Individualization Is the New Personalization — AI Meets Content Marketing in 2018
How we navigate the universe is decidedly omnichannel, so one digital platform or touchpoint does not bear more influence on customer purchases than another. Instead, how and why consumers engage and take action is tightly tied to their interests as individuals.
In 2018, brands will continue to crash into the wall of customer identity. Why? It will become clearer and clearer that content marketing programs organized by channel are often unproductive, inefficient and do not optimize results.
As marketers look to take the business results generated by content marketing to a new level in 2018, here are predictions they should heed:
1.Individualization Over Personalization
Customers will no longer accept one-size-fits-some content experiences, so neither should marketers.
For years, marketers have been trying to harness segmentation as a way to employ personalization. But in today’s world, customers expect content experiences that clearly put “me, myself and I” as the priority.
The average person is exposed to 577 marketing messages every day, and that message volume is growing. Despite this, customers filter out all but the most compelling content and then consume the material they love obsessively. Indeed, 70 percent of consumers surveyed by Accenture reported feeling open to more content, especially if it was tailored to their tastes.
For true personalization to occur, content must unequivocally be targeted to each person’s unique interests through an individualization strategy.
To achieve individualization, marketers should deliver content experiences to a segment of one, optimized in real-time based on the actions and preferences inextricably tied to that specific customer’s identity. These could include individual content consumption patterns by topic, categories or time of engagement, for example.
Understanding and tracking individual content preferences that are part of customer identity data can help direct a more strategic content development, distribution and marketing roadmap.
2. Individualization Needs AI
To achieve individualization, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be constant, reliable companions.
Marketers have been spending a disproportionate amount of time on workflow and project management — trying to organize and produce content at scale, while addressing channel proliferation and showing a measurable return on their investment. Some say it’s the holy grail marketers have struggled to solve since the dawning of the digital age — to get the right content in front of the right person at the right time, in the most efficient way possible.
Steve Sachs is CEO of OneSpot. Previously, he was EVP consumer marketing and sales at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner. As Time Inc.’s chief consumer marketing officer, he had p&l responsibility for consumer revenue of 22 U.S. brands and led consumer digital strategy and distribution. He was a board member of Next Issue Media, the joint venture digital media company owned by Time Warner and four other major media companies.
Prior to that role, Steve was the president of the Time Inc. Lifestyle Group, which includes Real Simple, Cooking Light, MyRecipes and 5 other brands. Prior to that position, Steve was president of Real Simple, where he led the launch of the tv series Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, as well as Real Simple-branded products sold at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. Under Steve’s leadership, Real Simple was recognized as among the most innovative, successful media brands by Advertising Age, Adweek, and others.
Steve has been a advisor in Tech Stars New York and First Growth Venture Network. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media company based in Austin. He was previously on the Board of Trustees at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music.) Steve earned a BS in Economics from The University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Stanford University.