Information overload has made consumers relentless: if your content is not relevant, it is noise and people lose interest. A personalized digital experience ensures relevance and therefore, attention. Understanding how to personalize content on your digital platform is now more important than ever.

If your content is not relevant, it is noise and people lose interest.

The Importance of Personalized Marketing

Every day we are exposed to thousands of media messages. Add to that the two-plus hours of time spent on social media, as calculated by the Global Web Index, and you will understand that today’s marketers are hard pressed to reach their audiences. In fact, consumers nowadays make their decisions and shape their preferences in mere micro-moments.

These intent-driven moments, combined with increasingly high customer service expectations, force companies to help them simplify matters.

Look at it from their perspective: consumers have moved from walking among 100,000 products in a 50,000 square foot store to having access to more than 10 million products on a 4-inch screen, as can be read in our Personalization Pulse Check. If we expose them to too many options, customers will likely make poorer decisions, leaving them less satisfied. Did you know that almost 74 percent of online consumers are frustrated by the irrelevant content they are exposed to on websites? Up to 40 percent of them will go so far as to leaving your digital platform altogether. And 61 percent of customers stopped doing business with at least one company last year because of poor customer experience. 

On the other hand, if you personalize the digital experience, up to 65 percent of your visitors will be inclined to make a purchase. It is, therefore, safe to say that personalization is vital if you wish to keep your customers engaged.

To watch this video you need to accept marketing cookies

Which Types of Digital Marketing Personalization Are There?

So how do you personalize your visitors’ digital experience? Before we answer that question, let’s look at the four types of digital marketing personalization.

User-triggered Personalization

In this first, most basic form of digital marketing personalization, the digital platform responds to actions taken by your visitor. If, for example, someone is a new visitor to the website, he will be invited to subscribe to your email newsletter. Once he has, he will not be shown that message again.

Behavioral and Contextual Personalization

In this second personalization type, your visitor is offered content based on his clickstream data (behavioral personalization), or the time or location at which he visits your platform (contextual personalization). For instance, if someone has read an article about Norway, they are then offered information about travel packages to this country.

Both of these types of personalization are rule-based: segments are created and content is shown based on previously set rules. As these rules are relatively easy to implement, they are excellent first steps in offering personalized content. However, there are two important disadvantages.

Image: Digital Marketing Personalization Disadvantage

First of all, as all segments and corresponding rules are created manually, these forms of personalized marketing are highly laborious and time-consuming.

Secondly, you are not really personalizing yet. Rather, you are segmenting. After all, you might have created a segment of all people interested in Norway, but some of them would like to go hiking, while others prefer to make a round trip. What we are saying is that interests may vary widely within one segment. User-triggered, behavioral and contextual personalization do not cater to these individual differences.

In order to further increase the relevance of your customers’ digital experience, you might want to choose either of the following types of personalization:

Data-driven Personalization

Linking CRM-systems or Data Management Platforms to your digital management platform will result in an ability to make more relevant offers. An example is a product suggestion based on previous purchases.

Although you are now indeed personalizing the digital experience of your customers, data-driven marketing still requires a lot of manual work. When, over time, your platform grows and the amount of data increases, the complexity of manual management will increase exponentially.

Have you reached this level of digital marketing personalization? Are the numbers of visitors to your website such that you can collect a substantial amount of data?

Then you might want to consider AI-powered marketing or machine-learning personalization.

Machine-learning Digital Marketing Personalization

This highly advanced technology uses self-learning algorithms to continuously make optimizations. As more data is collected, the size of the segments will decrease, allowing for true personalization on an individual level. A level that can never be reached manually.

How to Start the Personalization Process?

So far, we have discussed the various technological possibilities surrounding the personalization of your marketing efforts. And you are right to conclude that the segmentation options are seemingly endless. So where do you start?

The Customer Engagement Pyramid

To avoid becoming trapped in the countless possibilities, we recommend that you:

  • Identify your visitors.
  • Identify their goals.
  • Determine the value of these goals.
  • Set KPIs (and measure!).

Using this approach, you can define the most valuable scenarios, and based on these scenarios the personalization rules are created. For example, a scenario may be that watching a video or reading an article about a certain topic has a 5-point value. A subsequent rule may be that once someone has reached 50 points by engaging in various types of content, a specific offer will be shown.

Most of today’s digital engagement platforms offer some form of built-in personalization, aimed at marketers to support them in creating rules, tagging content and measuring data. IT involvement should be minimal, allowing for fast evaluation and optimization.

We strongly encourage you to create a personalization scenario for your organization. For as we have shown, tracking data like this will increase insight into the customer journey and will enable you to improve the relevance of the content you offer your visitors. As a result, your visitor, intent on shaping his preference or making a decision during a short micro-moment, will accept your invitation for engagement and indulge in the relevant services you offer.

Want to know more about the future of commerce? Learn how blockchain will offer great opportunities in e-commerce.