What’s the missing link in personalized content marketing?

William Gibson once said, “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” To me, that is one of the most important quotes for digital marketers. It’s not important for you to invent the future. What’s more important is that you observe the present and figure out how your company can take advantage of what is possible.

Personalization is one of my personal hobby horses. There are some useful forms of personalization, such as showing, “Hi Mike” at the top of page, or automatically filling in fields of a form. But I don’t think anyone believes they are game changers, useful though they might be.

What really changes the game is the holy grail of content marketing–the right content to the right person at the right time. So, the question is, “How do you do that?”

There are two critical capabilities required:

  • Who the visitor is. Maybe you have a registration capability. Maybe you cookie visitors and can recognize registered visitors even when they don’t sign in. Better would be to use Visitor ID technology that identifies 20-30% of your visitors’ characteristics in real-time. However you do it, you need to understand something about who your visitor is. Marketers are starting to understand how to do this.
  • What your content is about. This, to me, is the missing link. I can’t tell you how many companies have no idea what content to serve, even if they know who the visitor is. Maybe you know what industry your B2B prospect works in. Do you know what content you have that speaks to that industry?

So, how do you know what your content is about?

The “about-ness” of content is a very abstract concept. What’s important is how we match up what we know about the visitor with what we know about the content:

  • Industry. For B2B companies, this is critical, because most go to market by industry. The key is taxonomy–every company thinks they have a list of targeted industries, but how do they map that to their visitor? Smarter is to see what your Visitor ID system can do–they typically match to NAICS code (or its predecessor SIC), so why aren’t you categorizing your content around what you can learn about the visitor?
  • Topic. You can call it theme or subject or pick your favorite word. What’s important is that there be some way of identifying what your visitor is interested in and matching it with your subject. Unfortunately, there is no easy taxonomy of topics as they are around industries.

There are more questions that you can mine about your content, but these two explain the problem. Sometimes there is a standardized taxonomy and sometimes there isn’t. The question for you, in either case, is what you know about your content. That is the missing link.

Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top Back to top