February 29, 2016 ben salmon

Defining your maiden personalisation voyage

What personalisation voyage?

We now realise personalisation is not as easy as it seems, as we saw in “personalisation easy to say hard to do”.

It does require commitment and an appreciation this is not something we can just say as a throw away comment, “let’s do personalisation”, and requires consideration as discussed in this article on econsultancy.

So what is next? We agree it is challenging but surely the next question is even more difficult to answer.

Where do I start? I have 5,000 web pages and 1,000,000 visitors what do I say, where and for who?!


Thanks to Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/anmm_thecommons/ for the image

Setting the record straight

Before we look at defining the first journey, the creation of a personalised experience is not complex.

It is only complex at scale, where there are lots of consumers, products, content and channels. Isolate these and this takes a lot of the complexity away.

The maiden voyage

Getting the first journey is simple if we constrain it. Constrain the journey and we automatically remove complexity.

Using the following 5-step process we can identify our first journey quickly. This process, once it has been performed, should only take 3-5 days, ideally quicker if the data is available and buy-in is in place.

Step 1: Set your goal

Before we set off we need to understand what we are trying to achieve. It might be:

  • Consumer repurchase behaviour
  • Acquisition of new consumers
  • Growth of existing consumers
  • An increase in our overall consumer satisfaction score.

Whatever the goal, be single minded about the objective. Adding more than one goal will mean the focus is lost AND the outcome becomes difficult to identify and understand.

If my goal is to sell more products, I can see if my personalised journey sold more products. If it didn’t the journey, rules or content need to be changed.

Step 2: Data defines the size of the prize

By looking at data (email engagement, website visits, transactional history or social conversations) we will be able to see if there is an opportunity for us to engage our audience.

For example: If we only have 10 website visitors performing a particular action (related to sales) on a specific source of traffic on a specific device, we have narrowed the criteria too much.

We need to broaden it so we have a fair opportunity to make a difference. Creating a personalised journey for 10 visitors on a website which attracts 100,000 visitors is not giving the personsalised journey a fair chance.

Step 3: Consumer feedback determines the need – 

Looking at data only is not the answer. It does give us scope but we have to understand the needs of the consumer. From surveys, social media or what they are searching for, this will help us shape the content in step 5.

Look at the needs of the consumer in context of the goal and the journey we identified in step 2 to work out how we are going to address their needs.

Step 4: Little and Often

This is possibly the most challenging step.

We need to make a big enough impact but not too big it will never get delivered.

Assuming we can deliver these changes every 2 weeks, crazy I can here you saying, then we need to de-scope the journey to meet this requirement.

Creating a personalised website landing page is achievable but delivering forms which are automatically filled in for consumers might be a stretch too far.

Step 5: Engagement + Relevance = Goal

Once we have determined the scope, we need to create content which is engaging. Sometimes this is overlooked.

This is our safe guard against doing stupid things, which will frustrate our audience.

But what does this mean in this context?

Firstly we need to identify, for the audience above, what we are going to offer them.

This is all about relevance. For example I do not want to offer a customer a product they have just purchased or something they would be interested in.

As an example think of all those banners you see getting you through to click through and buy a fridge when you bought one only yesterday.

The second part is about testing different content which is going to be engaging. Writing very long copy is not engaging and images only might not be engaging. This is where we need to test and learn and see what works for our audience. This could be format but also the location of the content.

We are creating a personalised experience. We want to grab the consumer’s attention not just with a relevant piece of information but with something they are going to engage with.

Summary of setting your Personalisation Voyage

Identifying the first journey doesn’t need to be as complex as it could be.

The image below highlights the objective for each step.


We can easily go out there and create our first journey, as long as it is simple enough to deliver, but big enough so it will have an impact.

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