You’ve heard it before: when it comes to delighting your customers, knowledge is power — but the real secret to success lies in how you use this knowledge to harness personalized content marketing.

Do you know the difference between average content and great content?

The short answer is: Personalization.

Brands are often unaware they’re sitting on a goldmine of customer insights that can almost instantly help their marketers craft a more personalized message. By using a Customer Data Platform (CDP) or a similar platform, you can begin digging deeper into the customer data available to you to understand more about your customers.

We see data as being personal and human. If used well, data can help inform and individualize your customer communication. It can be your secret to better content, allowing you to create truly personalized content marketing.

For example, if you know that your customers often shop online or travel far to visit your store in-person, offer them free home delivery. If they always buy around Christmas time, try to entice them with other seasonal offers.

5 Tips for Using Customer Data to Improve Your Personalized Content Marketing Campaigns

 

1. Identify and segment your target customers.

When it comes to personalized content marketing, the best place to start is with intelligent identification and segmentation of the customers you want to target.

So how do you identify and segment your customers effectively?

First, establish a strategy.

Be able to articulate who you want to target, why, and when. By identifying these groups of similar customers, you can speak to them about more relevant topics, in a more relevant voice and tone, and through more relevant channels.

For example, one of the most common mistakes we see in our own inboxes is when brands email product offers or set up retargeting campaigns to customers who already purchased that product. You could avoid this by sorting the audience for each of your campaigns based on their past purchases.

Use tried-and-true segmentation techniques.

Consider segmentation techniques based on lifetime value or RFM segmentation. These segmentation methods will allow you to build groups of customers. You can also enhance these tribes with “lookalike” customers — that is, other people within your organization’s database with similar behaviors and interests.

By looking at these groups within your customer insights platform, you’ll begin to recognize patterns for individualized content: Which topics appeal most to them? Where do they like to shop? Which content formats do they prefer?

According to this study, 81 percent of consumers want brands to know how and when to approach them — and brands who do know how and when to approach their customers tend to experience higher rates of consumer loyalty. Needless to say, this opportunity is far greater than adding an individual to your mass email marketing list.

 

Tip 2: Humanize your marketing campaigns.

Once you have chosen your preferred segmentation model/s and have your groups or tribes set up, it’s time to humanize your communications to them. This includes both what you’re saying and where you’re saying it.

Humanization and personalization go hand-in-hand.

Personalization (done well) increases message relevancy and therefore encourages desired behaviors, while humanization builds the relationship you have with customers, fosters a sense of trust in your brand, and in turn, increases advocacy and retention rates.

Remember, you are speaking to humans, as humans — not as a brand, nor a machine, nor a company. Speak on an individual level with a natural voice and tone to begin building personal rapport with your customers. See how we talk about tone of voice in our recent resource The 2019 CX Playbook.

60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time.

– Adobe

Social content is an excellent place to truly build quality human connections in real time.

On social channels, a human being is behind every click, share, like, and listen. Using your customer insights to connect in a more human way, build higher-quality relationships and foster deep emotional connections is integral to your organization’s success.

 

Tip 3: Understand the importance of formats and channels for personalized content management.

A critical component to creating standout personalized content is channel awareness.

You need to understand which channels will work best for which group. Sometimes, you’ll need to use multiple formats and channels to effectively reach the same individuals. This multi-channel content marketing approach can be managed by using the right tools.

A CDP is a very useful tool for identifying historically where your best customers have engaged with your brand the most. Ultimately, understanding and enhancing your entire MarTech stack will prove to be the secret to your future success.

A CDP meets customer expectations for exceptional personalized experiences.

– David Raab, The Customer Data Platform Institute

Speaking of your MarTech stack, CDPs enhance Data Management Platforms (DMPs), Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) and more. These complementary solutions provide organizations with real-time data and combining with a DCP and DSP allow you to achieve personalized content marketing at scale.

 

Tip 4: Use your data to improve end-to-end customer service.

Where will your customers go once they’ve seen your personalized marketing message?

Depending on the goals of your campaign, you could send them to a personalized landing page or an offline retail experience — but no matter your goals, you need to think carefully about what happens next.

End-to-end customer service is critical.

Beyond an article, a social post, or an email, a customer’s ongoing relationship with you needs to be as personalized and human as that first piece of content. In fact, some studies predict that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.

Therefore, your success depends on your ability to connect all of the dots in your customer’s experience, from the first piece of content they encountered to the sales process to the ongoing personal relationship they have with your customer service team — for the whole lifetime of your customer.

Personalized content marketing should lead to personalized customer experiences.

New research proves that consumers are expecting (if not demanding) highly personalized experiences, both on and offline.

Shoppers expect brands to remember them, whether that is in the digital channel or in-store, yet very few companies are truly delivering on this. If you can do this successfully, your customers will typically have higher loyalty rates and higher customer lifetime values (LTVs).

Brands have an opportunity and an obligation to delight customers across every touchpoint. Digital customer experience is no longer an afterthought. As we’ve described in detail in our 2019 CX Playbook, it’s easier than ever to apply small changes and increase the impact digital CX has on a brand’s bottom line.

Tip 5: Choose the right frequency and timing.

The timing of delivery of your content is just as important as the message of that content.

Getting the timing right can have significant impacts on conversion rates, and working with the right data to identify the correct timing is critical to your success. Make sure you’re personalizing the timing of content delivery based on location, time zones and read-response rates. Ask yourself:

  • When are your customers most engaged with different formats of content?
  • What times of day (and week and frequency) have higher response rates?

At times, the best course of action is to not engage with a customer, so knowing when to use audience suppression is critical as well. For example, if a customer has just made a purchase in-store, you wouldn’t want to serve them digital ads for that same product.

The Takeaway

Yes, knowledge is power — but it’s the way you use this knowledge that makes personalized content marketing so successful. Using your data to inform your communications will be your secret weapon to true personalization.

By using the right tools and identifying the right insights, you will find opportunities for personalization (or as we like to call it: humanization), driving engagement, successful brand building, and boosting conversions.

Remember, though, that personalization isn’t just one element of marketing. Instead, it’s the cohesive nature of all the customer touchpoints — digital, offline, past, present (and predicted future), together as one.

And you don’t have to go at it alone. In a complementary demo with one of our experts, we’ll show you how Lexer can help you implement these tips to acquire new customers and increase the lifetime value of your existing customers. Book a 30-minute meeting today to chat with us about any questions you have concerning personalized content marketing, customer data management, and more.

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Contributors

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Author profile
Senior Business Development Director at Lexer

Amy leads the push in helping new clients learn about CDP's and how they can transform a business. With 20 years of experience in AdTech & MarTech industries, both US and internationally, Amy knows a thing or two.

When not geeking out on data, she enjoys cooking, reading apocalyptic fiction and walking the hills in San Francisco.