Delivering personalized content for dummies

Delivering Personalized Content for Dummies eBook

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 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.

Companies that move from basic to one-to-one personalization see conversion rates multiply by 10.

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.

Multiple customer-centric interfaces.

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:

Customer expectation
What it means
Real-world example
Know who they are.
Understand location and timing.
Send relevant coupons based on location, browsing history, and seasonal needs.
Know their interests.
Deliver relevant information and product or service recommendations.
Update the products that users see when they log in based on their history.
Deliver an engaging experience across devices.
Avoid disruption when consumers shift from desktop, phone, tablet, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
Make it easy to order from mobile while checking for updates from an iPad.
Eliminate friction across channels.
Facilitate a cohesive conversation on each channel.
If you engage with users about customer service on Twitter, they can pick up the conversation on your website support page.
Know which channels they prefer.
Understand where they found you, and be there when they need you.
If the customer likes to access forms from your app, make sure all necessary forms are available there.
Use customer data responsibly.
Ensure privacy and security.
Send a personalized email about financial well-being, but demonstrate that their information is protected with the highest level of security.
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:

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.

A content management system has different features from digital asset management.

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: