Personalization is now the most powerful tool for marketing teams trying to deliver more relevant customer experiences.
In fact, the most brands report having at least basic personalization in place today, with 85% agreeing that their marketing and customer experience strategies are based on broad segmentation and simple clustering.
But it’s not just marketers that are buying into personalization. Consumers want it, too.
According to a recent report from Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history.
But how exactly does an organization begin the process of personalization?
The Challenges of Getting Personal
While countless technologies exist (and have existed for years) to help companies “do personalization”, we’ve come to recognize a few good reasons why more companies aren’t diving head-first into the practice based on our experiences with clients.
First, personalization isn’t always standard within all CMS platforms. And, when included, it isn’t always intuitive to marketing users on how to get started, as they are often created for developers.
In addition, personalization requires a lot of data, which comes with its own set of challenges. When surveyed about the biggest challenges with personalization, 39% of marketers reported that not having enough data (39%) was their biggest concern, while 38% said it was inaccurate data that was the biggest hindrance. We’ve also seen firsthand working with clients that many organizations are dealing with internal silos that make it difficult to access the right data.
Some marketers also don’t dive right into personalization because of the potential “creep factor” - that it might turn-off customers. For example, if your system knows a customer well enough to recommend items for them to buy in your store, that may, in some circumstances, come across as a little creepy. The line between knowing enough and knowing too much, and how that information is surfaced, is a fine one.
Thus, marketers are performing a never ending balancing act when it comes to personalization, as they attempt to leverage the power of personalization without scaring off the consumer in the process.
The Authentic Approach to Personalization
Personalization hinges on both the relevance of your content and your technology’s ability to serve it up. It starts with understanding the capabilities and limitations of your personalization engine, such as those built into many enterprise content management systems. Assuming that you’re able to personalize at the component level, you have the foundation to build a robust personalization program.
The relevance of personalized content is the next thing to consider. There’s no point in personalizing content unless the ways in which you’re personalizing have real meaning for your users or audiences. It’s crucial to understand why people care about your brand, and create content that speaks to that. Demographic information on users or audiences are fine, but it’s more important to know the major motivations for consideration and conversion. Insights from a marketing segmentation study or a persona exercise are helpful here, as are user/consumer experience journeys.
For example, if you’re an organic food company, you would want to know that some people are primarily motivated to buy your products because of your company’s environmental stewardship while another group primarily buys from an overall health and fitness mentality. Once you understand how people genuinely connect with your brand/products/services, then you can develop content and key messaging against those connections that have relevance baked in.
Next, you move into content production. Producing a compelling array of headlines, product features, blogs, etc. that map back to these points of brand relevance - not to every possible preference, but to the major buying and engagement motivators. Then you can tag each piece of content according to variables like subject matter, tone, and brand or editorial pillars. You can also monitor and tag for contextual variables, such as the weather forecast in a site visitor’s location (contextual variables will differ according to your product or service). Setting this up will allow you to better understand the type of content users prefer over time, and serve them more personalized content and offers.
So let’s say a user hits your organic food site, and she reads 3 blog articles about “foods for fitness and health.” Your company makes organic workout refuel bars - bingo! You can then feature information about the refuel bars after her next click instead of serving up default content, knowing that such content is more likely to be relevant to her (and better for your brand's ability to connect with her). This can be done by setting up some simple rules based on user attributes and how content is categorized.
Or maybe you know that a user has been looking at your organic meat products over the past few weeks. When he returns on a Friday afternoon and the personalization engine knows that the weather forecast in his area is 75 and sunny for the weekend, it could make sense to feature that blog post about “5 tips for grilling free-range meat.” You just might plant the seed that gets him to try your meat products by simply suggesting something relevant to his context and indicated interests.
With Gartner predicting that smart personalization based on customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15% in the next 3-4 years, the benefit is clear. Plus, as personalized web experiences become the norm, getting started on your own personalization approach is now more important than ever.
Jump Start to Personalization
We have worked alongside clients in various industries, so we’re familiar with the difficulties brands face when it comes to getting started with personalization — and we know exactly how to sidestep them all, too.
To help your brand get on the right track, we’ve created a “Jump Start to Personalization” package that speeds up your journey to delivering more personalized web experiences.
The Jump Start to Personalization Package will include an actionable roadmap of activities to optimize your web experience, gain valuable insights, and start delivering more relevant content to your key audiences.
Here’s a breakdown of what the package entails:
What We’ll Do
- Technical Review: We will check your brand’s existing technologies for personalization capability, functionality, and configuration ability.
- Priority Audience & User Journey Assessment: We will work with you to determine the audience of greatest opportunity, and their needs, and how digital touchpoints can help.
- Brand & Content Assessment: During this phase, we will check existing content-to-user relevance to ascertain whether or not your brand has enough relevant content to be personalized - and give you a plan for how to develop relevant content if it doesn’t.
What You’ll Get
After we do our part, here’s what you can expect to get out of the Personalization Jump Start Package:
- Current state summary of personalization readiness
- Recommendation for one priority audience to “jump start”
- Gap Assessment
- Action plan & next steps
Ready to Get Started With Personalization?
While Personalization may come with perceived difficulties, the numbers show that consumers are demanding more relevant and personal digital experiences — and as we move deeper into 2017, time is running out for brands that refuse to comply. Now is the time to get started.
Want to start delivering personalized customer experiences? Click here to learn more about our Jump Start to Personalization package.