Look at any article on marketing trends from the last few years, whether it’s from McKinsey’s digital strategy team (Marketing’s Holy Grail), Forbes or Harvard Business School (How Marketers Can Personalize at Scale) and you’ll find personalised content at scale at the top of the list. In the last few years the technologies and the content supply chains are starting to catch up, and as a result the ability to scale personalised content and creative to a campaign as well as iterating and testing is becoming a central skill for creative agencies in adding value. There has been an explosion in the way content is shown in retail in terms of advertising that is relevant to the specific person in terms of information and engagement. At Earnie, we have been producing personalised content for a while (ECB – NatWest T20 Blast 2017, NFL Tune In Campaign) but we think overall the sports industry has a long way to go in catching up with other sectors.
The Case for Personalised Content
In years gone by, positioning a company in two different ways was no easy task. In the digital world of today you can market entirely differently to teenagers to get them excited by a product than to a parents who may be the person purchasing the product. People who access your content come from different locations, use different devices, have different interests and have seen your content different amount of times and yet, even in the digital age, much of the existing strategies treat these people as one in the same. Personalised content allows for rights holders and brand to communicate to each audiences in the manner that will most engage them and critically, do so in real-time. By using behavioural data, Mastercard were able to gain valuable insight into consumer segments, but importantly created valuable personalised content based on consumer insight that yielded an emotional connection with their customers. This resulted in an uptake of 25% in transactions compared to previous campaigns using traditional means (Mastercard Personalisation). In sports the NFL found driving viewers to their live matches and highlight shows challenging in a competitive landscape. We developed a complete digital and OOH campaign that with video and static content that targeted a number of lookalike audiences with a variety of messaging to maximise engagement. The results were significant with viewership up 80% from the previous year (more on this here).
Earnie, in association with partners use both first party and third party data in order to provide interest indices of different types of consumers. Traditional demographic characteristics as well as behavioural patterns of users are used to understand consumer’s propensity to engage with a variety of types of messaging/content. Content is then targeted at different consumers at various stages in the buying journey (see our T20 content case study here). Whilst data is incredibly important for insight and targeting of consumers it is only part of the equation, the content still needs to engage people and the ability to create large quantities of content quickly means that agencies need a content supply chain that is able to scale in volume, cost and complexity of content. The key to generating content is to provide a flexible, modular design/production that can be adapted across platforms and subsequently tested and iterated so that right content is reaching the right people. This joining up of insight and creative sits at the heart of everything we do.
The opportunity to combine content, timing and location allows marketing to be as relevant as possible to consumers. A recent study (the content marketing institute) showed that over half of people would like to see more personalised ads online seeing the value in relevant material as well as the understanding that many of their favourite sites are funded by advertisement. With improving technology in behavioural data, agencies can gather insights on audience interests and the testing of content. This coupled with the restructuring of supply chains means, if done well, personalised content can continue to drive real business returns.