Personalization Strategy: Achieving Personalization at Scale

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A personalization strategy is not just using personalization. To have a real strategy, you need to think about how personalizations relate to each other and drive towards an end goal. For marketers, this often means using personalization to drive engagement and move prospects down the funnel to an eventual sale. Creating a strategy for your personalization efforts is a no brainer. The real strategic challenge is providing effective personalization that drives engagement and revenue at scale. It’s such a challenge that 63% of digital marketers report that they struggle with personalization (Gartner). In this post, I’ll walk you through how to achieve meaningful personalization at scale.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

How do we Define Personalization?

Personalization is the practice of tailoring messaging to your audience. Rather than sending the same email or using the same website copy for each recipient/visitor, information about the prospect is used to deliver a more targeted message.

Why a Personalization Strategy is Important For Your Organization

Having a personalization strategy is important because it drives engagement and in turn, sales. “Batch and blast” is a thing of the past that modern customers will not tolerate. Your competitors are providing digital experiences that are tailored to each person that engage with their brand. If you do not implement personalization in a meaningful way, you’ll be left in the dust. This is particularly threatening to large companies. The technology changes needed for a unified and personalized experience can be far reaching and require large organizational changes. Never forget that you’re competing against companies with transformational leaders who will do whatever it takes to keep up, and agile startups that are building from scratch with the best tools available.

Planning a Personalization Strategy

You know you need a personalization strategy for your company to succeed — but where to begin? Whether you're a large company with a large customer base just starting personalization efforts or a growing company that needs to scale up your efforts, the foundational planning is the same. The first step for both cases is to evaluate your current tech stack.

Take a hard look at your stack and make sure you have the tools you need to 1) house customer data and 2) serve dynamic personalization. Tools and technology have become a marketer’s best friend. Thanks to martech tools like Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) , marketers can deliver sophisticated personalization across customer touchpoints. Unlike a traditional CMS, a DXP provides marketers with a fully-integrated Customer Data Platform (CDP) to deliver dynamic personalized content in real time.

Why Data is so Important

Data, specifically customer data, is the fuel for personalization. Without it, there’s no way to deliver personalized experiences. With it, your personalization is only as good as your data. If customer data is not up-to-date, then your personalization efforts are going to waste.

Clean data is essential for personalization and this is even more apparent when your personalization is being done at scale. When you have a large audience, engaging on various touchpoints (website, email, portal, telephone), broken into many segments, the back-end systems required to deliver the personalized content become more complex. Incorrect data or disparate back-end systems can cause the entire user experience to crumble.

optimal personalization starts with good customer data

Segmenting Audiences & User Personas

Not only do you need a way to store the data, you need a way to act on it. The personalization engine within CDPs and DXPs enable marketers to do just that. The data stored in individual customer profiles can be used to create audience segments and deliver content based on user personas. A great example of this is creating segments by title level. For example, the value proposition you want to bring to a CMO is different from the value prop you would propose to an email developer, though they both are in Marketing.

The Content Creation Process

Each of your audience segments should be mapped to well articulated value propositions and pain points. A solid high-level messaging plan will help writers create highly-relevant copy.

When planning where to focus personalized content creation efforts, look for touchpoints with high potential impact, such as your homepage or product pages. Also consider what stage of the funnel this content is related to. Since TOFU content is hitting a larger audience than MOFU or BOFU content, it could make sense to focus here when starting to create personalized content. What these high potential touchpoints are will change from business to business.

Delivering Your Message

With the right customer data and targeted content in hand, delivery becomes the name of the game. As I mentioned before, your tech stack needs to enable not only the collection of customer data, but the personalization engine to put it into action. When planning personalization content delivery, think about what touch points you want to personalize and the mechanisms you will use to deliver it: audience segment membership, past engagements, preferred language, the engagement channel.

Download the infographic for a visual guide to achieving personalization at scale.

Kaeli O'Connell
Kaeli O'Connell

Digital expert by day, jigsaw puzzle aficionado by night.