Delivering personalized content for dummies
In today’s market, successful brands do more than show up online — they use online channels to create the kinds of experiences that keep customers coming back. And customers don’t do that unless they encounter relevant and valuable content every time they interact with a brand.
But to deliver a personalized experience for even one customer, you might feel like you need mind-reading skills. Then multiply that challenge by the number of customers you hope to win over, and you have what can feel like an impossible task on your hands.
If personalization sounds like an impossible journey for your company to begin — or continue — take the next step here. This article offers a quick introduction to our guide Delivering Personalized Content for Dummies. While the guide breaks down the entire process, this article can get you started by helping you understand:
- Why personalization is so important
- What it takes to focus on customers
- How to assess your capabilities
- How different tools are involved
Why does personalization matter in the first place?
It’s no longer possible to dictate the precise sequence of events in any individual customer journey. Buyers tend to discover content, do additional research, return to a web page, and complete a purchase on completely different channels and devices. At every point in this journey, buyers expect brands to know what they want — and most importantly, to know where and when they want it. To keep up, marketers need to use data to update content in real time.
You might have stellar content, and it might even be tailored to well-researched personas. But that content might be hard to find and deliver when your teams are working on different channels with different information — especially when they need to pivot in response to steady streams of individual customer behavior.
This is not an easy thing to do. In fact, 63% of marketing leaders struggle with personalization. But it is effective. Companies that move from basic to one-to-one personalization see 10x improvement in conversion rates, according to Adobe’s report Failure to Scale: The State of Personalization in Retail and Travel.
Before you can begin, the most important thing to understand is the company-wide mindset shift that has to happen.
Develop a customer-centric mindset
Many companies make the mistake of focusing on themselves, always pointing to why they are the best, and expecting customers to do the math to figure out how it applies to them.
Instead, start by thinking about what customers want to know at every point in their journey and how you can help them accomplish their goals.
Customers want relevance and convenience, but they also want respect for their privacy. That means applying the data they’ve provided voluntarily in ethical and useful ways. Here’s a breakdown with examples of the customer expectations you should meet to practice a customer-centric mindset:
One goal of personalization is to help make purchasing decisions easier for customers and anticipate their next need. By helping them determine what their best choices are, they’ll reward you by becoming loyal customers and potential brand advocates.
To meet customers where they are, you need to understand your company’s current capacity and determine how far it still has to go. The next section will help you assess.
Determine your personalization capabilities and goals
While the personalized content you deliver is designed with customers in mind, marketers ultimately need to ensure that their efforts are tied to larger business objectives and that they have selected the right KPIs to determine how well target audiences are responding.
Developing the right strategy might feel daunting. We’ve put together several questions to consider when formulating goals to help you understand where to focus:
- Customer profiles. How complete a view do we have of your customers and their interactions with you? What internal data and third-party data are available to you?
- An integrated platform. Do you have a centralized source to design, launch, and measure campaigns and experiences at scale?
- Security. How secure are your experiences?
- Privacy. How personal is too personal? Do you know what privacy concerns your customers have?
- New media and channels. How prepared are you to incorporate new or emerging media and channels in your experiences?
- Efficient process and collaboration. How efficient are your processes? Who owns what? How well do you understand each other’s roles and collaborate with other teams?
- Updates and adaptability. How adaptable are your experiences? How easy is it to create and update these experiences?
Tip: Collaboration is one of the keys to successful personalization efforts. Make sure to involve all stakeholders at the start of your project and throughout its implementation. For example, setting shared KPIs across teams can encourage collaboration. To determine which teams to include, check out our full guide Delivering Personalized Content for Dummies.
Understand the tools you need
Personalization is no longer optional. But satisfying this basic customer expectation can be a massive undertaking. It becomes even more difficult when your content management and content delivery systems are disconnected.
A content management system (CMS) provides an interface for marketers and other team members to add and modify content on a website without waiting for coders to make changes manually. Digital asset management (DAM) happens behind the scenes, where a wide variety of content needs to be stored, organized, accessed, and used appropriately and efficiently by multiple team members.
When your CMS and DAM are connected, you have a pipeline for personalized content. You don’t need to waste time connecting the data points between teams, channels, and systems when you have tools that can do it for you — in real time.
Being prepared with the right strategy and the right technology will set you apart from the competition and help you create long-lasting bonds with your customers.
Learn more about implementing personalized content
Now that you know how your current capabilities stack up against your business goals, you’re ready to develop a plan for the rest of your personalization journey. Our full guide Delivering Personalized Content for Dummies includes a model for implementing personalized content successfully.
Download the guide to learn how to:
- Create, manage, and deliver digital assets.
- Deliver consistent and meaningful experiences across channels.
- Measure performance and improve the customer journey.
- Make the most of the best technology available and reach even more customers.