The Power of Personalized Content
April 11, 2018
The digital market is rapidly changing. With new technology comes new user demands as consumers are becoming more and more tech-savvy. Yet, customers are bombarded with digital content and advertising 24/7, making it difficult for a marketer’s efforts to be seen.
As martech (marketing and technology) experts, we’re seeing more and more marketers struggling to quantify marketing spend and meet growing customer demands of how brands interact with them online. That’s because having a well-designed digital experience is just not enough to gain the competitive advantage.
If we take a look at your website for example, it may be doing its job of delivering content and brand awareness. However, whether or not it is effectively engaging and nurturing your customers over the span of time is a different story. That’s where GeekHive comes in.
The process of bringing marketing and technology together to not only define a strategy, but integrate digital marketing tools (some of which you may already have) is called Martech Enablement. Think of it as a means to put the right information at the right time directly into your hands so you’re better informed on how to target and engage your customers. When you know better, you do better—and that means becoming aware of meaningful strategic outcomes that lead to digital maturity and transformation. One of the ways these goals can be achieved is through content personalization.
When customers visit a website, they often have a variety of needs, expectations, and goals. This is usually the reason why marketers try to adapt their digital content to suit everyone. However, the opportunity to strategically target that content—based on what they know about the visiting consumer—is often not taken. And the result is content that speaks to everyone but ultimately waters down the key message and fails to target anyone. A successful marketing plan is based on knowledge of your customers.
The Power of Personalization
Chances are, you’ve already experienced content personalization put to practice in your own interactions around the web. If you’ve shopped on Amazon for example, you may remember the carousel of recommend items they show when you visit the site. These recommendations are dynamically curated based on a profile with information you gave them. This profile tracks and retains data about your product clicks and purchases and then works with marketing tools to use that data to customize your experience. What you experience is a platform that caters to your interests and needs.
In this scenario, Amazon’s recommendations, based on what it thinks you’re most likely to be interested in, is designed to keep you on the site longer and shop more. The more engaged you are with what you see, the more likely you will be to perform an action, like make a purchase, specifically beyond your original intent.
This feature is commonplace on eCommerce and streaming video platforms, but it’s just one example of what’s possible. Even if your business is not a marketplace, content personalization can be as simple as dynamically replacing areas of content on your web experience, like an image or a digital banner ad, to streamline content based on a user’s specific needs, wants, and goals, rather than showing content that’s not relevant to them.
Taking steps toward personalized content isn’t something that happens with the flip of a switch since it’s only one part of an overall digital transformation and maturation effort. However, the process of it is fairly uncomplicated (barring your martech goals have been defined). If you are having trouble defining your goals and coming up with a strategy, it may be time to bring in a strategic partner with experience supporting other organizations to help you.
STEP 1: Create a Profile
Capturing user information isn’t a new concept, but it’s the first step in Martech Enablement. In fact, you may be doing it already, likely through registration. From your first piece of captured information, a user profile is created. As your customer interacts with your web and social experiences, user behavior, page visits, real-time information (like weather and location), and other analytics become a part of their profile data, which is a living, breathing entity that grows over time. It is this data that you use to personalize their experience because you generally know what interests them.
STEP 2: Map the Journey
The personalization strategy comes after you decided how that data gets used and when. In most cases, the data will be distilled down to form groups or high-value customer segments. It is imperative to look at how these segments of customers behave and forcast what they’ll need as they “journey” through your web experience. Then, we assign and code performed tasks based on the steps they take throughout that journey. Those tasks may be to send an email, or change the content on a page, or send a Tweet. You name it.
STEP 3: Personalize Your Content
The strategy for content personalization is a process that assesses the journey map with the user data to determine which areas of your web experience can best utilize a tailored message. In terms of creative, it might mean designing more visual assets and writing extra copy accordingly, but the dissemination of that content is automated. In the end, your experiences will be driven by hard data.
I mentioned earlier that you’re likely ready to begin your Martech Enablement process because you may have most of the tools you need to get started, such as a marketing automation platform like HubSpot or Marketo, a CRM like Salesforce, or a content management system like Sitecore or Drupal. The road to content personalization and other martech strategies is a matter of leveraging the tools you have in order to take your efforts to the next level. It’s about getting more value out of your investments, and GeekHive can be a key partner in getting you there.
Rest assured, the road to personalization does not have to be painful. In fact, it’s a good way to ease into martech altogether. For starters, personalization is way to drive ROI because you’ll be able to see the effectiveness of your content in reaching its targets. Personalization can lead to impulse buys in the short-term, but it ultimately lets your customers know that you are paying attention to what they want and need.
Perhaps you would consider using GEO IP (finding the location of an IP address), which could be used to recommend nearby store locations to your customer. Or, you could collect data on user interests and let them choose what kind of information they want to get from you. Either way, your data sources will be made to work together to build strong customer profiles and segments, which will inform your insights. This creates a bond with your brand they may not even know is happening because the personalized content you show them—based on the data you collect—resonates.
Taking advantage of personalization and other forms of Marketing Enablement requires a shift in thinking and some creativity. GeekHive is the top marketing technology consultancy for Fortune 500 clients and digital agencies. Our team of experts will help you create and execute martech strategies to enable your digital transformation efforts.
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