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Look to AI for Personalized Member Experiences

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By Sara Counihan

Sara CounihanAccording to Lev Kaye, founder and CEO of CredSpark, the internet has presented a new challenge for organizations. Although the internet solved the issue of content scarcity, it created a new problem: content abundance. We have endless amounts of information right at our fingertips, and it can be gathered nearly instantaneously, explained Kaye during the AM&P 360 “Strategies to Leverage Content and Lure New Members” breakout session in June in Washington, D.C. This leads to another problem: finding relevant information.

“How many of the headlines you see each day do you click through to read?” Kaye asked attendees. “Do you read every single email you get? Of course not. You read only the most personally relevant to you.”

Kaye told attendees that the root cause of growth challenges in membership-based organizations is lack of content personalization. Growth challenges are due to low engagement. Low engagement is due to the unclear relevance of content and an organization’s value. Unclear relevance of content and value is due to lack of personalization.

“When it comes to content, are you talking about yourselves when you should really be talking about your audience? Kaye asked.

“Their experience of your organization should reflect their unique identity and needs, not simply what you want to say,” said Kaye.

Kaye listed five ways member-based organizations can be unintentionally impersonal:

  1. Content is organized by format instead of by what it helps someone learn and achieve.

  2. Organizations force website visitors to search for relevant, interesting content.

  3. Organizations treat audience members like they are mostly the same.

  4. Organizations talk a lot without asking questions.

  5. Member communications feel canned.

“If you’ve received the same outreach as 5,000 other people, does that make you feel special?” Kaye asked the audience.

Kaye’s solution to an organization’s impersonal content? Artificial intelligence. Once AI recognizes a user, it can recommend content individually selected for that person.

“Historically, it's been impossible to make a person feel that his or her individuality is reflected in marketing, but thanks to powerful computing technologies collectively known as AI, that has now changed,” Kaye said.

Natural language generation (NLG) is a specific form of AI that turns structured data into stories using human-designed templates and logic. Kaye explained that when an NLG algorithm is fed data, it rapidly applies human-designed sets of rules around language — which language should appear where or how the wording should vary, for example. It then outputs a narrative based on that data and those rules.

“The ‘N’ in NLG stands for natural, and the beauty of NLG is that it intentionally introduces variation into the language, just like a human would,” Kaye said.

When you feed an NLG algorithm the data you've captured from asking your audience questions, you can use those individual answers to highly personalize the language you generate, Kaye says.

“Everything you tell them in NLG-powered content marketing reflects back to them what they have told you, which is an amazing experience,” explained Kaye.

Kaye presented a case study with Robb Rabito, senior director, program development at the American College of Chest Physicians.

Rabito explained three challenges common to member-based organizations and how NLG data helps these organizations find solutions:

  1. Personalize Your Member Outreach

Challenge: Different content, resources, and benefits appeal to different member types.

Solution: Personalize your marketing campaigns around renewing and new members.

  1. Personalize Your Annual Conference

Challenge: Grow new attendees and overall attendance at an annual professional conference.

Solution: Let conference website visitors answer questions about their organization, interests, and needs, then match them to sessions, exhibitors, and products.

  1. Personalize Your Sponsored Content

Challenge: Grow sponsorship revenue as well as the value delivered to sponsors.

Solution: Engage your audience with interactive content (quizzes, polls, surveys, etc.) that can generate unique insights on individuals as well as their contact info for sponsors.

Personalization through AI is largely just doing what your marketing, membership, events, and learning teams are already doing — just more effectively, explained Kaye and Rabito.

Sara Counihan is content project manager for NACS. Association Media & Publishing thanks Sara for her stellar job covering this AM&P Annual Meeting session for our members who were unable to attend.


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