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Personalization Readiness Checklist

Annie Stone | Director of Marketing Services

August 28, 2018

Customer experience and personalization may seem like buzzwords, but there is some pretty compelling data suggesting that these trends are not to be ignored:

  • 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand. (Marketo)
  • Calls-to-action (CTAs) personalized to individual visitors have a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than generic CTAs that appear the same for every visitor. (HubSpot)
  • By 2020, 51% of consumers expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact. (Salesforce)
  • In a recent Forester study, experience driven businesses reported stronger growth in top level cross journey metrics including 1.4x in revenue growth, 1.7x in customer retention rates, and 1.6x in customer lifetime value.

In summary, digital personalization is not only expected by customers, it is becoming the industry standard for digital customer experience. In this blogpost we will review some of the data points and decisions you will need to make before launching a successful personalization strategy.

Where to start?


How well do you know your prospects and customers? It’s important to take a holistic look at your data.  What kind of user behavior data are you currently capturing? Do you have tools and staff in place to adequately analyze the data to take action? Do you have enough information about your target audiences to sketch a customer journey map? A personalization strategy is only effective with accurate user data. Conducting a variety of user research strategies as a baseline will help your organization to formulate an effective content and interactions.

Personas and Journey Mapping

Can you articulate your target audience’s  needs, wants, fears and jobs to be done within the context of your digital experience and brand promise? What kind of channels do they use to access information? Can you trace a behavior line and interaction journey with your brand touchpoints? These are the kinds of questions you need to discuss with your team as a basis for any personalization strategy. Creating Journey maps with information from your customers can help you identify places where personalization could optimize conversion points. There are many different ways to layout a journey map. Below is an example of a journey map for a hospital system:


Defining Success

Sure, you have some top level goals, but it’s an important exercise to map out all the stakeholders involved in a customer experience effort and make sure their goals tie to customer engagement. Defining a clear unifying goal across stakeholders can make the difference for a successful personalization strategy.

In most cases the best way to do this is to tie customer experience to ROI. Can you calculate your customer lifetime value?

Channels and Tools

Most people think of website and email content when thinking about personalization. But once an organization is able to deliver a unified personalized experience across channels, your digital strategy really starts to transform your customer experience. Consider the following channels when thinking about your strategy:

  • Website
  • Email
  • Campaign landing pages
  • Pop up notifications
  • Social media
  • Advertisements
  • Direct Mail
  • Text notifications
  • Chatbots

How will you leverage data from your martech stack to deliver personalized content across your channels and touchpoints? In many organizations, no one department has a good idea of what the entire martech stack encompasses, it is owned by many different teams. Below is an example of a martech stack:


In order to create a seamless and personalized experience across your channels, you will need to orchestrate data and content across the majority of the tools in the example above. Assigning a martech leader is a good way of managing this orchestration.

If you have never implemented any kind of personalization strategy, we recommend starting with a single channel or persona to test and experiment, so you can get a feel for the resources and effort required. Once you can report your success and prove an ROI from the program, you can start to assemble a larger, more sophisticated personalization strategy.

Process and People

It is important to keep in mind that implementing a personalization strategy is only the first chapter. Maintaining a personalization strategy will requires ongoing data analysis, testing, and content support. Do you have those resources? Have you considered this investment when calculating your ROI? Staffing will also be affected by your technology and implementation strategy. If you’re organization is considering an investment in a customer experience strategy involving personalization, we recommend working with a professional services vendor to help guide the implementation and training of your staff to ensure a successful personalization program.

In Summary:

Data, process, people, tools, and measurable, unified goals. Once you have organizational alignment around these items you will have a great foundation to get started with your personalization initiative. 

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