Pre-Personalization Is a Thing: Part Two

KB Blog image90% of the CMOs surveyed for the Forbes, Publish or Perish Report, believe that content is essential to drive growth, and 92% believe that personalized experiences will drive value, shorten sales cycles and deepen affinity.

By definitioncontent personalization targets specific content to specific people. Content strategist Kevin P. Nichols defines personalization as “contextually targeted content to a specific user.” Content personalization is a strategy that relies on visitor data to deliver relevant content based on audience interests and motivations. It ranges from a highly targeted call to action to a revolving landing page based on a variety of filters.

Starting down the path to personalization can be daunting. ComBlu organizes personalization strategy into three pillars:

  • Segment
  • Persona
  • Person

The process for preparing for each level of personalization is similar; however, each has its own requirements. In simple terms, the process involves:

  • Identification and Research
  • Content Roadmap
  • Taxonomy
  • Content Assembly Approach
  • Supporting Infrastructure
  • Publishing Org Model

Let’s look at the Identification and Research portion of the process as an example of how the process varies for each pillar.


  • Requires deep understanding of the segments served by specific product or service areas and how those products fulfill a need
  • Translate needs to pain points and define as topic theme
  • Conduct comprehensive topic modeling to uncover potential content needs for roadmap

Deliverable: Insights report to inform thought leadership roadmap and create audit filters.


Deliverable: Insights about the go-to resources of specific personas and how their discovery process works along the path-to-purchase. Provides information for content roadmap, experience enhancements and filters for content audit against journey.


  • Use CRM information to identify high-value customers and targets, usually tied into account-based marketing programs
  • Determine nodes of a federated profile, which is defined as a bundle of information about an individual gleaned from multiple sources such as search terms used, industry, role, social posts, products bought or used, open history on email campaigns, content previously viewed and downloaded, point in journey, etc. Most sophisticated marketing cloud platforms create a version of a federated profile.

Deliverable: Insights to create algorithm-based content recommendation engine.

In each case, data is also captured that will inform the taxonomy and assembly process. Once the personalization strategy is complete, the organization needs to transform content operations to deliver the content required for personalization at scale. Two basic org structures are evolving: a centralized newsroom and a self-publishing/governance model.

The next step in the process is determining the distribution and amplification strategy and where that sits in the organization. Measurement is the final workstream in prepping for personalization. Content economics is an emerging science and provides data to inform strategy and executional enhancements.

ComBlu will be releasing an eBook in the near future that helps organizations think through personalization and decide upon a path that is best suited for their company. Watch for more information about its release date.

Kathy Baughman
Kathy Baughman

Kathy Baughman is president and co-founder of ComBlu, a firm specializing in content strategy, community building and thought leadership programs. Kathy’s forte is content and community strategy, and influencer marketing programs. Her passions include bringing a fresh point of view to everything she does and helping organizations take their programs to the next level. Kathy is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has authored several ebooks including “Content Supply Chain” and “The Alchemy of Content”. She also co-authors the firm’s research report, “The State of Online Branded Communities”. Kathy can be reached at

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