What is Personalisation and Why You Should Care? .

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Simply: What is Personalisation?

Personalisation is a tool that most marketers aspire to deliver, but research shows that very few actually do. With 38% more companies planning to increase investments in personalisation in the next 12-18 months, we look at how you can keep up with the latest digital trend.

Personalisation lets you keep up with evolving customer demands delivering targeted content in real time and then making contextual decisions based on results that you trust.

It is essentially the method for displaying targeted, relevant content to your sites visitors based on their characteristics and behaviour, such as location, goals triggered, or previous visits. With personalisation, you can ensure that the right content reaches the right contacts, for example, by showing, hiding, or adjusting content.

In Content: What should this look like?

It’s about the small changes, let’s take a look at the below example - an online clothes shop delivery both clothing for men and women.

  1. Visit 1 - The user is asked to Log In or Register or directed to either Women’s or Men’s clothing.
  2. Visit 2 - The user has now identified themselves as a female, so you can deliver targeted content
  3. . Visit 3 - The aim is to get a user to sign up, therefore we can personalise cross device. Top Tip - Push users to register or sign in with Social Connect. You are much more likely to update your Social profile with new names and statuses!
  4. Visit 4 - Personalising the experience for the user with the location and weather as well pairing this with their interest in female clothes.
  5. Visit 5 - The user has added an item to their basket, so you can now offer discounts to encourage them to convert.

As you can see, personalisation should not be anything drastic (like a navigation change) but small content changes to help push users through the funnel to get them to convert.

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Let’s not forget: Personalisation is everywhere

The importance of personalisation throughout the customer journey isn’t a new idea.

In 1993, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers published a book called The One to One Future, with a clear call to marketers to embrace personalisation.

What’s changed since 1993 is that companies are now digitally turning that theory into reality. We are moving in a direction where personalisation is accepted and understood and with technology like Sitecore it has made it so much simpler to deliver.

We need to remember that Personalisation is everywhere, and it’s not something to be scared of. Let’s take a look:

Google

When searching on Google for ‘Restaurants near you’ it will pick restaurants based on your search history. Serving you more relevant and targeted information.

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Apple Music

Apple Music works out the ‘type’ and ‘genre’ of music you like to come up with suggestions. In addition this is personalised further by day of the week and time of day.

Apple-music-iMac

Amazon

We have all heard the expression that we have never seen the real Amazon because there are so many A/B tests going on. This is an example of the difference you can experience from an anonymous and logged in user. By identifying your customer you can server relevant and targeted content to help the user convert - shortening the purchase funnel.

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In practice: How does it work?

The challenge is orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated and consistent.

Real time is the only time that counts and to stay relevant you must stay ahead. It is any marketer's challenge to provide relevant information at the right time, in the right place to the right person.

‘Context Marketing’ is an approach that delivers measurable, relevant experiences that improve performance, build loyalty, and drive real results across each of your customer engagement channels. It empowers businesses to know every customer and shape their experiences in real time and at scale.

The ability to deliver tailored content wherever your customer may be, on whatever device, in an automatic way so that certain pre-defined audience actions automatically trigger the delivery of the content.

Implicit and Explicit measurement and personalisation

With Sitecore we can personalise based on implicit and explicit behaviour.

Explicit Behaviour

Explicit user behaviour is where a user identifies what their interests are by downloading a data sheet, searching on a keyword or voting in a poll. It might also be what device they are on, the goals they have achieved or their locations.

Implicit Behaviour

Implicit user behaviour is where we deduce what users want by tracking which pages they’re viewing, what links they’re clicking and what path they’re following on the site and mapped against their digital maturity.

Assessing where you are: What is your Digital Maturity

As your organisation evolves to higher levels in the Maturity Model, the strategic value of your marketing increases. Understanding your sectors digital maturity is key to helping you bench mark where you should be, and how much effort it will take to really stand out from the crowd and shine away from your competition.

Top Tip

Sitecore provide an online tool to help you work out your digital maturity, this assessment can be taken at ‘www.connecttheexperience.com’. This gives you an idea of how to build the people, processes, and technology you need for digital marketing success.

So Why BOTHER?

I don’t think you are reading this blog to be convinced by personalisation. But perhaps you need to understand why should you go to the effort? It’s simple really:

  • Better Return on Investment - Make the most of a premium product (Sitecore)
  • More meaningful engagement - Personalisation has moved away from ‘Hello Ruth’ in an email. It is about segmenting the audience to help them find what they are looking for quicker and easier.
  • Stronger relationships with your customers - How do you get customers to return? The more you are engagement the more revenue you are likely to make.
  • Improve Conversion Rate - With personalisation we often see an average uplift on Conversions of around of 19%, however with Sitecore we often see more than this.

Want to know more?

Check out my latest Sitecore webinar on the Path to Personalisation below or give me a call on 01233 467800 or email ruth@sagittarius.agency, Id love to hear from you!

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
sag-author100x100

Sagittarius

19 Jun 2017 - 8 minute read
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