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M&S Virtual Makeover CounterContent is king. This phrase might have been around a long time, but it’s still applicable to marketing. Of course, nowadays it’s only truly valid if the content is personalised.

Otherwise, the message just won’t get through to your audience.

As technology progresses and new digital channels are adopted, targeting becomes more sophisticated, which makes personalisation even more critical.

In fact, according to Econsultancy's recent Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, 52% of digital marketers agree that personalising content is crucial for online strategy.

Q: To what extent do you agree with the following statements? 

Personally, I think this is 48% less than it should be, especially as studies show that personalised marketing campaigns are consistently more successful than static and BAU advertising content.

Why bother to personalise content?

In the past, you might have seen online adverts that were so irrelevant that you wouldn’t have given them a second glance, labelling them all as irritating and intrusive.

However, if content is displayed in an unusual and interactive way, or is directly relevant, consumers are far more likely to engage with it, especially if they can personalise it themselves.

Marketers are beginning to realise the importance of unique content, so more companies are creating innovative ways of allowing customers to personalise and interact with site content.

Sky has created a widget that allows their customers to choose a personalised ‘Sky bundle’ with automatically updating prices.

Once the customer has made their choices, they are sent straight to the shopping basket on Sky’s ecommerce site, which is pre-populated with their personalised package.

Sky widget1Sky widget 2

The M&S virtual makeover counter is another great example of content personalisation. This platform lets customers upload their photo and virtually test make-up products, making it easier for them to find the right shade of foundation, lipstick, eye shadow etc. for their skin tone.

M&S Virtual Makeover Counter

Spontaneous personalisation

Content delivery, particularly timing, is also crucial and the effect of real-time personalisation was seen recently when the power went out during the American Super Bowl.

Making the most of the situation, several brands released adverts that were inspired by the blackout. Oreo tweeted a simple picture of their famous biscuit with the caption ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ but it received almost 16,000 retweets.

Perhaps this advert was planned, perhaps it wasn’t. Either way, the timing was key to its success and companies should be aware that a clever response to a sudden event can lead to increased product awareness and customer interaction.

What do others in the industry think?

Martin Connolly, Co-Founder and Commercial Director at adGENIE:

If a customer leaves a site without purchasing, enticing them back to the site will only be successful if they are shown relevant content. Adverts need to be personalised so that they engage with the customer and incite a response.

Harry Hurst, Business Development at Qubit:

Delivering the right content at the right time is key to driving up overall visitor conversion rates. Having all the details about the product clearly outlined, like prices and sizes available, can make this targeted message a much more compelling call to action.

Rakhee Jogia, Director of Publisher Business Development at Rakuten LinkShare:

Affiliate marketers often think they need to work non-stop to receive commission, but the key is to ensure that the products they are promoting relate to their site content (whether a food blog or travel review site), and to their audience.

Chris Sheen, Head of Marketing, SaleCycle:

When it comes to email, personalisation is everything and it's vital to ensure the emails your customer receives feel as personal as one from a friend or colleague. This ensures a great customer experience – and more importantly, extra clicks and additional sales!

Sanjit Atwal, Co-founder and CEO, Squawka:

Consumer engagement is at its highest when tied to particular events or major (and timely) pieces of content through second screen devices. We have seen engagement levels up to ten times the industry average, proving that real-time personalised advertising works.

The end of generic content

It’s important that each online channel provides a unique user experience, but brands must be represented consistently across all channels, with content that is directly relevant to the audience within that channel.

Using product data to personalise content for online consumers ensures that they sit up and take notice of it, helping to generate product and brand engagement.

By making the most of captured data and ‘big data’, it’s never been easier to target product content towards your existing customers using marketing technologies.

Robert Durkin

Published 24 April, 2013 by Robert Durkin

Robert Durkin is Chairman and Co-Founder of FusePump and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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