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by John Carione
Personalization on the web isn’t a new topic, but most of the early advancements and adoption has come from the B2C space. This highlights the concept called, “The Consumerization of IT,” that has been gaining traction over the last few years. With that, there has been growing interest in personalized digital experiences in the B2B space as well.
When you go to Amazon.com or a handful of other B2C retailers today, you are getting a personalized experience. There are a lot of tools out there today, but what many don’t understand is that Drupal has the ability to do advanced personalization as well. Personalization on the web can be split into a number of different categories.
In the days before digital, marketing used a blunderbuss approach, and therefore often missed the mark. A campaign was created and sent out to the world to consume, whether that was print direct marketing or even email. With the onslaught of increasingly fickle consumers and hyper competition, the one size fits all approach no longer works. What is required today is a the right message, to the right customer (segment), at the right time (context). There are a number of tools required working in concert to make this happen, some more automated, and some more manual.
Lets take a look at a few of the more popular types of tools in use today:
1) Testing: Before you begin your personalization effort, it’s important to test elements on your page to understand which ones are performing well and which ones aren’t. Testing tools such as Visual Website Optimizer allow you to run these tests with ease whether it’s messaging, banner ads, forms, videos, images etc. There are two main ways to test content, messaging, or offers. One is called A/B testing which allows you to test 2 or more elements by swapping them out to see which test is more successful. You can even test two different designs or layouts for a microsite campaign or product launch. Examples might be two advertising images, two different videos, headline messaging, promotional offers, or even two different forms to fill out. Multi-variate testing (MVT) is even more advanced and offers multiple elements on a page to try to understand which permutations or combinations of different elements offer the best result.
2) User Profiling: Create extensible customer profiles that include offline data, such as product holdings, credit score, time on file, and nonpersonally identifiable information. Import external customer profiles in real time for heightened relevance. Automatically direct site traffic in response to visitor behavior, factoring in variables such as time of day, email communications, or product promotions. Also conntect to BI tools, data warehouses and other 3rd party systems like CRM and marketing automation. Specific actions taken during a visit uncluding click history or frequency and monetary value of previous purchases.
3) Segmentation: Segmentation is the art of grouping together customers who have similar tendencies, interesting, and purchasing habits. Segmentation can delivered out of the box, detected automatically using machine learning or can be created and refined manually. Segments can come from information collected such as demographics and weather, or proprietary data such as customer IDs, geo-location, or product reviews.
For example, select visitors who previously purchased within the past 60 days, over $50, and and name them "High-Value Customers" for future campaigns.
4) Targeting: Targeting is the ability to take a piece of content and map it to the right user or segment. Content targeting can also be predictive (automated), or manual using a rules engine. For manual, digital marketers can create rules that expose particular pieces of content within a particular users context (who are they, what are their interests, what have they purchased). Automated or predictive targeting can be combined with testing so that it’s easier to test content on different offers and mine data from visitors behavior (demographics, click through, weather, location, referring site, big data etc) to identify the best targeting opportunities by segment and apply variations.
Using any one of these capabilities on it’s own as a digital marketing tool can be effective, but using them all in concert can be transformational for your business. Read part 2 of this personalization series, where we discuss Simple Taxonomy Based Personalization in Drupal.
Be sure to Register for the Webinar, How to Personalize Content to Drive Customer Action, Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 1 PM EDT.