Inspiration can strike at any moment. I never thought I’d have a revelation about marketing during a game of Cards Against Humanity, but we don’t get to choose when the lightbulb goes off.
For people unfamiliar with Cards Against Humanity, it dubs itself the “party game for horrible people.” Players match cards containing various risqué phrases to make clever combinations—like Apples to Apples with a hefty dose of vulgarity. During each round, one player serves as the “card czar” and selects the winning card combination.
I was the card czar when I had my eureka moment. While watching the game unfold, I noticed how players adapted their strategies based on everyone else’s sense of humor. You quickly recognize who responds to toilet humor, political incorrectness, or wildly offensive combinations. Players felt one another’s preferences out, made riskier plays to gauge reactions, and then stored pertinent information for later wins.
As the game progressed, I realized how similar this exchange was to content personalization. Marketers work to understand their audience, offer content they think will resonate, and use the data they gather to create relevant experiences. Marketers would be wise to take notes on how winners in Cards Against Humanity play their hands.
In this blog, I’ll show you what you can learn from Cards Against Humanity as a marketer and how to apply those learnings to your content personalization strategy.
The Overlap Between Marketing and Cards
In truth, there’s nothing personal about a Cards Against Humanity deck. Each version ships with the exact same set of cards. What makes the game feel personal are the unique combinations that play to one’s sensibilities by delivering relevant content.
In the same way, there’s nothing personal about a product offering, sales pitch, or piece of marketing collateral. The personalization emerges when marketers pair that content with the sensibilities of their target audience.
Players win by getting approval from an individual rather than from the entire crowd; marketers win by convincing one person at a time. This gets slightly more complex in the B2B realm, where it’s critical to drive consensus among multiple people in different roles. Regardless of the audience, marketers who manage to personalize content and strive for relevancy will be more successful.
The Content Marketing Institute’s Robert Rose emphasizes the importance of delivering memorable, connected content experiences to audiences when using multiple platforms. Although the mechanism of delivery might change, the people behind the screen do not—they have the same sensibilities and preferences regardless of the platform.
For marketers who are eager to personalize content, Cards Against Humanity provides a beautiful blueprint. Assess your target audience, Paraguay Phone Number experiment, collect data, and adjust your approach. Repeat.
4 Steps to Deliver Relevant Experiences
Cards Against Humanity might feel like a silly game, but it provides an opportunity to experience the effectiveness of content personalization. Marketers everywhere can take a few cues from the popular card game to begin experimenting with content personalization.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Chance
Our company has a saying: “No information is still information.” Researching your audience is certainly worthwhile, but all the insight in the world won’t protect you from potential missteps. Instead of fretting about failure, it’s better to put your best foot forward and attempt to appeal to your audience. You can’t win the game if you never play any cards.
Start by publishing content that targets individual buyer personas. Once you have content out in the world, look for patterns in email, web, and social data. Focus on one part of the sales journey, one buyer persona, and one specific goal.
You won’t have all the answers, and that’s OK. Form an initial content personalization strategy and conduct a trial across multiple channels. Collect data on everything, giving equal attention to successful and unsuccessful strategies. Make an investment that will ensure your next attempts are even better.