3 Foundations for Personalization

“Personalization” online has its roots in the mid-90’s, when industry leaders such as HP and Wells Fargo had big buttons on their home pages, “PERSONAL” and “COMMERCIAL.” From today’s perspective, that’s pretty lame: those categories represent myriad audiences and personas with very different needs.

To meet today’s customer expectations, marketers need to recognize dozens, hundreds, eventually thousands of audiences. And then design and deliver the best possibe content to each of those audiences.DSC04216.JPG

Three audiences is about as many as an individual can manage.


You can’t do that without a lot of data gathering, predictive intelligence, and great content. And you don’t get those without a rich conent library, tools that automate analysis, prediction, and content selection — and a culture that will allow the tools broad scope to do so.

Here’s what the leaders who are delivering effective personalization have:


  • Content that ranges from images to ads to articles to ebooks, to fit every major audience, at every step of interaction
  • A content strategy that guides the development and evaluation of content


  • Every opinion as a hypothesis to be tested – and insists on experimenting and testing to learn about audiences
  • Culture that wants to create content to support myriad audiences
  • Culture that recognizes data driven prediction will outperform human opinionated prediction
  • Culture that recognizes the transitory nature – and value – of audiences


  • Easy to create, manage and evaluate experiments
  • Easy to create, manage and evaluate content
  • Analysis that is consistent across marketing tasks, filterable, and relates to business goals


Published by Sue Aldrich

As a leading authority on worldwide customer requirements, practices, technologies, and governance for personalization, Sue researches the technologies and practices that help marketers get the most useful content in front of customers at the right moment: recommendations, search, discovery, targeted marketing, and web content management. Aldrich is an expert on optimizing the methods that help customers find what they need to make buying decisions and/or to solve problems. She helps clients develop personalization, marketing, discovery, and content management practices that will engage customers and improve results.

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