Table of contents

Table of contents

Quick insight

If you don’t know your customers, you can’t give them what they want. Personalization helps you gain insights into their preferences and intent through data, so you can offer them tailored experiences.

Chapter 1

What personalization means today

Remember when seeing your name in an email subject line seemed like a revolutionary advancement in digital marketing? Today, personalization — offering customers tailored experiences that keep them engaged — requires a far more robust and strategic approach, and is essential to remaining competitive in a crowded and increasingly savvy marketplace.

Customers today are gravitating toward brands that feel like they listen to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific wants and needs. That’s where personalization comes in. It’s a way for brands to contextualize the messages, offers, and experiences they deliver, according to each visitor’s unique profile.

Think of it as an evolution from marketing communications to digital conversations, with data as the starting point. Collecting, analyzing, and effectively using information about consumer demographics, interests, and behaviors will help you create campaigns, content, and experiences that resonate with your target audience.

Chapter 2

Why does personalization matter?

Your customers expect it

The importance of personalization is easiest to grasp when you think of your own experience as a consumer. When you’re on a brand’s website, do you appreciate receiving personalized recommendations and offers? How about content that is relevant to you, or related to a product or service you’ve recently purchased? Like most consumers, maybe you’ve even come to expect it as an integral part of your online experience.

The digital age has elevated consumer expectations for relevant, contextual, and convenient experiences to unprecedented heights. Put plainly, consumers have become accustomed to getting what they want, and they’re gravitating toward the brands that recognize them as individuals at every step of their journey.

Meeting those expectations lands squarely on the shoulders of marketers, who must leverage intelligent personalization tactics if they hope to keep consumers engaged and coming back for more.

“91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.”

Accenture survey, 2018

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Personalization is good for business

If you’ve ever bought something on impulse (think 2-for-1 candy at the store checkout), you know that not every purchase decision is a rational one — our emotions play a big role, too.

Emotions are personal to us. And that personal connection is something that savvy brands are leveraging via contextual marketing to create relevancy, foster loyalty, and ultimately boost their bottom line.

Consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that know their name and purchase history, and then deliver relevant communications as a result. If you’re going to do that (which you should), you need an effective way to leverage consumer data to deliver content and experiences across all channels that feel timely, in-context, and personalized.

“48% of consumers have left a company’s website and made a purchase elsewhere. The only reason: the experience was poorly curated.”

Accenture survey, 2018

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Chapter 3

Where (and how) to start personalizing websites

Get up close and personal with your data

Personalization means using audience and data analytics to meet the individual needs of a consumer. Start by using your data to outline the details of who each of your customers is, what their intention is at any particular moment, and where, when, and how they’ve engaged with your brand previously.

Data is the key to knowing them intimately enough to then begin trying to meet their needs, and even predict what they might want at a particular touchpoint going forward.

So, you know you want to deliver personalized, contextual experiences to your customers, and that you need a 360-degree view of their interactions to get there — but how do you actually do it? A digital experience platform like Sitecore® Experience Platform can help. Its integrated database and machine learning mean that real-time, always-on personalization at scale is built in. You can also check out how Sitecore personalization bridges the gap 

Chapter 4

Keep it useful, not creepy

Customer expectations carry a lot of weight. People know what they want, and they expect to get it whenever they want and wherever they are. To meet those kinds of demands, brands must create intensely personal, precisely curated communications, offers, and experiences — yet at the same time, do it in a way that doesn’t feel overly invasive.

There are ways to show your audience that you’ve heard their needs and understand just what they’re looking for, without crossing the creep-line. For example, data might show you that a particular customer has a preference for gluten-free products. You can then leverage that insight in a way they might appreciate by personalizing your website content to recommend a recipe for a gluten-free pasta dish.

When reaching into a consumer’s personal space, more isn’t always better. Listen intently to what your customers are saying, then use appropriate tactics to offer them personalized experiences to match.