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Personalization matters according to 66% of marketers who participated in the "Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Why Marketing Should be Personal" research study with Econsultancy and Adobe. Without personalization, these marketers agree that the success their online strategies would be limited. To that end, more than one in two marketers (54%) are working towards developing more personalized websites and online experiences.

The Levels of Personalization

Keep in mind, personalization comes in many forms. Including an audience member's name in your email marketing message is just one level of personalization that you should consider as you develop your marketing campaigns. Personalization can also be baked into your web development process. Think about how you can personalize as many steps of your audience's journey as possible---from finding your content all the way through to sharing it with their own online (and offline) connections.Many companies and content publishers collect data about audience behaviors as they interact with online content. Among the respondents to the Econsultancy and Adobe study, nearly two out of three marketers (65%) collect and use personal data like name, location, and gender to develop personalized online experiences for their audiences. Ranking second and third for use in personalization were user preferences (45%) and purchase history (38%).Are you collecting personal information from the people who consume your Authoritative Content? Are you using that information to make personal connections with your audience?You should filter personalization to all marketing activities and brand experiences so your audience becomes more emotionally connected with you, your content, and your brand. This emotional connection almost always translates into loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing which means you'll have a greater chance of successfully reaching your goals.

Privacy Concerns

Of course, collecting information about your audience doesn't mean you can track people without following some guidelines. Be sure to include a Privacy Policy on your site that explains how data is collected, what data is collected, and how that data is used.The Better Business Bureau offers a free sample Privacy Policy that provides a lot of the language you need to include in your own policy, and the Small Business Administration provides helpful steps to create your own privacy policy for your website.

Privacy to Personalization: The Tipping Point

Research has shown again and again that people are willing to share their personal information if they get something that they deem to be valuable enough in return. With that in mind, make sure that your Authoritative Content and every brand experience that you create for your audience is relevant, useful, and meaningful to your audience.If consumers don't "buy into" your content's value proposition, you'll never be able to get them to the tipping point where privacy concerns are outweighed by the benefits of personalization. Again, your content marketing success will be limited.Image: Mike Mozart licensed CC BY 2.0