombarded with poorly timed, intrusive or irrelevant messages”.

Anticipate needs

Successful anticipation of your customers’ needs can be a central part of effective personalization, since it provides a powerful demonstration of how well you understand your audience and your commitment to giving them a genuinely helpful service.

Giant tech and entertainment brands such as Amazon and Netflix have built strong, enduring relationships with millions of users around the world thanks - in part, at least - to their carefully calibrated individual recommendations.

If you can get to a point where you’re accurately predicting your audience’s needs and offering the right products or services to meet them, both you and your customers stand to benefit greatly.

Don’t fail to listen

Once you’ve started to see some success with your personalized marketing, it’s easy to become complacent and think you know your customers extremely well, meaning there isn’t much more for you to learn.

This is a dangerous assumption to make, since it’s always possible - and even inevitable - that customer needs will change. Individual consumers or businesses will have shifting requirements based on their life situation or current challenges facing their organization, while entire industries can change rapidly in a relatively short space of time, meaning you need to evolve as well.

By constantly listening, learning and developing, you can stay in tune with what your customers want and ensure your personalization efforts are always up to date.

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Sitecore

Sitecore is a global leader in digital experience management software that combines content management, commerce, and customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud™ empowers marketers to deliver personalized content in real time and at scale across every channel—before, during, and after a sale. More than 5,200 brands—including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, Kimberly-Clark, and L’Oréal—have trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalized interactions that delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue. 

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