How to create a personalization strategy for your company – practical advice
We’ve seen countless personalization strategy processes that last for years but never amount to anything. In this post, we’ll share some practical advice on how to run such a process the right way and actually deliver a personalization strategy that helps you achieve amazing results across your whole business.
We know, “strategy” is a big word and often misused. However, because personalization touches on so many customer interactions across different channels, and involves several units and teams in your organization, it demands a strategy. A strategy makes it easy to explain to various teams, both internal and external, how to execute personalization in your company.
In this post, we draw on Frosmo’s decade of customer experience when mapping out how to create a personalization strategy that cuts across different online channels like websites, mobile sites, mobile apps, and email. Frosmo’s process is based on three key elements of personalization – channels, data, and experience – and a series of three workshops.
First, it should be broadly acknowledged in your organization that personalization will have an impact on almost all the channels the company uses to interact with current and potential customers.
Second, we’ve found that it’s crucial to organize a series of workshops with people from different parts of the organization. These workshops should preferably include people with P&L responsibility who understand the impact of the investment and what kind of growth can be expected at different steps of executing the strategy. There should also be people responsible for the commercial performance of the website and/or mobile app, as well as people from marketing, communications, and IT. If there are business intelligence or data analysts available, they should participate too.
The goal of these workshops is to define (1) a shared understanding of the personalization strategy and (2) an execution plan that can span several years.
Components of a personalization strategy
At Frosmo, we recommend that a personalization strategy consist of the following:
- Personalization strategy statement
- Personalization goals and KPIs
- Definition of channels related to personalization
- Definition of data and data sources related to personalization
- Definition of desired personalization experience
Crafting each of these requires quite a lot of joint effort as there are usually many complications that stem from different responsibilities and areas of focus between different parts of the organization. This is a big investment from the company, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. And if you follow Frosmo’s process, your whole team will not only have a clear vision of where you are headed, but also maintain focus in the here and now through small, manageable steps that will successfully take you to that destination.
The execution plan
After the definitions have been decided and agreed upon, the next step is to create the execution plan. We recommend that the plan consist of:
- Agreed priorities
- Decision making process
- Communication plan
- Task force(s)
- Rough timeline
- Launch: Definition of first smaller projects
Three workshops to define the personalization strategy
We recommend that you split the process into the following three workshops:
Workshop 1: Define the personalization strategy, goals, and three core elements.
Workshop 2: Implementation plan: executing personalization strategy, practical next steps, schedules, different parties, responsibilities.
Workshop 3: Go through the personalization strategy and execution plan, get things rolling!
The workshops, consisting of roughly 10 items each, will require a team effort to come together. We recommend trying different kinds of relatively short brainstorming sessions both in smaller groups and with everyone together throwing ideas.
In the first workshop, it’s important to make sure that everyone has the same understanding of the company’s strategy and goals. It’s also important to ensure that everyone agrees on what “personalization” is, so that there’s a common language. After this, it’s very much an open conversation and brainstorming to get the definitions done. Someone with relevant experience should facilitate the session.
The second workshop should begin with a recap of the first session to make sure that everyone still agrees on the definitions. If required, time should be reserved for iterating the definitions. However, the focus of this workshop should be in the execution plan. Make sure that you have people present who can take responsibility and agree to get things rolling. Put extra thought and effort into how the strategy and execution are to be communicated. Is it in weekly meetings, 1:1 sessions, all-hands-on-deck meetings, or preferably a combination of all of these? Once again, an experienced facilitator helps the workshop achieve its goals.
The third workshop should really be about getting things rolling. It’s important to organize this workshop so that the people who will shoulder the responsibility of taking things forward are present. Make sure there’s a common understanding as well as shared feelings of responsibility and getting things done! Ask on every action item, who will take action, what is the action, and when can you expect to get it achieved. Form a task force around personalization that can organize additional workshops as needed. And, again, remember the communication to the company. At the end of the day, strategy is really about the direction and how to communicate that as clearly as possible.
A clearly defined and broadly shared personalization strategy can help a company achieve amazing results. The practical approach to creating the strategy and getting things rolling is to organize a series of workshops where people from different parts of the organization come together. An open atmosphere and acknowledging that success comes from agreeing on a direction and starting with small steps towards it are keys to success.
We are more than happy to talk with you about your personalization strategy and your experiences about creating one. We’re also more than happy to help you with the process, and we can organize a complete three-workshop set for you.
With personalization working for you, success and growth with your customers are guaranteed!
Are you ready to start your personalization journey?
About the writer:
Mikael Gummerus is the founder and CEO of Frosmo. He’s a visionary and a firm believer in the adoption of microservices architecture, headless ecommerce, and CMS. With more than a decade of experience as a web entrepreneur, he’s passionate about growing consumer expectations of superior digital experiences.