Personalization is key for a number of reasons — one of the biggest is that it quickly connects your customers or audience to your brand.
With the ocean of content available today, directly engaging prospects with personalized content and experiences give brands a competitive edge. However, many companies are struggling with how to deliver. For more on this, take a look at the top challenges to personalization.
Creating personalized experiences for individual customers may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In our experience with clients, we guide them through the Personalization Spectrum, so they can start small and grow their personalization strategies over time.
What is the Personalization Spectrum?
It’s based on four strategy types:
- Contextual – considers the specific environmental factors and circumstances that surround an individual user story
- Persona – aligns a user’s needs with those of a pre-defined target persona
- Behavioral – takes into consideration a user’s previous interactions to provide an evolving experience that spans across interactions
- Journey – looks at the customer journey to determine where a particular customer fits within that journey
A closer look at the four strategies
This is the foundation upon which you can build more complex strategies. Using tools such as IP lookup and geolocation, you can determine the device customers are using to visit your site (i.e., desktop vs. mobile.) You can also see which browsers your customers use most often and make note of any trends that will differentiate your audience based on browser preference.
Other ways to apply contextual personalization include temporal factors such as time of day, month, or season/year.
As your gather more information about your customers, such as interests, intent, historical interactions, and purchase history, you can associate them with established personas. Building a repository of this data will allow you to send more targeted messages and offers.
And, as more of this data is collected and applied, it allows you to automate a decision-making engine that delivers content through sophisticated algorithms.
One trend we’re seeing is companies moving towards segmenting customers based on interactions with web content and digital marketing campaigns. With behavioral personalization, you can leverage click-stream data to micro levels including click events, funnel segmentation, and other first-party cookie data.
As customers navigate your site, you can begin to acquire “traits” based on behaviors, which you can use to target and deliver specific information. By measuring actions customers take on your site – items viewed, searches performed, or downloaded content – you can better understand them, make data-driven decisions, and take analytically derived actions for a specific channel or across all channels.
This is the most complex personalization strategy because you need to be able to quickly gather and act upon data that is created from the entire customer journey on your site. Using rich data, you can better target the experience based on maturity with your company and at specific stages of the journey.
The bottom line when it comes to applying personalization strategies is to start simple. Introducing complexity too early can slow implementation and analytics processes. You need to evolve personalization strategies by establishing baseline metrics and creating business rules first, then adding complexity over time.
Learn more about the Personalization Spectrum and how to implement your strategy in our guide.