How to Execute a Personalization Strategy

There’s no official guidebook or roadmap for kicking off a personalization strategy at scale. Every organization is different, with varying goals and data. That’s where the foundation of your personalization and marketing should stand: Consider what you need to do and why you need to do it.

It’s also important that you have allocated resources to implement your personalization plan. The right team in place, the right tools, and the commitment to figuring out the best workstream for successfully implementing effective personalization

The bottom line is this: It takes a village, it takes experimentation, and it takes time. 

Pick a goal and the campaign to match 

Choose one goal or two you want to address with your personalization, not a long to-do list, like growing your loyalty program, dramatically reducing churn, etc. And then identify the personalization campaign you can implement for that goal.

For example: 

Goal: Increase revenue from upselling to your current customers

Campaign 1: Set a purchase total for free shipping and make consistently effective product suggestions so your customer buy additional products and qualify for free shipping

Campaign 2: Sending 3+1 offers to your heavy users. You and your team can brainstorm about your goals and the most effective way to do this, according to the data you have and your customers’ needs and preferences. But the goal here is to upsell while enticing customers with the appeal of a “freebie.”

Set a hierarchy on your campaigns

This is an important part of your strategy. Now that you know your goals, which one do you need to accomplish first? Perhaps addressing one positively affects the way you implement additional campaigns? For example, higher engagement means more data, which you can use to create effective messaging for future campaigns. 

Arrange your goals from highest impact to lowest, and highest difficulty to lowest. Sometimes high impact goals can have low difficulty, which is why it can be a good idea to prioritize based on these chronologies. This can also show you more clearly which high difficulty but low impact campaigns may need to be put on hold or eliminated. 

Consistently examine your goals and their importance to the big picture. Personalization can help you, but it it will only be effective when you’ve identified the best use. This also give you and your team a clear focus, which also allows us to function at our best.

Set things up for your chosen goals and strategies

Now that you have your goals and prioritized campaigns, you and your team can launch using your tools and personalization platforms. 

With artificial intelligence data and algorithms, campaign setup can be simplified and scalable. Today’s personalization is more powerful and smarter than ever, without needing to rely on clunky IFTTT rules. Personalization is truly individualized now, with help from your marketers for the human side of omni-channel service and support. 

Depending on your platform, this setup includes tracking and reporting–and this means your teams should have access to the metrics that will show you if you’re moving the needle; always test your strategies to build on what works.

Always test and improve

Let’s say you want to build your customer loyalty program. Your strategy is to increase opportunities for engagement. The personalization tactics to address that include: 

  • Sending an email to inquire how they are doing with your product.
  • A survey asking how you can provide better support.
  • Exclusive promotions for loyalty customers only–you want to prove to them that you know them, and understand how to address their needs.
  • Solving their problems with exclusive offers of the right products at the right time (e.g., tax season = stress, so you might offer discounted subscription to the right tools, if you’re in that business, or perhaps the right tea, if you happen to sell wellness products).

And, test, test, test. Like any good scientist, you have to test a hypothesis to see if you’re right or wrong, in order to get closer to what works. You need to pick a solution and test it, so you’re not just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. 

In the above example, it can mean setting up omnichannel campaigns to understand what works best and where, to increase customer engagement. 

And when you’re wrong, it’s great news! Because it means you know what you can eliminate the next time. Yes, eliminate, not tweak. Don’t waste time on efforts that won’t move the needle. 

After running a campaign, what do the numbers tell you? What have customers told you? Taking the time to do an in-depth post-mortem will help you to apply what you’ve learned. 

If something worked, use hyper personalization to make that tactic even better. Did several segments respond to your emails? Awesome. How can you make your emails even better? What can you do to maximize that channel? How much is too much, so that you’re never in that stage? 

If something was a dud, ditch it. No time to waste on finding out why it didn’t work. The reason would often surface organically anyway. 

Focus your time on improving what already has potential. Get into the habit of analyzing your campaigns and staying on top of what works so your efforts will always work, and so that you can deliver consistently better experiences to your customers.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

It’s a cliche, but it’s so accurate. Personalization has a long arch, and your organization has to train for it and constantly maintain a good pace. Get the foundations in place so you can build on the insights you gather. Iterate, and iterate some more. Keep gathering insight from your data and from your customers’ feedback. 

Sarah Cooper

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