An important early step in developing your personalization strategy is articulating, communicating, and committing to a vision. I’m not talking about a mission-statement kind of vision, or a string of wonderful words that make everyone feel good. I’m talking about having a clear idea of what the personalized experience will be like for your customers, and what that experience delivers for your business. Some examples:
• Shoppers will be guided to their ideal choices with a minimum of effort. We will encourage them to return by sending engaging emails and/or ads that they find attractive. When they return to us, we will welcome them back with a special something that’s chosen to particularly appeal to them. We will entice them to share their experience with their network. As a result, order value, frequency and margin will increase for all visitors. Customer acquisition costs will decline.
• Listeners will see works both expected and unexpected, that match and stretch their tastes. We will connect them with others who are like them. Listeners’ friends who want to send a gift, or share in the experience, will easily find and buy the right music. Listeners engage ever more deeply with us, providing opportunities to monetize their time spent with us.
• Our content will attract potential customers to our site. Once on site, they will encounter content that is specific to their interests, and these encounters will progressively deepen the relationship. Each interaction leaves us with more information on the potential customer and how to engage him or her, increases brand awareness, and provides more opportunities to continue the interaction. The customer feels in control of his path, the interactions, and the depth of the relationship.
The key to sketching your vision is your customer scenarios. What are your customers trying to do, and what will make them more successful? If there were no obstacles, what is the ideal experience you’d like your customers to have?
Then ask yourself, How would achieving this vision contribute to your business? What aspects are most important to your bottom line or your brand? What aspects would protect you from competition?
Once you’ve sketched your vision, it’s a good idea to test it not only with your peers, but with your customers. If it doesn’t resonate with your customers, it won’t be successful for your business.