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Why content personalization matters for your digital audiences

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In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, delivering personalized customer experiences is no longer a "nice to have"—it’s an expectation. Consumers gravitate toward the brands that recognize them as individuals at every step of their journey. Here, we look at the importance of content personalization and how Brightspot makes it efficient and simple, building it into the core of the content development process.

Personalization supports the customer journey

Personalization is about meeting the customer where they are with messaging that speaks most directly to their interests and needs. A brand might modify its corporate storytelling message to be different for a frequent shopper versus a first-time customer, or a media publisher might customize the news experience so that a reader who has bookmarked the sports section always sees more sports content.

Personalization has internal uses as well; for instance a company might modify its intranet experience so that employees in each office see different upcoming event information based on their locations. All of these examples underscore the growing importance of personalization for today's brands, organizations and publishers.

Personalization is crucial for marketers

Personalization has risen to be a top marketing tactic because it works. Consumers gravitate toward the brands that recognize them as individuals at every step of their journey. According to Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. Furthermore, an Infosys survey showed that nearly three-quarters of customers become frustrated when a website doesn't personalize its content.

Today, forward-thinking marketers are taking notice of this upward trend. In fact, 88% of marketers believe audiences expect a personalized experience. Marketers recognize that deep personalization can grow loyalty and unlock new revenue streams.

Personalization is the new standard

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, delivering personalized customer experiences is no longer a "nice to have"— it’s an expectation. Not too long ago, seeing your name in an email subject line seemed like a revolutionary advancement in digital marketing. However, consumers have become accustomed to receiving a personalized approach, thanks largely to the pioneering efforts of companies like Amazon and Netflix. Customers can see right through superficial personalization efforts; an action like putting a name in a subject line won’t go far if the content within the email doesn’t speak to the consumer.

Businesses should also consider that, today, personalization alone isn't enough. Users don't only want to see content and products they already know and like, rather, they want to be surprised and introduced to new things along the way.

Successfully personalizing the digital experience

Given the importance of personalization, organizations' and publishers' ultimate goal should essentially be to assemble a "mini-website" for each customer, promoting that person's preferred content whenever they visit. New site visitors are a group with a distinct experience, so they should be greeted with helpful, simple content on their first visit. Existing customers usually return to a site for good reason, such as to seek a user guide for a product they recently purchased. Presenting them with content that shows they are recognized will go a long way.

How Brightspot enables personalization

Despite its ubiquity, research from Experian shows that 94% of brands encounter challenges with perfecting personalization, with key hurdles being complexity and time. The Brightspot CMS can be a tool for marketers who want to get content personalization right.

Knowing who you want to deliver personalized experiences to is the first critical step. This starts with understanding your user base by sourcing user attributes from any system of record, such as a CRM. A modern CMS like Brightspot can capture and consolidate this data. Once you know who is using your digital properties, you can decide to which of those audiences you want to deliver targeted experiences. Brightspot has a robust set of pre-built audience targets, so there's no up-front IT work involved. Out-of-the-box audience segments can be based on characteristics such as device, tags, cookies, header targets, day of the week or content type.

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Deliver custom experiences in Brightspot using audience segmentation

Once users and audience segments are defined, an editorial team can start customizing the messaging that is delivered to those groups. Brightspot offers several out-of-the-box methods of audience segmentation. You can, for example, have a different homepage for mobile users, or have different experiences for viewers tailored around a specific topic. If a publisher has multiple main audience segments, they don’t have to publish key landing pages three times.

Brightspot's approach treats the original asset as the default from which the original content can be modified. Personalization can be as simple as changing a headline on an article for users on a mobile device, or as complex as serving up a completely different landing page layout for a user based on a cookie target. With dynamic pages, it's possible to know that a user is interested in a certain tag, and use that to curate an offer or a specific story. Brightspot also makes personalization easier by allowing editors to publish multiple variations of a piece of content from the same place in the CMS. Editors can create a content object and manage the different variations all in one location. The editor can then publish different content or alter the layouts for different audiences, all from one central dashboard.

Brightspot in action: WGBH's personalization journey

Let's look at content personalization in practice. Public media company WGBH worked with Brightspot to develop an omnichannel CMS solution with personalization capabilities that would help them engage new audiences and members alike.

WGBH website

As WGBH and Brightspot began the project to modernize content delivery, it was clear that viewers gravitated to WGBH primarily for video content. The reimagined WGBH sites now feature audience segmentation and personalization capabilities that are driving a new era of brand success. From knowing which users preferred to watch baking shows versus period dramas, for example, the public broadcaster is now able to serve content that's most likely to drive audience engagement and discovery.

As one of the nation’s leading public media producers nationally and as an essential provider of trusted journalism and cultural content in our home market of Boston, it is critical that we provide our audiences the content they expect on their terms. WGBH is now extremely well equipped to provide personalized digital expressions of our content to our broad, growing, and diverse audience.
Bob Kempf, Vice President for Digital Services, WGBH

Today, personalization is expected. Users want experiences that fit their interests, habits and preferences. Brands, organizations and publishers who get that right are the ones who will achieve building successful content businesses that capture audiences and make them excited about engaging with the company. With Brightspot's data capabilities, out-of-the-box methods of audience segmentation, and content flexibility, we help businesses champion personalization to meet the needs of today's consumers.

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