how-to-identify-specifiers-and-end-users-through-personalisation
Published: 09 November 2017

Personalisation has become an increasingly bigger part of our business at Sagittarius, particularly for our Manufacturing clients. However, I was still generally in the dark about understanding why.

To remedy this, I sat down with two prominent members of our team to learn more about it, why it’s becoming more and more vital for clients, and how it identifies users.

Kris: So, big question: Who are you and what do you do at Sagittarius

Ruth: I’m Ruth Irvine, Account Manager, specialising in providing Sitecore Business Optimisation Service’s, otherwise known as SBOS Workshops and CRO consultancy.

Alex: I’m Alex Lee, Digital Producer, which means I handle the User Experience (UX) for our client’s new sites, as well as the specification.

Kris: Can you take our readers through what we mean when we talk about ‘Personalisation’?

Alex: The simple example Paul (Sagittarius CEO) likes to give is the ‘Apple’ one – he bought a Macbook online and when he went back on to their site later he just kept seeing the same offer to buy a Macbook, instead of say, offers to buy a carry case or headphones or something like that.

Ruth: It’s all about personalising content in order to move people ‘through the funnel’ we are not talking about radically changing the user experience. When you browse our sites, we can identify who “you” are, through a combination of factors, like visitor patterns, number of visits, time on page, what content you viewed etc, or by what goals you’ve completed on-site. We can then personalise the content to make it more relevant and personal to each type of user. So (hopefully), we’re always showing the user something that is relevant to them. We call it ‘Context Marketing’ delivering the right content, to the right person at the right time.

Kris: What does that look like from a technical perspective, in regards to how a site is built?

Alex: I suppose there are two approaches to Personalisation: Top-Down, and Bottom-Up. Top-Down would be the client’s marketing team looking at their website, looking to change a single aspect – it might be that after a user has bought three things, the marketer wants them to get a different offer. That can be difficult or slow to implement each time if the site hasn’t been specified for Personalisation. The other approach – and we do this with all of our Sitecore builds – is Bottom-Up, where from the very beginning, the site is specified to make each component “modular”, so you can have an offer to buy, which might not be of interest to an Architect or Specifier just doing their research, so you swap it out and instead show them an offer or message that is relevant to them.

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Kris: And that might shift them further down the funnel.

Alex: Precisely. To give an example, if we specify 30 components that come together to form the page – header images, text blocks, carousels and so on – all of those can be personalised. So that provides a framework which is separate from the Top-Down marketing perspective, and lets that marketer make those changes much more easily and with far greater flexibility.

Ruth: Whenever we begin a project we will have an in-person workshop with the client so we can establish business objectives – say “increase revenue by 10% YOY”. We use that business objective to identify what the clients marketing and then digital goals. Then, it’s a case of planning what steps different user types or Personas might take towards those goals. From there we personalise for each of those user types.

Kris: Are there any wider industry-specific “tricks” that can work across different clients?

Ruth: Clients and their goals are wildly different, even in the same industry.

Alex: That’s right. You can apply learnings from one client to another, and that is part of being a consultant, but each client is not only different in their service or product, but in their business aims as well. I haven’t worked with any two clients that are the same so it’s really important that we run the workshops each time. For instance, recently for our work with Knauf and Karndean… even though they’re in similar industries, both of those clients went through the entire workshop process with us, because it was essential to achieving their very specific and individual goals.

Kris: What are some signifiers that might indicate a user belongs to a certain “type” or user group? It sounds like working with the kind of thing I do working with Digital Marketing audiences.

Ruth: Absolutely. But we have to get more granular and segment further to build a profile. One of the ways in which we profile somebody is to identify what kind of content they’re viewing on your website, so if a client doesn’t have any content that is geared to that profile, it is more difficult to segment them {as there is limited identifying factors}. So that’s why, as Alex said, no two clients are the same.

Kris: Can you describe how granular you might go?

Ruth: With Knauf, we had a profile which was “Business Type”, with sub-types under it. Things like Architects, Contractors, Sub-Contractors etc. We also had House Builders, Partners, and the End Consumer. Each piece of content on the website was tagged with one of those sub-types, so if somebody started to engage with a lot of those specific content tags, we can make the assumption that they are an Architect, and so on.

Alex: Those profiles are not absolute and can “bleed” into each other, like a Venn-diagram. Two users tagged as Architects can still be different. If one views high-value products and the other views low-value products, then they might be classified differently once more and be served differing content. Users often move between profiles, we shouldn’t think of them as hard and fast.

Ruth: This profiling and tagging vitally lets us identify the End Consumer or End User too, which is naturally very valuable to a client as they’re the ones who will ultimately make a purchase, whereas an Architect or Specifier might be undertaking some research to pass on.

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Kris: It’s so simple when you think about it. It just sounds like common sense.

Ruth: It is, but actually putting it into practice is not simple, and that’s why we need to spend so much time consulting, planning and implementing this strategy and framework. The advantage is of course that the business goals get achieved, and the client gets a clearer picture about who their audience is.

Alex: Sometimes that’s a big surprise to the client.



Kris: Has that happened?

Alex: A client getting a big surprise about who they thought their audience was?

Kris: Yeah.

Ruth: We always think we know who we’re speaking to but it’s not always the case. With Firstport, they came to us with the knowledge that they had a business split of 10% B2C, 90% B2B. But when we tagged up all their content, implemented their profiles and started tracking who their people were, we discovered it was actually 40/60, so all of a sudden content that was seen as only catering to a tenth of their audience was actually very valuable, and we could inject a lot more revenue into talking to that considerably underestimated audience to get the most out of them.

Kris: I imagine that’s changed the way they do business slightly.

Ruth: Indeed.

Kris: So, final question: Why do you think Personalisation works?

Alex: As a society we want things quickly, we’re quite impatient.

Ruth: Exactly. Personalisation is basically a way of giving that society the content they want to see, in a quicker way, without having to search for it. That’s why it typically brings in higher conversion rates and stronger customer loyalty and engagement. Customers reward clients who give them what they want. Personalisation means the customer gets it.

Interested in finding out more about how your business could benefit from personalisation? Email us at hello@sagittarius.agency

Kris Boorman

Digital Marketing Executive

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