Questions for Vendors of Personalization Solutions

The path to delivering personalization is well-worn, but still brings adventure. 

I am evaluating personalization solutions using a brief questionnaire that I think gets to the heart of solution value and differentiation. There are two inputs to my choice of questions: what leaders in personalization have demonstrated to be effective, and the requirements revealed by the top user scenarios. My evaluations of vendor solutions are published in this blog.

You might find the questions useful for your own evaluation.

General

  • Describe your target market.
  • What are the top challenges your target market struggles with?
  • Which aspects of those challenges does your solution address?
  • What are the strengths of your solution in addressing those challenges?

Collaboration

Because the effort to create, deliver, and manage personalized customer experiences engages people with many roles across many departments in a company, it is important that the personalization solution encourage collaboration. The top three requirements are support for many roles, immediately accessible learning, and enterprise controls.

  • What is the average number of users at an account?
  • What roles are represented?
  • How would new participants establish the skills and resources for their testing, targeting, or optimization projects? E.G., learning what to do and how to do it; creating reports or dashboards; etc.
  • Describe user access controls and workflow support.

Integration

Personalization is not achieved with a tool bolted onto your marketing environment. It is achieved with a broad range of capabilities embedded in most of what marketing does. Integration thus becomes fundamental to the value of any personalization solution. The top three requirements are customer data integration, app integration, and accessible services.

  • How, and in which of your apps, can third party data and CRM data be used?
  • What are your solutions’ capabilities for updating CRM databases?
  • How and when can your apps exchange audience/segment information and decisions? What data can apps share about audiences, and how is it shared? 
  • Are the core services of your solution extendable and usable in other channels?

AI and Automation

Leaders in delivering personalized customer experiences are developing the capability to personalize any part of any customer interaction. Personalization at scale is a challenge can’t be accomplished at scale unless AI is effective at predicting customer reactions to each step in the experience, and automatically presenting the best next step. The top three requirements are control and automation; shared insights; and real time actions.

Which apps can make automated real time actions based on predictions and recommendations, in what circumstances?

  • What aspects of AI decisions can be constrained or controlled by users?
  • How frequently are models updated?
  • Under what circumstances can your AI services be extended to other apps or channels?
  • To what extent can AI decisions and actions be communicated in human terms? 

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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