Last week, Jonathan Tam, Senior Research Director of Demand Creation Strategies at SiriusDecisions, presented a webinar with T.J. Prebil, Director of Product Marketing at Evergage, entitled “State of the Market for B2B Personalization.” In the webinar, Jonathan and T.J. shared research on personalization trends and offered examples of B2B personalization campaigns.
In this blog post, I want to dive into the personalization deployment method that Jonathan shared. To effectively deploy personalization, SiriusDecisions advises you to have the right strategy, the right design, the right delivery, and the right return. Let’s get into the details.
The first step, according to SiriusDecisions, is to define the right strategy. As part of this step, you’ll want to set your goals and define your audiences. While it is completely possible to get started with personalization without a fully formed plan, the best customer experiences are delivered when a company has a complete understanding of what it is trying to do and who it is trying to reach.
Ask yourself some questions to get started. What challenges is your organization facing? Who are your audiences? What are their goals? What channels do they engage with you in? Thinking through these areas in advance will set you up for success in the long run and guide you when you begin identifying and prioritizing specific campaigns. Check out our eBook, The Ultimate Personalization Planning Guide, for some guidance in planning your strategy.
Next, SiriusDecisions recommends you consider the right design — particularly when it comes to what data you will use to get to know your prospects and customers and the content you will deliver to them.
Data is a critical foundational component of any personalization strategy. Without a complete understanding of the individual person that is interacting with you, any experience you hope to tailor to her won’t actually be relevant (and if the experience isn’t relevant, is it truly personalized? Of course not). Consider what data sources you have available, such as behavioral data from different channels, attribute data collected from an IP address lookup (such as the person’s geolocation, company or industry) or from external data sources (such as a CRM), or even through surveys and forms.
Then you need to think about the content you already have available and what you may need to create. A marketing team with a robust content marketing strategy will generally already have content developed specifically for different industry targets, use cases, and stages of the funnel. Those teams can use personalization to bring that existing content to the foreground so the right people see it. Personalization can also be used to deliver relevant homepage experiences to different groups of people, modify CTAs based on actions each visitor has already been taken, promote different events to visitors based on their locations — and much more. Those types of messages and experiences will need to be developed, so it’s important to plan for that.
In this stage, you want to make sure you have the right delivery method for your personalization campaign. SiriusDecisions breaks down this category into the mechanism for personalization (the tools you use), the rules you define to target each experience, and the timing of your campaigns. I agree that all of this is very important (I won’t get into how to select a personalization platform here, but this blog post covers the main areas you should look for in personalization technology), but I would also add algorithms to this mix.
There are two ways you can deliver a personalized experience to someone: rules that deliver experiences to groups of people or machine-learning algorithms that select the best experience for each individual. They each have their place in a personalization program, and so at this stage it’s important to define both your rules and algorithms as you identify and prioritize your campaigns. Read this eBook for more detail on the strengths and ideal use cases for each approach.
Finally, you need to consider your reporting and measurement efforts. How do you plan to measure your personalization campaigns? How will you know if you’ve been successful? It can be easy for initiatives to fall by the wayside if you can’t prove that they are having an impact on your business.
At Evergage, we always suggest that you compare the impact of every personalized experience against a control experience (in other words, a generic or unpersonalized experience). That way, you can statistically determine whether the campaign had a positive, negative, or neutral effect on your business. Without a control, you won’t know for sure if any change was due to external factors, seasonality, or any other reason aside from the campaign itself.
We also suggest comparing each campaign against multiple metrics. With any campaign, you will likely have a specific metric or two in mind that you would like to improve. But a campaign could positively affect one metric while negatively affecting another — so it’s important to keep an eye on the whole picture. For example, an email capture campaign could gather hundreds of extra email addresses while dramatically increasing the bounce rate for a site. You have to consider all of this information to determine whether such campaigns were successes or failures.
SiriusDecisions has developed a practical deployment method in its right strategy, right design, right delivery, and right return framework. But that’s just one aspect of the insights and advice that Jonathan shared in last week’s webinar. Check out the full webinar replay for more.