Personalization in marketing
If you were to study marketing mere 10 years ago, you'd hardly come upon the concept of personalization. For most of its history, marketing was about understanding your brand and knowing how to showcase it as best as possible. And, while in-depth brand understanding is still important, modern marketing has shifted focus away from the brand and more towards customers. This intense focus on customers is what we call personalization in marketing, and is what we'll explore in the following paragraphs.
What is personalization in marketing
The main idea behind personalization is that you promote your marketing content to the right customer at the right time. The implication is that you have the necessary knowledge about your customers so that you can optimize your content according to their needs.
The importance of personalization in modern marketing
All things considered, it is safe to say that personalization is the future of marketing. Even now, customers are pretty fed up with marketing content. It seems that everywhere you turn, you cannot help but be plastered with marketing content. From unskippable YouTube ads to pop-up windows and banners. This overabundance of marketing has led to people being sick with marketing and choosing to tune it out whenever possible.
So, what can you do? After all, your marketing content won't have much of an effect if your customers choose to tune it out. Well, here is where personalization can be of use. One of the main reasons why people choose to ignore marketing content is due to lack of interest. 99% of content that they see doesn't promote anything that they find interesting. But, if you tackle personalization with due care, you will effectively show your customers the content they want, when they want it.
Effects of personalization
By personalizing your marketing content, you overcome multiple hurdles. First, you lower the chances that your content will be perceived as mere marketing. As such, it will be much more effective in customer acquisition. Secondly, you will be able to time your content so that it yields good results. It doesn't take much marketing experience to learn that the timing of your content is just as important as its quality. And with proper personalization, you will easily give your customers the impression that you are reading their minds. If you optimize it, you will seemingly always make the right offer, at the right time.
Finally, while doing the research necessary for personalization, you will learn more and more about your customer base. This knowledge has a variety of use that easily outshines the necessities of marketing. So, in effect, you will improve your company in many ways, all while tackling the future of marketing that we call personalization.
Is full personalization possible?
Theoretically, yes. If you have the recourses and the technology, you can theoretically approach each customer with a high degree of personalization and create marketing content exclusively catered to them. But, apart from large B2B companies that only work with a couple of clients, this is rarely practical. If you are trying to reach a wide audience, you can hardly spend the necessary resources to first research each of them individually and then create the necessary content to address them. No matter how effective your marketing would be, the logistics of doing this are simply not financially feasible. Instead what you'll do is segment your customer base into different groups and address them accordingly. Doing this alone takes ample experience and testing, as the number and the size of groups depend heavily on your customer base.
What content is suitable for personalization
Again, theoretically, every type of content can be used for personalization. But, in practice, marketing managers tend to rely on content that is easier and cheaper to create. While a personalized video can be quite effective as a piece of marketing, it will be quite expensive to make. So, if you are considering personalization, you will likely rely on simpler content that is relatively easy to create.
While written content is a clear choice for personalization, visual content comes with a bit of a caveat. Namely, with modern tools and guides, it can be fairly easy to create visual content. With a couple of clicks, you can design a decent image and interstate your brand with it. But, as we've outlined in our visual marketing article, it is paramount that you prioritize quality over quantity. Especially when it comes to visual content. If you wish to create personalized visual content for your customers, know that it won't be as cheap or as easy to create as it is with written content.
The potential of story content
As a subtype of visual content, story content follows the same idea. Yes, with modern tools like StorifyMe you can create fairly decent marketing content. But, it is important to know how to avoid looking like an amateur. It doesn't take much experience to start noticing when visual content has been created by a professional, and when it has been created by an amateur. The choice of colors, use of space, the font... All give you hints as to whether the content is professionally made, or amateurishly put together. Our advice is to at least consult with a visual designer before putting out any content (if you don't already have one on retainer).
While most people recognize that personalization is the future of marketing, few actually manage to tackle it properly. With modern customer research tools, it may seem that personalization is something that you can tackle on your own. But keep in mind that both marketing experience and a deep understanding of your customer base are essential for personalization in marketing. If possible, consult with a seasoned professional in order to orient your efforts and ensure a decent ROI.