How to build a better brand experience with personalisation
By Lars Birkholm Petersen, Sitecore VP of Business Optimisation
Hi, my name is Lars Peterson. I’m VP of Business Optimisation at Sitecore. Today, I want to talk to you about personalisation and the importance of personalisation. Research has shown that organisations that are personalising their digital experience see a 19% increase in their key digital conversions. 19% It’s not just conversions that are increasing, but it’s also the brand experience. They are building better and more connected experiences for their customers. By building better and more connected experiences, they also engage them more. Let’s look at brand experience. Let’s look at digital marketing today. I’m a consumer, just as many of you are. I go into different products and services when I have a need...
My brand experience
Lately, with the new addition of a baby girl in the family, I had a need for a bigger car. I started with my favourite search engine looking for the best family cars. At the top of that list, there was digital marketing. There was pay-per-click. Different car manufacturers are paying to get me into their website. They also used my intent, my search keyword, as part of the ad. Family cars, best family cars, etc. The only problem is when I clicked on each of these links, came to the website and started navigating, it wasn’t really showing me any content related to my intent. It was showing me all the static content that they would show to all visitors coming to their website. It didn't show me anything about safety, size of the cars, happy families trying to use the car, or even stressed families trying to put two strollers into the car. So I quickly went back, clicked on the next one, clicked on the next one and eventually ended up further down the list to something that was much more relevant according to my intent. That’s an experience that you can probably relate to when you are searching for new products and services.
Another experience I have, I travel a lot. By travelling a lot, I’m a member of different hotel loyalty programmes. Lately, one of my favourite hotels sent me an email promotion for a trip to Japan. If I went to Japan, I would get more points with them. The problem here is that I have never been to Japan with them. In fact, if they look at my profile, they could have seen that my last seven stays were in the US. Three of them were in New York. It would have been much more relevant to offer me promotions and more points toward my next stay in New York. Or, even incentivise me to book in advance for my next New York travel.
From digital marketing to context marketing
That’s the state of affairs today regarding brands creating different experiences for their customers. We need to step away from that. You need to take the step from digital marketing to context marketing. That is much more relevant and much more connected to the intent of your customers.
The three pillars of context marketing
Context marketing has three pillars. The first pillar that is important for you is alignment. Alignment of the different digital objectives to the strategic objectives so that we can better show the cross-channel success that our executives care about. It’s also aligning whenever you do campaigning across different channels, email, social media and pay-per-click. Align those different campaigns so that the traffic you receive is also aligned with the messaging you are showing in the different touchpoints that your campaigns are touching on.
Second, you need to be able to collect data; not just the data from the different campaign activities, as an example, but also the other data: the data about the behaviour, what content is consumed, what digital conversions do they convert to, etc. and to be able to connect that as well into other repositories that can help you better understand the intent, i.e. more customer intelligence.
Third, you need to use all that data in real time to shape the experience across your different digital channels. That’s context marketing.
Context marketing requires data.
To get started with context marketing, data is your best friend. Look at the data. Look at what data you can collect. A lot of that data is free, and it’s the first trigger for optimisation.
Let’s take a look at what data you can use to optimise the experience. Essentially, when we start with personalisation, there are typically four different pockets of data that you can tap into.
Four types of data
- Traffic acquisition The first pocket of data is very easy. That’s traffic acquisition. That’s all the information you get about the customer when they arrive on your digital channel. For instance, if you are doing a lot of campaigning, a lot of different promotional activities asking visitors to come to your site, you can tap into them. You can tap into the message of those campaigns. For instance, as in my example, when I was looking for the best family car. That would have been a great opportunity for the car manufacturers to tap into and show me more content which was more relevant to my intent. More about safety More about space More pictures for that mood about buying a family car That’s the first pocket.
There’s also a great opportunity here if you’re sending a lot of emails. Let’s say that you are sending emails to existing customers. Every one of those customers opening that email, coming to your site, is an existing customer. Now you can treat them differently. Show them content that is relevant to that customer.
- Digital fingerprint The second pocket of data you can tap into is the digital fingerprint. That’s the anonymous data you receive. For example, here you find information about their geo-location and what device they are using. The device can help you understand if they are mobile. Are they using a desktop? But it could also be the device capabilities that you can use to optimise certain content that you would like to promote for the customers using those devices.
- Profile data The third bucket of data is the profile. That’s all the information that you have already collected from the previous visit from your customers. Here, you can tap into the content they consumed. What pages did they look at? Also, what goals did they convert to? You can use the goals as a trigger to advance them, based on their next visits.
- Site interaction The fourth bucket of data is the site interaction. What are your customers doing in real time now on your website? What are they looking at? Have they just signed up for the newsletter? Use that as a trigger point to advance the experience and show them the next content that is relevant according to all the customers who have signed up for the newsletters. That’s four different buckets of data that you can tap into to get started with personalisation.
Getting started with personalisation
In terms of getting started with personalisation, it’s always a great start to start at the top. What are your most important objectives? Let’s look at an example. Start with choosing the most important objectives. Of course, as you have created better alignment, then the objective is also something that your executive cares about. Now focus on all your different customers. What are some of the key segments there for which you will start personalising? It will not be one-to-one personalisation to begin with, but you will look at the different segments, trying to understand what is important for this segment and how can you better tailor the experience for them.
Then, how do you measure it? What are the key digital goals that you will use to measure success? Now, you understand the objectives, what you are focussing on, along with key segments that you are optimising for. Then try to understand, based on the segment, how they arrive on the website. Do they arrive from the campaigning you are doing? Do they arrive from emails? Do they come in organically, direct and start consuming content that can help you identify their intent? This is why you tap into the four different buckets of data.
You also want to understand their journeys, not just the landing page. What journeys are they taking on the website? What are the key impact pages that most persons from that segment will see? That’s your opportunity to optimise the experience for them. Then, you want to use data. What information do you already have about them? What do you understand about them? Are they spontaneous? Are they methodical? That will be two very different experiences that you will show for those different segments.
Then, it’s a matter of understanding the different components we have on the key pages. For instance, for this segment, if they come to your home page, then on the home page you have a hero. That hero component would be a great spot for personalising. For that hero spot, it’s about applying the right logic, showing the right content that is engaging and relevant according to that segment. That’s essentially how you get started with personalisation.
There are definitely some quick wins: follow the money. For instance, if you are doing a lot of campaigning, market activities to attract visitors to different digital channels. Tap into those. What are the promises of the campaigns? Are you promoting a certain product, a certain service? Use that to show content that is relevant according to the intent of all customers coming from those campaigns.
You could also be tapping into your different goals on the site. Use the newsletter, the form fill out, to show the next content that is more relevant. Then of course, there is geo-location. If you are dealing with customers in different locations, focus on what those locations are. What is the content that will be more relevant according to where they are?
Those are some of the quick wins that are easy to use and will help you increase the brand experience and also the digital conversions.
I hope you found this useful. If you have any comments, feel free to reach out and thanks so much for watching.