What does explicit interest mean

Personalization: explicit and implicit - what you should and shouldn't do

Would you still be showing the exact same website to every visitor? The digital age has given the impetus to personalized content.

In the simplest case, personalization involves creating and delivering digital experiences that are customized based on certain information. One example is geolocation. If you run an online sportswear store, you might be showing hiking or skiing gear to visitors to the site from the northern hemisphere in the winter season, and swimming and snorkeling accessories to visitors from the tropical regions.

The Advantages of personalization are obvious as the figure below shows.

Image source: Magnolia CMS

More relevant content for your website visitors means more conversions and better business for you.

To achieve this goal, you need: 1) data, 2) segmentation, 3) personalized content. Personalization can be done explicitly or implicitly.

The explicit personalization is based on information given to you by users. Examples are:

  • Visitors log into your website, create user profiles linked to your CRM and receive emails.
  • Users indicate their interests and content preferences and subscribe to certain channels.
  • Data you gain through social media and social logins.
  • Registration for loyalty programs, e.g. B. for supermarket chains and in the travel sector (airlines, hotels, car rentals).

The implicit personalization is based on information you can find out from user behavior and context. Examples are:

  • Tracking anonymous visitors based on geolocation and time, e.g. B. the proposal of flight offers based on IP addresses.
  • Show different variations of content to new or returning visitors.
  • Targeted promotions to visitors based on their browsing history or shopping cart.
  • Building dynamic landing pages for visitors who land on your website as a result of a specific campaign.

The level of personalization is mixed. Some providers are very advanced. For example, a retailer uses an AI rules engine that selects content items from a content pool for each visitor segment. Most providers are just getting started. A supermarket chain that has collected a wealth of customer data in its stationary branches is just beginning to link this data with its digital presence.

About 61% of customers said they were more likely to buy from companies that deliver customer-centric content, like Research by McKinsey demonstrate.

Are there “bad personalization” or tactics that fail? Some Pitfalls to Avoid:

Don't make assumptions based on just a single interaction.

For example, a customer is looking for baby clothes as a gift for a friend; the online shop assumes that she is expecting a child and showered her with advertising for baby food and diapers.

Don't send too many messages.

If you've booked a flight, intermittent emails about hotels and rental cars might be a nice touch, but by no means do daily emails counting down the days left before your vacation starts.

Don't rely on outdated information.

A payment system that stores credit card information should be set up so that the customer is asked for new information about the card's expiry date. Obsolete information should not simply be used and processed further automatically.

Handle customer data carefully and conscientiously.

It is a huge disappointment for the customer if they misspelling their address, or worse, misspelling their name. Personalization means paying attention to the fine details and getting them right from the start.

Here are some Personalization tips, regardless of which phase you are in:

Start. Start with the simple things. Divide your customers into the most important segments. Highlight content that corresponds to these segments.

Ticino.ch, a tourism portal for Italian-speaking Switzerland, has introduced a homepage that is personalized with different content depending on the geographic location and language selection of the user. By identifying personas or roles and dividing tourists into three segments (residents, day tourists and medium to long-term long-distance tourists), ticiono.ch can offer different visitors relevant information and customized digital experiences.

Experiment and gradually adapt your strategies to your experiences and insights.

Record the stations of your customers' journey. Identify the important touchpoints and optimize them.

In the airline business, the customer journey extends over several touch and drop-off points: After booking a flight, travelers usually choose their seat and food, then they can be asked to look for a hotel or a rental car before proceeding to payment. JetBlue designed trigger emails around these customer touchpoints based on two factors: the customer's destination and the status of the loyalty program. JetBlue found that these emails resulted in higher open rates and conversions compared to traditional promotional emails, which in turn generated more revenue.

Once you've identified the touchpoints, you should also focus on optimizing the entire customer journey to make it faster, smoother, and more engaging.

Sungevity, a provider of residential solar panels, was able to seamlessly deliver personalized digital customer journeys by managing data on the solar potential of individual homes and coordinating the end-to-end process of sales, installation and service. The company adjusted every step of the customer journey and automated it so easily and convincingly that customers would switch from one step to the next and stay within the “loyalty loop”. Sungevity doubled sales, exceeded its growth targets, and became one of the fastest growing players in the residential solar energy space.

With the increasing fragmentation of customer journeys, you should trying to capitalize on micro moments:

  • When customers are in an “I want to know this now” moment, they are more likely to respond to content that offers an answer or solution than to advertising messages. According to Google, 87% of consumers do their research before visiting a brick and mortar store.
  • When customers find themselves in an “I want to go there” moment, they are more likely to respond to search results, maps, and directions than to product information.
  • When customers find themselves in an “I want to do this now” moment, they are looking for ideas, tips, or pointers to get a job done. Offer them recipes, step-by-step instructions and instruction videos or tutorials.
  • When customers find themselves in an “I want to buy this now” moment, they are looking for the best deals and how to get them. Offer them coupons, special offers, a shopping app or a one-click ordering function.

When it comes to personalizing content and digital experiences, almost every company thinks it has fallen behind. But you can make a difference with just a basic, simple personalization. Just start. Analyze the results and refine them. Then try to gradually improve your personalization strategy.

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