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Kickstart Your Personalization Plan with a Digital Strategy Workshop

Last winter when we committed to revamping our personalization strategy on the Acquia Developer Center site, dev.acquia.com, we asked the Lift product team if we could be treated like an Acquia customer from start to finish. One of our key product offerings is Acquia Lift, a product built for website personalization. When someone purchases Lift they have the option to purchase a Professional Services workshop to guide their implementation and focus on their personalization strategy, and we wanted to go through that process ourselves on one of our digital properties. This idea worked well for my team who got to participate in an active workshop, and the Lift team was able to use the experience as a training exercise for on-boarding new employees.

What is an Acquia Lift Workshop?
The Acquia Professional Services team helps to build the foundation for our customers’ personalization strategy by using a workshop format. We use the workshop to define the customer’s business objectives, create customer profiles and personas that shape how Lift is configured, identify key tactics, and set milestones on an execution roadmap. This workshop generally takes place during a planning phase, which for new site builds can happen during the design and development process. The workshop is delivered by a Strategy Consultant and a Technical Consultant over (5) consecutive days: four (4) continuous days on site and one (1) remote.

What’s Included in a Workshop?

  • Review of all historical data
  • Development of an overall personalization strategy
  • Development of Lift personas and segments, creation of a consolidated customer profile
  • Exploration and definition of personalization tactics to run within a pilot campaign
  • Alignment of a technical roadmap to business objectives

What happens before the workshop?
Before our workshop began, we needed to give the Lift team access to our Google Analytics account so they could create benchmarks and get a feel for our historical data. We also needed to determine who on our team would attend the workshop. We wanted our key stakeholders to be present, along with the members of our team who would be using Lift on a daily basis.

What happens during the workshop:
The workshop started by really stepping away from the project at hand, and creating a theoretical situation to work with. We started by mapping out what our ideal hotel experience would look like from booking to checking in. This got us thinking about the experience and focusing on the important pieces of that journey. We were also asked to draw out our experience instead of just voicing it, so that we’d have to move outside of our comfort zone and really think differently. It was a great exercise and a fun way to start off the workshop. Then we took what we learned from our hotel booking journey and started applying it to our current website. We thought about what goals we’d want our users to achieve, and then considered step by step how they would get there. This experience was pretty eye opening because we found lots of gaps in our flow. We were ignoring the ease of use and expecting our users to figure it out. We were so close to the experience from working with it on a daily basis that we didn’t even realize where we were failing.

Once those gaps were identified, we started defining what we really wanted to happen and the steps we might take to get there. Honestly this is where the meat and potatoes was for me in the workshop. In defining the journeys we wanted our users to take, we identified most of the personalization strategies we have put into place. This also identified large areas of our site that we needed to fix and update. I love when the rubber meets the road!

The next big focus was building our unified customer profile. This is always an important step, because the more you know about your visitors’ browsing experience, the smarter you can be in delivering that experience. Step one was collecting the data and making sure we collecting it from every possible touch point in the full customer journey, and not just the one website we were looking at currently. We were focusing on dev.acquia.com, but also needed to consider that the user may have come from acquia.com, or may have been going to other properties such as docs.acquia.com or insight.acquia.com.

Once we had our customer profiles, we started building and segmenting our audiences. We spent a lot of time defining our audiences. Dev.acquia.com dives deep into the developer audience, so we started tagging all content by roles such as back-end developer or front-end developer. That way we could build audiences around those groups of users. Then for each role, we were able to build out a larger content strategy.

Last but not least we needed to define our success metrics. What were the goals that would make us feel like our personalization strategy was successful? We defined these for dev.acquia.com as being:

  • Grow our known user in Lift
  • Increase webinar registrations
  • Increase free tools usage
  • Increase loyalty through increased page views

What happens next?
At the end of the workshop you receive a well crafted report of everything that was discussed during the session. For me, this acted as a to-do list. We found a bunch of gaps in our user flows that we needed technically fixed before we started personalizing. We created tickets for those and assigned them out. Next we continued to work with the Lift Ready team to start setting up some of our first personalizations. We created our audience segments during the workshop, and for the Acquia Developer Center website it was based on tagged topics and tagged content personas. We started by attacking our homepage and personalizing the left hand rail by audience. We also identified a drop off in our traffic on our blog landing pages, so it was recommended that we add in content recommendations based on topic to the right sidebar within our blogs. Then we waited and watched the data come in. Internally our next step was to continue this process on our main website acquia.com, and to connect the user profiles to build one unified view of our users. This step is an ongoing project and something that we’ll continue to watch and iterate on regularly.

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