september 18, 2017
Segmentation has been on the marketing map since the 1950’s. We are all well aware of the necessity of targeting our services to specific audiences with specific preferences, but now we have the tools that enable us to significantly improve our use of segmentation and take it to a more personal level.
What is this personalization all about?
When we talk about personalization we refer to the employment of content tactics that enable you to provide personalized content and a tailored digital experience for your audience.
By proactively providing targeted content, most preferably across channels, you can boost your business by fortifying your relationship with your users when treating them as valued and unique individuals.
Why should I be bothered to personalize?
Because relevance is essential in any digital survival kit. You probably recognize the frustration when you are presented with content that has nothing to do with your interests. The same goes for our users. We also know that our attention span is extremely short and that we tend to constantly take shortcuts to all sorts of topics. Therefore, we need to make sure that the content you expose to your users delivers on user insight – otherwise, you face the risk of causing more damage than value. And remember: if your content is not relevant - someone else’s will be when the user demands it.
By implementing simple personalization tactics, you can take control of your content and thus your relevance to your users.
What is the difference between The “normal” experience versus the personalized experience
The normal experience
Imagine this: Lisa heard from her friend Sara, who has previously done business with you, that your company is great. If you’re lucky, Lisa will look up you or your services to see what you’re all about. A first out of many steps. But what are Lisa’s needs? What is relevant to her? – And most importantly: how do you meet her needs?
Usually, Lisa would be met with your (no doubt stunning, but) generic content, from where she would proceed to more generic content, and so on. If your design is intuitive enough, and if Lisa is able to follow the intuitive flow, and if Lisa’s patience lasts long enough, she might get the understanding of your company, that you would like her to. That is IF.
Let’s take away some of the “if’s” and remove the dependency on Lisa’s abilities and patience by instead trying to be proactive and pave the way for her.
The Personalized experience
Lisa hasn’t visited before, so you know nothing about her. But by means of design and being smart you empower her to improve her own experience because you actively take notice, collect and act on the information she provides you with – via dialogue flows and personalization rules.
Let’s take a closer look, but still keeping it simple. Say that Lisa reads your blogpost about Design Thinking. This piece of content is categorized to be of interest to your predefined segment types A and D (not B or C). So, when Lisa’s done reading your blogpost, she is presented with content of specific interest to types A and D. Then Lisa engages with content regarding Innovation, which is categorized to be of interest for types A. Now, content categorized to be of interest to type A is valued over other content via your personalization rules, and Lisa – well, she is no longer interrupted with noise but from now on provided with what is actually of interest to her. This helps her realize that she wants to engage with you in her future digital endeavours.
Is it really that simple?
No. Nothing great ever is. Making sure you create the perfect segments, uncovering those crucial moments on your users’ journey and customizing the content to perfection is naturally no simple task. But compared to the return you’ll get it is worth the effort.
You will need to be strategic, but also to get moving – therefore, do not bite off more than you can chew. Focus at the core of your business, identify the stages where personalization will support your users’ journey, and that is where you put in your effort.
If you want to learn more, you're always more than welcome to reach out. Meanwhile you can also take a look at our case with Rotman School of Management where personalization tactics uncovered actionable customer insights and increased the value per visit for key personas significantly.