Content marketing and personalization techniques are still developing. And it’s because these techniques are evolving from their nascent stage that organizations are challenged with overcoming the barriers of building a comprehensive personalization strategy. According to Forrester, 89% of digital pros now have a roadmap that includes personalization. According to eMarketer, roughly 4 in 10 marketers surveyed said one of the leading barriers was lack of resources such as time, people and money—all of which are required to master content marketing and personalization.
But before you can build out your roadmap for a content marketing strategy, it’s a best practice to first fully understand where your organization sits on the Content Maturity Index.
We came up with this index based on interactions with hundred of clients across various industries over the last 12 months, with various priorities and differing maturity levels. These are the indicators we’ve identified and ones you can reference as you examine your organization’s maturity, and organizational readiness.
Use this matrix to evaluate where you are and what you need to do to move further up the index to truly master an individualized content marketing strategy.
Content Maturity Level: Basic
A content marketing organization at the most basic level is just scratching the surface when it comes to content creation. In most scenarios, the organization is simply creating content for a broad audience for which no personas or audience archetypes are present. In this case, oftentimes only a single content type, such as a blog or basic website, is used. As for strategy and goals, these aren’t defined and the organization likely has goals and metrics around content output, as opposed to impact. Last, measurement is nonexistent; the organization isn’t tracking anything related to content performance except, perhaps, number of assets generated.
Content Maturity Level: Tactical
For an organization at the tactical maturity level, content strategies are slightly more established but only at the channel level, not necessarily across channels. In organizations at this level, we typically find many units within the business creating content for various needs, but the efforts are siloed and not aligned to a specific business objective or strategy. This usually leads to duplication of effort and strained workflow. Also, tactical content marketing organizations typically branch out into creating multiple content types and they produce assets regularly across paid, owned and earned channels. However, the content is usually one-size-fits-all and not customized to the individual or even segments. Some basic content measures exist around engagement levels.
Content Maturity Level: Strategic
At the strategic level, we begin to see more stakeholders involved across various business units. They are aligned on a strategy, optimization and customer journeys. These organizations deploy a full array of content types and the strategy is clearly integrated across paid, owned and earned channels. As for personalizing the customer experience, strategic organizations have run their own personalization pilots to determine effectiveness and have seen success. As a result, they are developing various types of content tailored to personas and segments. Lastly, because of an enduring commitment to content, there is a learning and development approach to ensure marketers both appreciate, adopt and adapt their approaches to the best that content and personalization can bring.
Content Maturity Level: Leadership
The leadership level is the content marketing holy grail. Content marketing organizations with leadership status have leveraged content to its fullest potential, using content as a key differentiator from competitors. Content is seen as a core competency for the business, and everyone has visibility into how content is having a real impact on quantifiable goals. What’s more, these organizations are using content to deliver a individualized content experience to customers. They have mastered how to develop various content types and optimize delivery by segment and individual, and how to deliver individualized content in a dynamic way based on both real-time individual behavior and historical context. Last, for some of these organizations, the content might be so effective that audiences are compelled to pay for it.
As you reflect on your organization’s maturity, be honest. There is no benefit to over-hyping your capability. In our experience, the majority of marketers are firmly rooted in the tactical level. The important step into strategy involved the developed of an enterprise approach, and increased use of measurement and analytics.
For more insights on mastering content marketing individualization and to start evaluating your business along this index, download our guide: How to Master Individualization to Delight Your Customers.
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