Most Organizations Still Struggling to Deliver Personalized Content, Says Forbes Insights/PwC Report

NEW YORK — According to a new report by Forbes Insights, in association with PwC, “Leading With Customer-Focused Content: Driving Growth Through Personalized Experiences,” the majority of organizations either lack a content strategy or are making do with one that’s incomplete. Often that means relegating content creation to a vacuum within the marketing department, or relying on bootstrap approaches spread throughout the organization. They may produce content, but it’s rarely personalized, nor is it well integrated with broader objectives like developing the brand or increasing customer loyalty.

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. 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.

This global survey of 369 senior executives shows organizations can be characterized as belonging to one of three groups:

Trailblazers constitute 25% of respondents and these high performers embrace the five key practices. They consider personalized content critical to their marketing strategy and create and deliver content proficiently.

Explorers—67% of respondents—are aware of content’s importance but still struggling to create personalized customer experiences and to consistently use content to their advantage.

Nomads—8% of respondents—do not believe personalized content is critical to their marketing strategy, nor do they prioritize content planning and measurement.

“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.”

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

The five key practices:

  • Start with business priorities—Content strategy is driven by business goals.
  • Appoint a content champion—A senior executive such as the CMO or chief digital officer.
  • Know customers through data—Mine data to learn about the target audience, then create and deliver relevant content.
  • Build capability—Invest in content marketing capabilities, including technology and data integration and analytics.
  • Measure to optimize—Everything is measured, and content is optimized based upon this data.

About this research

To understand how today’s leading B2B and B2C organizations are achieving business benefits such as increased brand awareness and enhanced customer engagement via customer-focused content, Forbes Insights, in association with PwC, launched a survey of 369 senior-level executives at large companies around the world, from North America to the Middle East. The survey, which was fielded in 2015, included financial services, technology, retail, telecommunications, healthcare and consumer products industries. PwC and Forbes Insights also conducted in-depth interviews with 18  executives to provide context for the findings.

About Forbes Insights

Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and, whose combined media properties reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management.

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