Personalisation: Defining The First Journey

Five steps to make it easier to create the first journey: from setting your goal, to analysing data, to creating engaging content.

Personalisation: Defining The First Journey

Even when companies recognise the significant commitment behind the decision to “do personalisation,” establishing the starting point for the journey is not as easy as it seems, not least because of the vast number of Web pages and the potential the strategy holds. So when you have 5,000 Web pages and 1 million visitors, where do you begin?

In this article, I will concentrate on how to define the first steps of a journey into personalisation, looking at an approach to deciding what to say, where, and to whom, following my previous article. Before I do, it’s important to understand that the creation of a personalised experience is not complex. It is only complex when done at scale, where there are multiple consumers, products, content, and channels. But if you can isolate each individual element, you will take away a lot of the complexity.

Getting the first personalisation journey right will be simpler and less complex if you constrain it. The following five-step process will help you quickly identify what your first journey should look like. This is a process that should only take three to five days, and even less if the data is readily available and you already have buy-in.

Step 1: Set Your Goal

What are you trying to achieve? This might be any number of goals, from responding to repeat customer behaviour, the acquisition of new consumers, growth of existing consumers, or an increase in the business’s overall consumer satisfaction score. Whatever the goal, be single-minded about the objective. Adding more than one goal means focus will be lost and outcomes become difficult to identify and understand. If the personalised journey fails to achieve your goal, be ready to adapt and change the rules and content.

Step 2: Data Defines The Impact

By taking a close look at the available data, whether that’s email engagement, website visits, transactional history, or social conversations, you will be able to identify the opportunities that will allow you to engage your audience and the size of that audience. For example, if you only have 10 website visitors performing a particular action (related to sales) on a specific source of traffic on a specific device, then you have narrowed the criteria too much. Broaden the scope to ensure there is a good chance of making an impact with your personalisation activity. Creating a personalised journey for 10 visitors on a website which attracts 100,000 visitors is not giving the personalised journey a fair chance.

Step 3: Consumer Feedback Determines The Need

Looking only at the data isn’t the answer. It gives you scope, but you have to understand the needs of the consumer. Surveys, social media, or looking at what consumers are searching for will help shape the content in step five. Look at the needs of the consumer in context of the goal and the journey identified in step two to work out how to address their needs.

Step 4: Little And Often

This is possible the most challenging step. There is a need to make a big enough impact, but not too big it will never get delivered. Assuming you can deliver these changes every two weeks, then you will need to descope the journey to meet this requirement. For example, creating a personalised website landing page is achievable but delivering forms automatically filled in for consumers might be a stretch too far. This will depend on how quickly your organisation can move, the people, the technology to execute, and the focus available to make personalisation work.

Step 5: Engagement + Relevance = Goal

Once you have determined the scope, you will need to create engaging content. Sometimes this is overlooked, but this is our safeguard against doing things that will frustrate your audience. What does this mean in this context? First, you need to decide what you will offer the audience you have identified, and ensure it is relevant. Offering customers a product they have just purchased fails to engage in the right way. Second, remember to test and learn with different content to determine which will be most engaging. This could be changes to format but also the location of the content.

Ultimately, you are creating a personalised experience. You want to grab the consumer’s attention not just with a relevant piece of information but with something they are going to engage with. Identifying the first journey doesn’t need to be as complex as it could be. Using this process, you can easily go out there and create your first journey, as long as it is simple enough to deliver, but big enough that it is going to have an impact.