I read a lot of different sources in my bid to stay relevant in this fast changing portal and social world. John Prince had an interesting article on the butterfly effect as a guest blogger on the Oracle WebCenter blog. He starts out by noting how very small changes have large impacts. He missed a bus by 12 minutes and thus started his vacation 2.5 hours later. He then brought that to life with a home page example:
I would like to relate the Butterfly Effect to digital marketing to see how seemingly small things could cause significant effects. For example, let us look at the effects of ‘contextual relevance,’ the concept of delivering the right information, to the right person at the right time, in your digital marketing efforts.
Studies have shown that in the publishing industry, contextual relevance helps improve the average time spent by users by up to 300%. Recommendations can phenomenally improve average revenue per customer on eCommerce sites.
Contextually assembled home pages reduce bounce rates by 60% and improve customer engagement dramatically. Smart phones and tablets with geo-location take contextual relevance to a new dimension. Social media adds a new dimension of relevance to the user.
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I like this because what he calls contextual relevance, we can also call personalization. Personalization has been around awhile but only recently have companies decided they needed to use it. Most companies still just push out content relevant to large masses. A relative few smart companies take the time and effort to understand their user and change up the content delivered. From a technical sense, personalization isn’t all that hard. Assuming you have a personalization tool in your portal or content management system, all you need is access to data. Actually, I usually find that you can spend more time debating how to personalize than you will spend in actually defining and applying personalization rules. Just think of all the information that’s available to you to help with personalization:
- Any information in your user repository. That includes address, office location, who they report to if you are using an intranet, etc.
- Shopping history
- browsing history
- session history – what they just barely did
- Specifically defined preferences like how to contact them, what information they want to see
- External databases. A clinical database with patient history might tell you a patient has diabetes and that opens up a whole realm of possibilities by noting new article, putting a link to a community, etc.
So yes, I agree with John Prince, making a page, especially the home page, relevant will bring results. The question is how much time your business want to devote to it.