Across industries, the rise of two strategies have completely changed the way that organizations conduct their marketing initiatives: Content marketing and personalization. These two aspects of marketing tend to go hand-in-hand, and enable brands to develop resonant messaging for their campaigns. Content is exceptionally valuable to marketing teams in their efforts to drive brand awareness, establish thought leadership, and inspire loyalty. Personalization has similar value, as it ensures that the right audience is being reached by the right message at the right time.
To create high-impact messaging that is precisely targeted, organizations must take a measured, personalized approach to content creation. To get started with a successful content development program, evaluate the following initiatives:
Understand Customer Needs
To create content that resonates, it’s essential that marketers ground their content marketing approach in customer and market insights. Don’t place a primary focus on your brand’s attributes, or the product’s features. Instead, focus on understanding and resolving specific customer pain points. This requires understanding several facets of the customer profile:
- Demographic Information – Who are your customers? Identify where they live, how old they are, their income level, occupation, and other basic characteristics.
- Motivations – Why would the product be appealing to the customer? Does it make their lives simpler, more interesting, or more comfortable? Identify the specific ways that your product accomplishes this.
- Competing Messages – Chances are, your target market is already being reached by competitors. Find out what competing messages your target customer is engaging with to uncover their needs.
Once these customers have been identified, try to qualify their daily life and perception of your brand. Determine what would help them move through your sales funnel, and eventually encourage them to act. Accomplishing this may require implementing additional touchpoints, or improving touchpoints that are already in place.
Then, align your organization’s business objectives with customer needs. This will ensure that your organization is creating content that is relevant and useful to the target demographic. To assist with this, consider creating customer personas based on market research and client interviews. Once their needs are organized and understood on a granular level, then marketing can address them with personalized content.
Define and Document Content Strategy
Next, marketers must integrate customer needs into a defined, documented content strategy. A documented content strategy identifies and addresses key information like KPIs and a well-defined target audience while determining overarching messaging and assigning specific roles, on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis.
This is a significant indicator of content success for marketing leaders, with two thirds of successful marketing leaders employing a documented content strategy. On the other hand, only 14 percent of the least successful marketing companies have a documented content strategy. Despite these stark numbers, the value of a documented content strategy is underrated: Only 33 percent of B2C and 39 percent of B2B companies make a record of their content strategy.
When creating these strategies, it’s important to define success based on long-term goals. Instead of measuring how many likes and shares a blog post receives, step back and think about the campaign’s ROI and overall business impact. This will create a firm connection between content implementation and business strategy. Then, it’s important to document all content marketing initiatives to help articulate and manage a clear vision that drives marketing ROI across all channels.
Craft a Personalized Message
To achieve the ROI goals set forth by your organization, marketers must focus on creating content with quality in mind – not quantity. If your marketing team creates too many average quality assets, then the audience may be overloaded by information that they don’t find very relevant. Of course, this results in less impact, attrition of leads, and an overall waste of marketing’s resources. Optimizing your messaging’s effectiveness also involves directing messages to particular individuals at just the right moment. This is often accomplished with advanced marketing attribution tactics that can track both the time and place that targets are most likely to engage.
Reaching maximum marketing effectiveness from quality content requires personalization. Personalization ranges from one-to-one, person-level engagements all the way to tailored experiences for a specific customer segment. However, no matter how your organization approaches personalization, it is absolutely necessary that all content is meaningful. It’s important that marketers create tailored content that speaks to a target’s sense of value and usefulness. To ensure all marketing messages have a personalized approach, reevaluate your organization’s current content, and examine how previous content has been produced so processes may be altered to enable personalization. Some potential alterations may include integrating timely, person-level segmentation by interest or population into your marketing analytics platform.
Analyze Messaging Effectiveness
Once high-quality, personalized content has been created, marketing teams must be equipped to analyze the message’s success. This means measuring not only the overall impact of a campaign, but also the impact that the campaign had on brand image.
It’s important to measure brand image separately since a positive shift in brand image is difficult to directly attribute to increased sales. This is because branded content coaxes target consumers into a perception, instead of demanding action. Despite this, branding is unquestionably a huge part of any successful marketing effort. As the common adage goes, “people don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it.” To analyze changes in brand image with maximum accuracy, use a brand tracking platform. This will allow your marketing team to understand which personalized branded content is having a positive impact, or how to tweak content to make it more effective.
Marketing teams should also focus on analyzing results with a comprehensive, unified approach that correlates aggregate data with person-level data. With these insights, marketing teams can understand which messages are impacting individuals while still evaluating how messages fit into the broader marketing context. This approach is often referred to as unified marketing measurement, and is typically executed via advanced marketing analytics programs. With these unified insights, marketing teams can understand what is driving conversions and fine-tune personalized messages to achieve higher ROI.
By understanding how a message resonates with their audience, marketers are empowered to develop better content and improve customer relationships. Creating content that reaches the right people at the right time requires a deep understanding of your target customers. While, optimizing this content requires constant measurement and analysis of content success.
By creating high quality, personalized content for customers, your overall marketing strategy will become far stronger, driving sales and increasing marketing’s ROI.