Responsive Online Content Personalization & Content Marketing

April 8, 2014 | by Jeff Mason

Responsive Online Content Personalization & Content Marketing

IMN’s second annual Content Marketing Survey revealed that content marketing efforts are becoming more focused on lead generation.  This contrasts with past focus, which was on brand awareness and customer and prospect engagement.  In fact, when asked to identify the most important content marketing goal – the leading response was lead generation.

With 90% of respondents indicating that content marketing is a medium or high priority for their business, it’s a safe bet that content marketing has become a pervasive part of marketing.  As a result, prospects are bombarded with content on a daily basis.  Much of this content is the same thing repurposed over and over again.  Consider that according to an AOL & Nielsen study that 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day.  This growing barrage of content is likely to quell prospect enthusiasm for the content that marketing professionals are working so hard to create and promote.

So, how can we continue to excite prospects with our content?  How can we ensure that our content marketing efforts are effective?  The answer is content personalization.

According to Top Rank Online Marketing there are 4 types of online content personalization:

  1. Site Wide Personalization – this involves the personalization of site content based on the past behavior of the site visitor.  In most instances this involves dropping a cookie on the site visitor’s browser to track their behavior.   Applications like Hubspot help with this type of content personalization.
  2. Product Recommendations – this has to do with tracking the previous purchases and product interests of your site visitors and then offering content that is relevant to past product interests.
  3. Evaluation Personalization – this has to do with the provision of consumer reviews that are most relevant to the site visitor.  Similar to site wide and product personalization, this type of personalization leverages information that can be automatically gathered about a site visitor to deliver relevant and timely reviews.
  4. Device Personalization – as the name points out, this is all about making sure that the content you deliver is appropriate for the type of device the consumer is using to access your site.

In most cases, the content personalization mentioned above is dependent on placing a cookie on the site visitor’s browser to capture information about the visitor’s previous actions.  This is valuable, but this type of content personalization is restricted to the information that can be deciphered automatically.

The four types of content personalization mentioned above could all be classed as “automated content personalization.”  There is however another type of content personalization that – for lack of another term – I will refer to as “responsive content personalization.”

Sometimes the only way to learn something about a site visitor is to ask.  By asking a question, or a set of questions, you can gain a more in-depth understanding of the visitor and as a result have the ability to provide them with content that is highly specific and comprehensive.  With responsive content personalization – upon answering a question or a set of questions – the site visitor is immediately presented with content that is related to the way in which the questions are answered.  This type of content personalization can be used to create individually personalized brochures, white papers, pricing proposals, guides, ratings, etc.  The personalization of content like this is typically ignored by “automated content personalization.”

In addition, responsive content personalization can be your only personalization option if the site visitor has removed cookies from their browser or if they have set their browser to block cookies.

As the use of content marketing continues to expand and prospect perceptions of the content they receive evolves – marketing professionals need to ensure that their content marketing efforts are productive.  The use of responsive content personalization tactics can serve as an engaging addition to automated content personalization – helping you to achieve your content marketing lead generation objectives.