Today’s consumers demand personalized experiences across every touchpoint, and content is playing an increasingly crucial role in how brands and publishers deliver on that experience. As a result, consumers are quick to judge and take action based on the branded content experiences they’re delivered—for example, Forrester reports that 61% of US online adults are unlikely to return to a website that does not provide a satisfactory customer experience.
It’s for this very reason that marketers are investing and taking action to bring personalized content experiences to their audiences. In 2018, 94% of marketers are focusing on their data and analytics capabilities, personalization technologies and customer profile data management capabilities to deliver personalized customer experiences.
There’s never been a bigger opportunity to build brand preference and increase engagement with your audience by delivering an individualized experience across all channels. But marketers have to recognize that personalization isn’t just a marketing tactic. It’s a strategy that spans the entire business-to-customer relationship and manifests in every digital touchpoint across the customer journey.
But the strategy becomes challenging and problematic when marketers mistake true 1:1 personalization with traditional, segmentation-based approaches that fail to deliver the individually relevant experiences their audiences expect. When this happens, marketers alienate their audiences and often make the customer experience worse, not better.
That’s why the most sophisticated brands and publishers today are taking personalization to a new level, treating customers as individuals with their targeting and leveraging artificial intelligence and big data to deliver real-time experiences that truly engage.
This personalization practice is called individualization, and it’s one that can equip businesses to overtake the competition and lead in their category.
With ever-changing consumer expectations and technology barriers, the rise of individualization in the personalization era can seem like another daunting initiative in an already ambiguous consumer and martech landscape.
To help you out, we’ve developed an ebook to help you on your individualization journey. Here’s a quick overview of what’s inside our guide: How to Master Individualization to Delight Your Customers, and insight on how you can leverage each chapter to deliver superior customer experiences.
The Difference Between Personalization, Segmentation and Individualization
True real-time personalization is delivering content based on the unique characteristics and behaviors of each individual, and in turn, delivering individualized content for each person based on their content consumption history across channels—and in real time. But as personalization has grown in popularity, many people are confusing it with segmentation.
Simply put, brands are facing a tremendous challenge in determining how, when, where and why individualization or segmentation-based approaches get delivered in different contexts.
The Individualization Guide attempts to help brands resolve this by providing a matrix of what levels of personalization are available to marketers today. Use this matrix to ensure you choose the right approaches that align with your business objectives.
Your Content Maturity Level
Content marketing and personalization techniques are still developing across the industry. But before transitioning from a more basic personalization strategy to individualization, you must fully understand where your organization sits on the Content Maturity Index. Here are some indicators to look for as you examine your organization’s maturity, and what you need to do to move further up the index.
Roadmapping Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is a long game, which is why it is important to establish a strong foundation before advancing into individualization techniques. From creating a content marketing roadmap, aligning your stakeholders and preparing your marketing tech stack, we’ve outlined all of the foundational layers you should consider before making an investment in a personalization strategy.
Reaping the Benefits of Individualization
With the right marketing technology, organizations have the ability to deeply understand their customers and prospects, including their unique preferences and behaviors, which in turn enables marketers to deliver individually relevant content experiences.
There are many gains marketers have seen from using more automated, AI-based technologies to deliver individualization, such as driving deeper engagement across channels, identifying operational efficiencies across their digital organization, and identifying your most valuable audience members. In the final chapter of our guide, we address a few of the many benefits of individualization, including how to measure and track ROI.
Download our guide: How to Master Individualization to Delight Your Customers for best practices for delivering 1:1 personalized content experiences across every channel.