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The Spotify effect: Personalize content experiences to engage prospects

When I think of remarkable content experiences, the first thing that comes to mind is Spotify. Beyond its sleek interface and a vast library of music, there’s something truly remarkable about it that always keeps me coming back—it knows me.

If everyone in a room of 100 people pulled out their phones and looked at their ‘made for you’ playlist on Spotify, there’d be 100 different playlists.

To me, that’s personalization at its finest. Rather than offering their users the same generic set of playlists, they’ve created a customized experience based on the listening habits of each user that’s made up of only the types of content that will make them engage.

If consumers are getting served highly personalized experiences on Spotify, what makes us think that they’ll take out their earphones, log into their work computers, and lower their standards when the time to make a business purchase arrives?

How to create personalized content experiences like Spotify

Marketers are a lot like DJs, remixing content in ways that will engage their audiences.

There’s a quote I’ve used in a few of my presentations from a Canadian DJ, Mikey Da Roza, that sums up this idea: “The best DJs are able to read their audience. They have to be able to know what track to play to engage them…and then how to lead them on a journey to where you want them to be.”

As marketers, we need to align content to every stage of the buyer journey in the same way a good DJ knows how to arrange their setlist to hype up a crowd.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re doing this in order to create content experiences that look good, engage your audience, and drive conversions.

Your content’s environment

This is how your content is packaged and presented to the world. We judge books by their covers, wine by the label, and we judge content the same way.

When you look at your blog or website, consider these questions:

  • Is it aesthetically pleasing and attention-grabbing?
  • Are the presentation and layout engaging?
  • Is it consistent with what I’d expect from this company or brand as an end consumer? Does it look professional?

Content structure

The structure isn’t about how each individual blog post is laid out. This really refers to whether all of your content (blogs, videos, ebooks, infographics, you name it) is organized and whether or not someone is able to find what they need when they come to your site with a question.

In order to evaluate your blog, resource center, or website’s structure, ask yourself:

  • Is the content organized in a way that’s intuitive for your customers and prospects?
  • Is it easy to navigate? Do you have a search bar and functional navigation bar?
  • Has information been grouped together by topic, role, or industry? Is your content discoverable in more than one place?

Engagement opportunities

The environment and structure of your content, or what we refer to as your content experience, can either compel action (more clicks, more video views, and more form submissions) or lead to a dead end. As a marketer, you’re going to want the former.

In order to determine how engaging your content experience is, think about the following:

  • In what ways do you compel action?
  • Have you used personalized and contextualized calls-to-action?
  • Are you recommending more relevant content?

On top of these considerations, there are a few other things you can do to take your personalization up a notch. After all, a truly effective content experience will make the user feel as if it’s been created just for them. We’re lucky that artificial intelligence provides us with an easy way to achieve this. At Uberflip, we use a content recommendation engine that predicts the kind of content users will want to see next and suggests it to them.

Even if you’re not using AI, your ultimate goal should be to eliminate any dead ends in your content experience. By providing continuous (and relevant) recommendations like Spotify does, you can ensure your audience’s interactions with your content are both meaningful and purposeful.

Why personalization matters in B2B marketing

Marketers have a lot to learn when it comes to personalization. It’s not just Spotify that’s doing it—think about how many times you’ve clicked on one of Amazon’s “Recommendations for You” or were hooked by one of Netflix’s “Because you watched…” suggestions.

As buyers engage with increasingly personalized experiences, B2B marketers need to align their marketing journeys with these evolving expectations to remain competitive. When someone goes to your website, they’re looking to solve a problem. They’re not thinking of whether they want to read a blog or watch a video, they just want answers or advice on how to improve their existing processes.

By serving up personalized content, you’re giving your audience what they’ve already become accustomed to, thanks to brands like Spotify, Amazon, and Netflix.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you, the real kicker is that it’s not just big consumer brands scaling personalization anymore, B2B companies are doing it too. And anyone who fails to adopt this new wave of marketing is going to get left behind.

Looking ahead

We’re at the point where “Hi [First Name]” emails no longer count as personalization. We need to shift our thinking to be more like: “Hi [First Name], here are some recommended resources based on your industry, job title, and browsing patterns.”

The ‘Spotify Effect’, the notion that all experiences must be optimized for engagement and personalized for user interests is how you’re going to get your prospects to binge through recommended content and self-nurture. It’s how we’re going to win with content.

Randy Frisch is the Co-Founder & CMO at Uberflip. He can be found on Twitter at @randyfrisch.

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