For Enterprise Marketers, Is Content Personalization Just a Dream?
Marketing Content Strategy

For Enterprise Marketers, Is Content Personalization Just a Dream?

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Content personalization makes my mouth water. It’s a feast that I’ve been waiting for since I first cut my teeth on Facebook advertising campaigns. I’m not alone. I work with other data-hungry marketers.

You might even call us hangry. But we work hard for insights—after all, insights beget conversations, and conversations beget customers.

Hangry is at the intersection of hungry and angry

How do we get to a place where we’re creating personalized content for all our audiences? We spend days hunched over analytics platforms, always squinting and clicking and concocting new theories about Web users. We confront marketing technology vendors with demands like, “Teach me something new about my audience and my customer,” and “Prove it.” We commune with user data expecting great discoveries about people, their unique traits, and the trends that interest them. Armed with these fresh truths, we formulate blogs, eBooks, research studies, and videos. Then we find and stop them on the Web, and we start better conversations with customized content.

“The challenge to planning arises from the importance of determining, preferably in advance, the level or degree of segmentation that can be exploited with profit.” —Wendell R. Smith, 1956.

 

Marketers didn’t always think that segmentation was a profitable business activity. Before market segmentation became “regarded as a force in the market that will not be denied,” marketers knew that gathering and making use of segmentation data meant deciding on some economic trade-off.

It’s true. Creating personalized content for many audience segments is expensive. Imagine trying to create custom content for hundreds or thousands of market segments—the costs would add up as quickly as the man-hours. Here are two ways to think about segmenting your audience and personalizing your content that won’t ruin your budget or require months of work:

1. Nurture People Based on Engagement Levels

Through marketing automation, we can systematically nurture prospects via email.

Unfortunately, many times marketers fall into the habit of building email nurture tracks that blast out components of a single campaign over time. And honestly, campaign-based nurturing (nurturing for a single event or eBook) happens so frequently because creating content for a single campaign is usually easier than assembling content for entire industries or marketing personas.

Recently, we simplified the way we nurture known prospects and visitors to Skyword.com by segmenting them based on their levels of engagement with us. Whenever we reach a relationship milestone with a lead, we’ll advance them to a new nurture track based on whether they’re new to our database, getting to know our brand, getting to know our content resources, or getting to know our solutions. If you’re feeling paralyzed by the power of your marketing automation platform, then I recommend nurturing your prospects and personalizing your content along these four basic tracks.

2. Create Content for the Converted

Another overlooked segment is that of existing customers. Creating content for customers can help improve their loyalty as well as convert new business. Increasingly, we’ve focused on creating content and hosting real-world events designed specifically for super content marketers.

As a result, the Skyword community is coming together online and in person to comment on content and share ideas. We’ve been asking customers not just for their feedback, but also their collaboration as co-creators of thought leadership in emerging areas of content marketing. The resulting content has been transformational for Skyword and our clients. We’re not just throwing spaghetti at the wall. We’re highlighting pressing questions from the trenches of content marketing and sharing real stories of both success and failure. That authenticity builds community and breeds trust.

Free Your Ambitious Mind

If content marketing is important for your brand and you care deeply about the content you’re creating for your audience, then you know what it feels like to stare, brokenhearted, at your editorial calendar, wondering how to simultaneously appeal to a wide audience and create product-focused content that supports sales. Content personalization does not mean that we will ever able to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, every time.

Instead, the new generation of marketing leaders should first learn that the promise of digital advertising for our generation of marketers is better profitability through better segmentation—not through more complexity. The brand marketers I know who have achieved breakthrough results and personal success with content did so by starting with clear purposes, not a complicated frameworks.

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