As a marketer, I’m sure you know by now that you’re not going to get very far with a one-size-fits-all approach. Sure, you have a target audience in mind, but are you really in tune with their needs? Your customers may be in the market for what you’re offering, but you have to find and talk to them in different ways. That’s where personalization comes in.
But how do you get started?
In a study by Adobe Marketing Optimization, 97% of marketing and customer insights decision-makers prioritized personalization as the most important capability to their company’s marketing moving forward. These numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise – the ROI is astounding. When you focus on providing personalized content to your target audience and have the proper digital analytics in place, you can expect to see increased conversions, better qualified leads, and increased loyalty.
Setting the Foundation for a Personalization Strategy
There are three pieces of the personalization pie that you need to get a handle on before you reap the benefits: personas, journeys, and goals.
Personas are multidimensional representations of real users or customers. They help you focus on understanding the behaviors, preferences, and needs of key target customers. When creating personas, you’re concerned with documenting what you know about your users, such as:
- Demographics: What are the demographic characteristics (age, gender, education level, occupation, income level, or marital status) of this persona?
- Values and Engagement Style: What does this person value? How does he or she make decisions?
- Experience and Content Preferences: How does this person like to interact with your organization and with others? Does he or she prefer to engage with specific content or in a specific way?
- Key Goals and Considerations: What does this person have to do, need to do, and want to do?
If your organization doesn’t have personas, get your team involved in a brainstorming session to surface answers to the criteria above. Think about it as an agile, lean approach to gathering information about your customers. Then, talk to your users and gather analytics data to test your hypotheses.
Journeys are mindset touch points a single persona will move through during the course of their relationship with your company. They help you determine where your customer is in the journey and what their needs and interests are. Journey maps result in stronger conversations and decision making.
Let’s use an example of a person who moves through four stages:
At each stage in his or her journey, there will be key objectives, events that trigger the interaction, desired content or functionality, and channel preferences. You can see how the differences in mindset require different experiences, even from the same persona.
This exercise helps you identify the variety of engagement styles, content, and channels that are most likely to move your customers through the journey to greater engagement with your brand. It also adds dimension to your personas.
Learn more about your brand
Gather information to evaluate whether or not your brand will be helpful to me and my specific context
Introductory material on products and services, about us
Competitive comparison guides, product details
Web desktop, social media, face-to-face sales conversation
What specific action do you want the persona to do next? These are your business goals. Let’s refer back to journey mapping. In the Awareness stage, you might want your customer to become educated and be able to relate to your brand. Your goal is to get them to contact you directly to begin the sales process.
With a better understanding of your personas, journeys, and goals, you are able to translate personalization efforts into simple, clear tests.