A person´s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language. These timeless words were written by Dale Carnegie back in 1937 are still used today as one of the main guidelines in content marketing. However, tectonic changes in technology have changed the game and content marketing has become more than just a name.
Where marketers once had all the control, customers took over and rewrote the rules. They no longer wait for information from marketers. Instead, they do their research themselves. According to recent research, 79% of customers do online research before making a purchase. The same research showed that most of them use Google (68%) while others prefer Facebook (13.8%) and YouTube (5.7%). Still, 47.6% of all respondents said that they prefer the information they find on the business’s website. What’s more, consumers have changed their way of consuming: they are impatient and more demanding. Instead of waiting in queues in stores, they want to do their shopping quickly and are always searching for personalized buying experiences.
Image Source : finchannel.com
The Rise of Content Hubs
However, customers are not the only thing that is evolving. Marketing is changing, as well. With the emergence of new technologies such as Business Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, customer data is everywhere and businesses just need to start using it in their marketing efforts to become customer-centric, or to put it in an even better way, content-centric. Gartner predicts that AI will have the most profound impact on all aspects of eCommerce and that by 2022, at least 5% of eCommerce orders will be predicted and initiated by artificial intelligence.
With the help of data, businesses, especially retailers, have started making sure that their content is relevant and valuable. By doing this they were able to personalize their customer’s journey experience. Extensive research that was conducted by Accenture showed that 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. But just when marketers started tapping into the power of data, they stumbled upon an obstacle called GDPR which made data collection much more difficult, especially when it came to getting consent from older customers or prospects.
Still, it didn’t take long for marketers to realize that GDPR is, in fact, the best thing that could happen to them. Instead of giving up on using their customers´s personal data to optimize their content, they began focusing more on the data they had and how they can use it to improve their content marketing. Luckily, customers followed: Accenture´s research that we mentioned above has shown that a staggering 83% of customers are willing to share their data to enable a more personalized experience.
And here is where content hubs come into play.
Content hubs do a wonderful job in increasing organic traffic and fostering engagement with customers in the age of GDPR. They also increase brand awareness and portray the business as thought leaders in the field. But most importantly, content hubs do a great job in shortening the buyer’s journey.
Image Source : theetailblog.com
One example of how a content hub can make a difference is J. Crew. A sophisticated clothing brand that always did a great job in framing its clothes within lifestyle context, their blog looks like an elegant fashion magazine but with embedded product links to convert their readers into customers.
Similarly, American Express´ Open Forum is a great example of how content hubs can make a difference. With American Express branding all over it, from its light blue color to the Amex logo on top, this content hub sits perfectly in the Amex domain and does an excellent job in serving high-quality content to its audience.
Even banks,can benefit from content hubs. Hang Seng, a large bank from Hong Kong, recently launched a Youtube channel that acts as their content hub. With a series of 25 personalized videos that were combined with sophisticated targeting, to get them in front of the right people at the right time, they managed to beat YouTube´s subscriber to view ratio. Their staggering 1:650 ratio was more than enough to make Hang Seng to continue adding new videos to their content hub.
Having high-quality content is important, but having it well-organized and in one place is even more important, especially today when almost 47% of all buyers read three to five pieces of content before communicating with sales reps. Thus, companies that have a content hub give their customers an option to dive into several pieces of content that are related to a specific subject in a quick and seamless way.
Importance of personalizing content hubs
Creating a content hub is one thing, but your customers and partners want relevant interactions that grab their attention from the moment they come into contact with your brand. In other words, they want personalized content in real-time. One example on how to achieve this the right way is Oasis, a UK based fashion retailer that combines their eCommerce site with their mobile app and brick-and-mortar stores to deliver omnichannel and highly personalized experience to their customers.
Image Source : makeitindesign.com
And as the number of content hubs continues to grow, customers have even wider access and choice of information which makes it even more difficult for brands to engage with them. If we take into consideration that irrelevant content is the number one reason why customers aren’t engaging with a certain brand, it makes personalizing content key.
This means that brands, in order to stay competitive for today’s market, need to reach their audiences in a quick, seamless and personalized way. And what better way of doing it than with a content hub. Here are just some of the reasons personalized content hubs can make a difference:
- Know your customers: customers are more likely to share their personal information if they find your content interesting.Once you have the data, you can use it to create a better understanding of who your customers are and what they need.
- Get the right content to the right customers at the right time: although this can seem almost impossible to achieve, technologies such as Machine Learning and AI make it easy as pie.
- Create shoppable experiences in your content hub: creating relevant content and empowering it with seamless paths to purchase can close the gap between engagement and purchase.
There are numerous ecommerce personalization examples that portray the benefits of personalized content and the effect they can have on businesses and their marketing efforts. For instance, around 35% of all Amazon sales comes from recommendations based on personal data. And while Amazon uses personalization to bump up their sales, Netflix´s personalized recommendation system does wonders in customer retention saving the company a staggering $1 billion per year.
Enough to prove that giving your customers content that is relevant and personal, you can increase your brand’s visibility, credibility and trust. But most importantly, you are able to lessen the friction between your content and your products, thus increasing your conversion and your sales.