5 tips for designing a personalization strategy

Companies using digital need some kind of personalization strategy to succeed. These five tips will help you use personalization engines to improve content management processes.

Companies design content for digital media with one goal in mind -- to influence people. And to do that well, they need a personalization strategy.

Content developers can integrate personalization into their content management strategy to influence customers to engage in any number of actions. Customers using a digital shopping platform such as Amazon can be persuaded to buy something. Customers using a search engine such as Google might be influenced to click on an advertising link. Users of news channels, e-zines and other types of content can be nudged into a certain direction of thought.

People are most likely to be influenced when receiving pertinent information at the appropriate time. This is the essence of personalization. To consumers, it seems uncanny that after they conduct research on Google, their Facebook feed is then interspersed with news items and advertising that was relevant to the Google research, or that Amazon makes related product recommendations. This experience is the result of well-designed personalization strategies that companies use.

Here are five tips for making a personalization strategy part of your overall content management strategy:

1. Figure out your goals

The first step to creating a personalization strategy is to determine a clear idea of its scope, budget, technology constraints and priorities. Such information will be drawn out of existing project management planning and be based on the goals of your project charter. This ensures that required resources from both business and technology teams will be committed to the initiative.

Develop a change management plan, as organizational realignment is likely needed to adopt new strategies. It can also be useful to identify business sponsors and technology owners for the initiative.

2. Use data to segment customers

Segment customers by identifying and analyzing existing customer data sources while in the planning phase. Then, once you implement a personalization strategy, you can collect CX data to identify and analyze the wants and needs of different consumer segments. You can then use this data to better tailor customer experiences.

3. Refine your strategy even after rollout

Choosing the proper tool set will be determined by what existing vendor products are in place, the integration capability of business applications, a company's budget and their available skill sets.

Seek to apply continuous improvement through frequent reviews of known success factors, personalization rules, personalization data, and content and technology platforms. Be prepared to refine strategy direction based on changing business goals, external influences and technology-vendor capability. Look for early wins to prove strategy direction and longer-term gains after each subsequent improvement.

4. Use technology to your advantage

Build a sound technology environment by selecting tool sets such as personalization engines and content management platforms that can scale and integrate with existing customer data across other business applications. Choose the proper tool set based on what existing vendor products are in place, the integration capability of business applications, a company's budget and their available skill sets.

Scale and performance are important considerations, too, as any personalization strategy generates large data sets. Look for automation technologies such as AI to help manage the analysis workload on these data sets and use them to support real-time personalized content delivery.

Personalization engine comparison chart

5. Develop a content management plan

Be able to support personalized content delivery at the outset. Techniques for this include breaking content into small chunks, using a tagging scheme to identify, store and manage those chunks, and ensuring the content chunking and tagging scheme is aligned with the technology platform needs. With these, targeted content can be assembled on delivery based on a user's personalization profile.

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