How to Find Specifiers & End Users using Personalisation.

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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.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
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Sagittarius

09 Nov 2017 - 7 minute read
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