Three questions to ask before starting personalized marketing

16 Aug 2017 | By Tobias Arns

Today, “personalization” can feel like just another buzzword. Everywhere you look, there are articles and statistics about the importance of personalization. However, many organizations aren’t successfully using personalization to its fullest extent. According to Gartner, less than 10% of popular retailers believe they are executing personalization strategies effectively.

While it may seem to be a daunting task, advances in the market in terms of features and functionality means personalization is within easy reach. To get your team customizing their marketing outreach quickly, ask yourself three questions before getting started.

1. What does conversion mean to you?  

Every marketer has a goal in mind when launching a new campaign. The same goal-oriented mindset applies when you begin to personalize your website. Typically, marketers aim to generate revenue, but what does that look like for your organization? Do you want to get more people to subscribe to your free weekly newsletter that is backed by advertising money, purchase a subscription to your magazine or buy the latest pair of celebrity-endorsed sneakers?

While goals may change over time, you must start small. Be realistic about your objectives. It’s all about encouraging more clicks on your website and increasing page views. The longer you hold a visitor’s attention with your content, the more time you have to persuade them to buy your product, whether it’s a newspaper or a new pair of jeans.

2. Do you have the right data?

Before implementing any personalization strategy, consider what data you already have. What you already know about your customers often comes from first-party data available within the organization, collected using a data management platform (DMP) and likely including information such as demographics and purchasing history.

However, what about website visitors who haven’t previously made a purchase or signed up for a newsletter? Tools like customer relationship management (CRM) systems can give you insight into whether someone has visited the domain before, where they travelled on the site and more. This information can help marketers create user segments that determine what kind of content customers might be interested in. Depending on your organization, you could have anywhere from 10 to 10,000 different segments.

3. Can you react in real-time?

However, third party data and CRM data generally lag behind a true real-time personalization solution. Combined with your own data, a complete picture of your users emerges and becomes actionable. You can also analyse users’ behaviour in real time to see how they are interacting with your content at this very moment. How long are they staying on a specific web page? Do they spend more time looking at running sneakers or hiking boots? This type of information can help marketers quickly understand what kind of content they should push to increase the time users spend on the site.

To increase conversions, marketers must be able to test segments and innovate quickly. To do so, make sure you have the right team around you. You must include perspectives from a variety of different departments within the organization, including sales, business development and IT; hear what they believe is working and help them achieve their business goals. At the end of the day, partial participation will lead to a disjointed customer experience. Without the support of the entire organisation, your personalisation efforts will fail.

Don’t let personalization become another buzzword at your team meetings. By asking these three questions, you’ll be prepared to provide your website visitors with the best, most relevant content, and watch your revenue grow.

This article was originally published in Digital Marketing Magazine.