Key Questions to Ask About Your Content Personalization Strategy

by Marissa Sternberg, Senior Director of MarketingAug 8, 2017

Key Questions to Ask About Your Content Personalization Strategy

For leading organizations, the business case for content personalization is loud and clear—Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reports brands that create personalized content experiences are seeing rapid shifts in ROI, including 6-10% revenue increases over brands that don’t personalize content. Over the next five years, content marketing personalization will be responsible for an $800 billion revenue shift just in the retail, health care and financial services industries alone.  

The brands that have gotten personalization right have focused on building strong business models around data collection, customer experience and creating quality content. While personalization leaders like Amazon, Netflix and Facebook have the data and technology to create world-class personalized content experiences, traditional brands have caught on and are building personalization into their content marketing programs. But for many of these brands, there continue to be challenges with execution, data and content personalization technology.

BCG surveyed more than 50 companies in ten industries and uncovered some interesting insights about the status of personalization programs:

  • 15% truly excel at personalization, and most of them are tech companies and digital natives.
  • 25% are experimenting with 1:1 campaigns. But only 13% deploy individually personalized messages, and only 7% manage individually personalized content across channels.
  • 65% are still rely on segmentation or even mass-market approaches.

This data illustrates that while brands are bought into and understand the value of content personalization, many still struggle with strategy and execution.

Whether your business is already killing it with content personalization or you’re just getting started, you’ll want to make sure your content marketing personalization program is on point at all times. Here are a few key questions to ask to keep things in check.

1. How are you using personalization to support your content marketing initiatives?
The term “personalization” can be defined differently depending on your approach and marketing maturity. The types of content personalization most widely used today include:

  • Classic name checking: Using a contact’s name within the greeting or body of an email. Example: “Hi Bill, …”
  • Segment-based personalization: Delivering the same set of targeted content to a select group of contacts
  • eCommerce personalization: Retargeting ads that show the exact same product a consumer searched for on an eCommerce site
  • Content sequencing: Using machine learning to predictively personalize content based on user behavior, context and lookalike analysis—delivering personalized content experiences that are individually relevant to each person

It’s important to understand the full meaning of the umbrella term “personalization” and to be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish as you select your strategy and technology for personalizing content marketing. Your goals for content personalization will heavily influence your approach and the technology you use to execute your marketing programs. Make sure the type of personalization you’re using aligns with those goals and business objectives.

2. How will you measure the success of your content personalization strategy?
There are many ways to measure content marketing effectiveness, and that includes tracking metrics around content personalization. While metrics like pageviews and time on site can be valuable, there are other insights that can help you create highly targeted and personalized content. We call these insights “content intelligence,” and they often lead marketers to understand what content truly resonates with an audience and attributes about their content such as topic, sentiment and emotional appeal.

“Content intelligence emanates from the underlying data tied to marketers’ content marketing initiatives and provides them with the insights to understand what’s working and why so they can make informed decisions about where to invest their content marketing dollars,” says OneSpot CEO Steve Sachs.

The value is in understanding what content is resonating at an individual level in order to create deeper engagement with customers and drive measurable return on personalization. Having the right content marketing personalization technology in place, first and foremost, will ensure you have the capabilities to measure content intelligence.

3. What technology do you need to execute individually personalized content experiences?
Your content marketing tech stack likely consists of your CMS, CRM and marketing automation tools. With a personalization strategy in place, you’ll want to make sure your tools are up to the task of sustaining and nurturing a 1:1 content personalization program. Consider how your software solutions are helping you automate content sequencing to deliver a personalized experience for your audience that extends across digital channels.

Is your marketing organization taking personalization seriously? Download your free copy of the personalization planning guide for more practical guidance to help you kickstart your content personalization programs.

Marissa leads marketing at OneSpot.