Take it Personally

February 12, 2016

by T.M. Camp

Every few years a set of new buzzwords sweep through our industry. Remember ten years ago when every website had to be “intuitive” and to go “viral” was the primary objective for every project?

A few years back, the term “Content Marketing” became an umbrella for a whole host of things that marketers and advertisers have been doing for decades (if not longer).

“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

The Content Marketing Institute

(Yes, there’s an institute. Go figure.)

I’ve long been a champion for using content to engage with people on a different, even subtler level beyond the reach of traditional marketing or advertising. The history is there to show it can be wildly successfuly (assuming you have a clear defintion of how you're measuring its success).

So when the conversation about Content Marketing opened up and we started talking with schools about how it could help forge stronger connections with their students, it was an exciting proposition to explore.

But the reality is that producing good, relevant content on a consistent basis takes a lot of work. And it is expensive.

But, as recent studies indicate, it’s difficult to provide the degree of data and measurement for Content Marketing that we as marketers have come to expect from our efforts.

We’re spoiled by this data-rich world we live in. The granularity to which we can track and measure the performance of our ads, our search campaigns, our social engagement, our web traffic… Well, it’s truly amazing. And sometimes bordering on overwhelming.

Current Content Marketing strategies and technology do not provide the depth of measurement we demand. And given the investment involved, it’s a tough sell for schools caught in an increasingly competitive battle to win students.

But just because something cannot be measured—or, at least, measured to the nth degree like we’re used to—doesn’t mean it should be set aside.

The same studies show that, despite the lack of measurement, there is still a compelling need to invest in Content Marketing. Even though we can’t analyze it down to the atomic level, what we can measure confirms that there is value there.

Most importantly, some recent studies highlight an evolutionary shift in how people are thinking about Content Marketing: The key is in the personalization of the content.

(Yes, I realize “Personalization” was another of those buzzwords from a few years back… But you’ve got to admit, it works.)

It isn't enough to produce great, relevant content for your audiences. That has value, certainly—but the real value comes when you can personalize that content, tailoring it to your audiences.

In order to do that, of course, you need to take the time to go through a process to identify your audiences, understand their sensibilities, and explore their needs and concerns in depth. It can even add a level of measurability to your Content Marketing efforts—or, as some are calling it now, “Corporate Storytelling.”

(Man… We just love making up new buzzwords, don’t we?)

Which is an entirely different conversation for another time—in fact, it's a conversation we have every day with our clients here at Gazillion & One. It can be a lot of work to go through that process, but it’s worth it.

Reach out and let us know if you want to talk about how G1 can help you with your Content Marketing and Personalization efforts. We're here to help.

Interested in collaborating on your next project?