by Nick Fitzsimmons // November 26, 2018 // Blog

As marketers, we know that the most important relationships we have are with our existing customers and that nurturing them is absolutely vital to the future of our business. We understand that our customers are expecting us to deliver more contextually relevant omnichannel experiences and that creative technology can be leveraged to support enterprise scale. We’ve collected the data and are ready to invest in the technology… now what? Data and technology can help us execute, however, nothing can replace a well-planned strategy.

Previously, we discussed why precision marketing matters and explored how it’s quickly becoming a part of the foundation of some of the world’s largest brands’ DCO strategies.  Today we’re going to build on that knowledge to empower you, the marketer, with a 3-step guide to getting started.

The first step is to define your brand guidelines.  In addition to the staples like logo usage, color palette, and type, great brand guidelines can include your history, key values, and tone of voice. Today’s most forward-thinking marketers are going even further by building functional digital guidelines.  Often interactive, these can include functional representations of styles, with example source code, further reducing the level of effort for your team. With employees and partners operating out of a myriad of regions around the world, it’s more important than ever to be able to clearly articulate your vision, mission, and style rules to ensure consistent on-brand customer experiences.  With clear direction in hand, your marketers will be able to communicate consistently across markets and experiences.

The second step is to identify your audiences. In our previous article, we learned that precision marketing emphasizes relevancy, which is determined by combining data and context to understand who and where your users are on their individual customer journeys across your brand.  This relevancy can be leveraged to group your customers into audience segments. To help realize a faster time to value, most brands get started with an “MVP” approach by selecting 3-6 initial high-level audience segments.  

With a clear understanding of who we want to reach and how we can communicate consistently, we’re ready to take on the next step.

For years, we’ve invested heavily in our brand’s message and worked closely with agencies to develop campaigns that evoke emotion and compel action. The output is often one “big idea” or story for everyone, packaged into a few assets, that then need to be distributed and adapted globally. Content-based on that one story is then produced to be delivered across experiences.  As we continue to prepare for precision marketing, how do we take our one story for the masses and repurpose it for our newly identified audiences? That takes us to step 3, which is to develop a content strategy for DCO.

A good content strategy for DCO prioritizes two concepts: structured data and your identified audiences.  The first, structured data, supports the ability to author content once, storing all elements of the content as individual rows in a database so that content can be assembled across your omnichannel experiences at the time of rendering.  Often available via API, structured data is at the heart of a marketers ability to deliver the right message, to the right audience, on the right channel, at the right time.

The second concept is to ensure that you’re keeping your identified audiences top of mind.  As you produce content, it’s important to think about how it will resonate with each audience.  Does your story change depending on who you’re talking to? What about based on external variants like location, time of day, or weather? Thinking through how your content may vary will inform just how much needs to be produced, as well as how you may leverage personalization to tell better stories.

With the foundation in place, we’re now ready to bring our precision marketing strategy to life. In a future article, we will discuss how enterprise creative management platforms (CMPs) can enable marketers to produce intelligent creative at scale, leveraging your audience data and the latest in DCO capabilities.  Whether you’re targeting 5 or 500 audience segments, a CMP provides the purpose-built workflow, production, and reporting tools marketers need to easily grow their brands with precision marketing.

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