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PwC, Forbes: Personalized Content Still a Problem

By Chris Tribbey

A majority of companies lack an overriding strategy for their content, allow content to be created in a vacuum within their marketing departments, rarely personalize content for their customers, and often fail to look at content with customer loyalty in mind.

That’s all according to a new report from Forbes Insights and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — “Leading With Customer-Focused Content: Driving Growth Through Personalized Experiences” — which surveyed nearly 37- senior executives worldwide, and found that far too many companies are working with, at best, an incomplete content strategy.

The companies ranged everywhere from media and entertainment to automotive to financial services. Retail and consumer companies were best represented in the survey, at 16% of respondents.

“Personalization needs more than just great creativity to make content more engaging,” said Matt Egol, chief strategy officer for PwC’s Digital Services division. “It requires analytics, technology and new ways of working that stretch the culture.”

Poor management of data is a big part of the content personalization problem, according to the report: many companies are dealing with distributed and decentralized storage, duplicate records, and flat-out incomplete and inaccurate information about their customers. Data isn’t being made easily accessible, and customers often have multiple records in the same databases, the report found.

“Given that revenue is on the line and that the world is moving toward next-level personalization, precisely targeting individuals, this state of affairs is problematic,” the report reads. “Yet, there are also those savvy organizations that have a comprehensive strategy that furthers their business priorities by enabling them to produce and deliver personalized content in a cost-effective and sustainable way, largely by following five key practices.”

Those key practices:

• Start with business priorities and have a content strategy driven by business goals.
• Appoint a content champion, a senior executive, likely a CMO or chief digital officer.
• Know customers through data, by mining it to learn about a target audience. Then create and deliver relevant content.
• Invest in content marketing capabilities, including analytics.
• Measure to optimize. Content can be optimized based on the right data.

The report found that only about 25% of respondents are tackling those rules correctly, while 67% are aware of the importance of personalized content, but are struggling to deliver. About 8% “do not believe personalized content is critical to their marketing strategy, nor do they prioritize content planning and measurement,” according to the report.

“This report demonstrates how far many companies still have to go to achieve a complete content strategy,” said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer and head of the CMO practice at Forbes Media. “It also lays out a roadmap of how to get there through these key practices.”

For more on the report, click here.