Customer experience is in flux, and every industry now faces the pressure to evolve to meet a new, unfamiliar digital order if they are going to survive. Above all else, organizations need to adapt fast and adapt frequently to come out ahead. To get more insight into how brands can keep up with customer expectations, we recently spoke with Jordan Hirsch, Director of Innovation at Phase2, on how to embrace a culture of experimentation.
“Understanding customer experience begins with an experimentation mindset, and a willingness to be proven wrong,” said Jordan. Marketers are facing enormous pressure to ramp up their personalization efforts, but at the same time, they feel paralyzed by a lack of resources needed to implement complex personalization at scale. The key is to start small. Build your personalization program from the data and segments you have available and continuously test each effort over time.
Defining a Hypothesis
As part of Acquia’s Lift Solutions Partner Program, Phase2 has worked with many clients to help shape, define, and execute their own personalization goals. While Lift’s powerful and intuitive approach to personalizing content for users is simple to use, Phase2 first needed to work alongside clients to help them establish a purpose-driven approach to the technology. “Implementing Lift and starting to personalize is the easy part, but what businesses needed help with was establishing the foundational strategy of what they wanted to achieve with the tools, and then setting clear metrics by which to measure their success,” said Jordan.
Anyone can begin their personalization path by starting with the data they have available. From your customer data, you can identify patterns of behavior and develop a hypothesis. For example, when designing a personalization program for a large healthcare nonprofit, Jordan and his team worked with the client to observe how personalized web experiences influenced donor revenue. They approached their hypothesis by observing which of the nonprofit’s channels currently received the most audience engagement and narrowed their focus to a few key metrics, such as time on site and email newsletter signups.
Starting with basic metrics such as geolocation or device type allows brands to test their methods before devoting more time and resources to complex personalization tactics. When starting out, Jordan also recommends brands focus on bottom-of-the-funnel behaviors that directly influence conversions. Being able to demonstrate a few “quick wins” for personalization efforts that directly correlate to revenue helps to build momentum for your program and earns the support of other organizational stakeholders.
Achieving Results through Continuous Experimentation
Optimizing your organization’s approach doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the brands that invest in regularly testing and conducting multiple iterations of their personalization hypothesis that will discover insightful solutions. In the case of the healthcare nonprofit, Phase2 helped design an A/B test where they deployed both a standard newsletter signup message and a message with a personalized CTA. The test targeted states with the most active donors and found that when people were exposed to the personalized CTA, both clickthrough rates and donation revenue improved.