Birthday Cards and Content Personalization

April 12, 2013 by

Birthday Cards and Content Personalization

“Everyone has something they need to hear. Tell them.”

-Homepage message on Hallmark.com 

Incorporating content personalization into your marketing campaigns is a lot like choosing a birthday card for someone.

That may sound overly simplistic, but while standing in front of the thousands of cards at the local Hallmark store last week, I realized just how similar the card selection process is to developing personalized content for email marketing campaigns.

The process most of us use for selecting the right card starts out with some basic information such what the occasion is, who the card is for, and what we hope to get out of it once it’s given. Marketers have fancy terms to describe these processes (i.e. distribution channels, target customer demographic & psychographic info, and key performance indicators).

Whatever the term, the point is that the more we know about the individual on a personal level, the better chance we’ll have of giving the recipient a memorable and positive experience– and as an organization, isn’t that also an important outcome of marketing?

Get Creative

Content personalization gives marketers a chance to go from a one-to-many message to a one-of-a-kind message. The difference will be a direct result of understanding customer unique experiences and preferences. By combining primary research with behavioral analysis (more fancy marketing terms), marketers can deliver messages that both resonate and move customers to the next level of engagement.

While it may seem somewhat complex and time consuming, you can save time by starting in a simple process like this:

  1. Pick any stage in a target buyer’s journey
  2. Identify the most important need your customer has at this stage
  3. Validate Step 2 with current data (customer survey, website behavior, etc.)
  4. Think about the content you are currently mapping to this stage
  5. Ask yourself what needs to be modified and how in order for customer to feel like they are being talked to directly

If you’re already using a similar process with mixed results, let personal creativity be your guide. Just like birthday cards, we tend to remember those that were both creative and appealed to us on a personal level.

Manny customers expect a level of personalization from organizations. Look for innovative ways to bring more personalized messages directly to your customer with your content.

Test with Email

Email can be a great way to test messages and hone in on content personalization. With segmentation, you can further focus your list based on specific criteria in order to creatively develop personalized content.

Changing up content areas, visuals, and message tone are all ways to incorporate content personalization. It’s important to also ensure your test emails have a signature and an actual person the recipient can contact.

The results from your campaign testing can also then be shared across other channels in order to form a integrated marketing approach that encompasses content personalization.

Think about it: what were some of the most memorable birthday cards you received? There may just be a marketing lesson in them for you.