Can you remember the last time you received a marketing email that began with “Dear Sir/Madam”? It would probably have been when email had just become popular. Marketing has moved on from such generic communication and taken on personalized interaction. From the look of things, this is not just a passing trend, it is the future of B2C content marketing. Research has shown that more marketers are using personalization to promote their brand and it is working. But to get things started, let us first understand what personalization is.
In content marketing, personalization is also referred to as one to one marketing. It involves using analyzed data to come up with customized marketing communication that targets an individual based on information about their interests, behavior, and demographics.
Different types of technologies are used to collect data that is used for personalized marketing. These technologies will harvest the target’s name, gender, location, income, purchase information, interests and so much more.
In the end, all this information is used to create marketing content that targets the individual as opposed to a generic message that may fall off the mark for a lot of audiences.
Some of the ways to do personalized marketing include:
When a person visits a website, data is collected about the pages they visited, what they showed interest in and purchase they may have made. The next time they return to the website, a lot of what they see will be based on information gathered from that initial visit. Sometimes if you left your name, you may be addressed by your first name in a welcome note.
This is similar to website personalization in that they will capture data from your purchase and then use that information to try and interest you into similar or related products. For example, if you buy a mobile phone, your next visit to the site may have ads for screen protectors.
Some people may find this annoying but it works for others. If you visit a site like Amazon and browse but do not purchase, ads for the products you looked at will be targeted at you on social media and on the web.
After making a purchase, say you sign up to Netflix. They will gain information about the kind of movies you like and the next time you log on, those kinds of movies will appear as recommendations for you to watch.
So now let’s get down to why this is the future of B2C content marketing
People are More Informed
Since 1993, we have seen a steady increase in internet usage, today there are an estimated 4 billion internet users. This means so many people have access to information at their fingertips. These people are researching and learning more and becoming more aware of the availability of information that interests them.
What this means for content marketing is that there is a need to cater to individual interests. No one has the time to take in the information they do not care about. According to research, most people today are actually frustrated when they receive irrelevant information.
Businesses now need to curate content to suit individual interests and this is a trend that will only grow as the years go by. In the end, the brands that are able to provide customized content will be appreciated more by the audience and they stand a better chance of winning customer loyalty.
Human Nature Demands for Personalization
If there is one thing marketers learned from the “Share a Coke” campaign, it is that people enjoy seeing their names. Millions of people bought the soft drink simply because the bottle had their name on it and they bought for family and friends as well, there was a wave of excitement because there was the feeling that the bottle or can was actually made for them.
Likewise, business targets are much happier when an email addresses them by name. A lot is now going into personalization of email marketing content so that the name does not just appear at the beginning of an email but even within the content, this appeals at the emotional level as the recipient will feel the marketer took the time to write an email to them and not just a general sales pitch.
As long as B2C content marketing is targeting humans, it will have to appeal to their emotion and personalization is a great way to do that. Businesses have already realized this and a lot is being put in towards ensuring better ways of connecting with the audience on a personal level.
The Rise of Mobile Use
In trying to know more about audiences, marketers also try to find out the devices used by visitors to their sites to access the internet. Data shows that the majority of people today access the internet using mobile devices.
Marketing content now is tailored for mobile users, this in itself is personalization, but at the same time, content needs to be the kind of content that interests the individual because the way people use their mobile devices, they do not have a lot of time to spend on content that does not interest them.
If someone chooses to check their mail during a coffee break, they will not open the emails that do not seem to appeal to them directly, neither will they click on a link to a site they know does not have the kind of content they are looking for.
With mobile use growing at the rate it is, we can safely predict that it will be the preferred internet access device and personalized marketing content will be the best way to get to those potential clients.
Personalization is still far off from its full potential. It is however evident that more individuals prefer to be targeted with customized content. Marketers though still need to utilize all the resources available to have the right kind of content sent out to the right people. As technology improves, this will get better and personalization is likely to be the best lead generator for years to come.