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How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Personalising

Why marketers are avoiding personalisation

Personalisation isn’t new. In fact, sources suggest the first example of a personalised digital experience was Amazon’s ‘Customers who bought this also bought’ feature, which launched in 1999. Since then, Amazon’s strategy has spoken for itself; constantly upping the ante in personalisation and systematically monopolising the retail sector in the process (Amazon sales currently account for 49.1% of all online retail in the US).

If there were still any doubt as to the sheer pulling power of a personalised experience, research consistently proves that customers want and expect personalisation when interacting with brands and service providers. 91% of customers are more likely to remain loyal to organisations that serve them with relevant offers; those that provide helpful, personalised messages see a 16% lift in commercial performance. Furthermore, improving the digital citizen experience has risen higher in government agendas, with 2 out of 3 public service leaders now rating ‘a personalised citizen experience as a top-three priority’.

But, when it comes to actually implementing personalisation, it’s a different story.

Those actively personalising experiences are very much in the minority, with 62% merely discussing personalisation and only 32% believing that they’re ‘getting personalisation right’.

So, where do you start? As always, with a plan. Here’s our Squiz guide to personalising the customer experience. Today.

What a personalised experience (should) look like

Personalising for the sake of personalising is rarely a good strategy and it’s important to ensure that every update enhances the digital experience (rather than the opposite). In fact, 65% of customers report that a single bad personalised experience is enough for them to swear off a brand (even if they really value its products or services). Humanising the customer journey is key to building a positive experience. Here are Squiz’s five principles for delivering humanised personalisation:

1. Be people-based

Traditional marketing relies on segments to broadly classify a person into a group or persona, but people-based marketing means getting to know your customers individually. A people-based digital service adds value, saves time and serves only the most relevant content.

2. Strive for data density

Gather as much relevant information about the customer as possible; whether requesting it directly, determining information based on behaviour or exploiting existing information from your CRM. (Remember: 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalised offers.)

4. Use insights and analytics

Insights about behaviour and content relevance can be fed back into your customer profiles and used to target or improve the content experience.

5. Act in real-time

Customers expect to act, engage and achieve an outcome online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Automating processes is the key to delivering real-time experiences and anticipating future needs.

6. Drive connected experiences

The final puzzle piece is persisting data between sessions, meaning that the experience is consistent across multiple devices; for example, from starting a subscription renewal on a desktop to completing it on your mobile.

How to personalise – key points to consider

Like everything in digital, personalisation is an on-going journey of improvement, rather than a race to the finish line. Personalisation is scalable and should become more complex as the depth and breadth of your customer insights and reach deepen. This also means it should start out as fairly straight-forward and achievable, to begin with. To stay focused, here are three important points to remember:

Personalisation should work for everyone

Personalisation should work for all involved – not just your customers. There are three main user groups to consider, and your chosen digital experience platform (DXP) must be capable of catering to all of them:

  • Users (your customers) – want seamless and invisible experiences
  • Editors (your content contributors) – want a simple and powerful solution
  • Developers (your IT team) – want a system that is easy to maintain, fast to load (for users) and fast to code (for editors).

Make magic

One of the most common challenges of personalisation is connecting channels and data sets. In order to create a seamless, ‘invisible’ personalised journey, your DXP must be able to leverage, share and act upon data from various sources, while your customer is interacting online. This approach will enable you to assess your customer needs more comprehensively and respond to them as an individual.

Walk before you run

Personalisation is a process of continuously enhancing and deepening the complexity of the customer experience. Start by segmenting user groups and making sense of existing data sets, building customer profiles, analysing and listening to their behaviours, then responding to them.

Eventually, you can introduce additional data sets and start providing rich, context-based recommendations that add value to the customer.


What you can do RIGHT NOW 

Luckily for Squiz DXP customers, there are several simple yet powerful tools already built into the platform that can enable marketers to implement personalisation at varying levels of complexity, from trigger-based to connected and insightful. Here’s how…


Site search is an aspect of the website that many marketers overlook when considering opportunities for personalisation – yet it’s one of the most effective ways to gather insights about your customer needs. Funnelback Personalisation: Curator is a simple yet powerful trigger-based personalisation tool that doesn’t require any code and can be used to quickly infer user context, enabling editors to segment users based on searches, including date range, country, containing words and matched regex (regular expression) – as well as a combination of these searches.

In a recent analysis of the ROI of its personalised site search, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) calculated that every site search user was worth $136. Through Funnelback’s reporting tools, BCIT enhanced its search experience with promoted results, targeted banner ads and faceted search (categorised results) and saw the goal value of their search users increase by $5m in just 12 months.


Creating customer personas and then segmenting users based on their online behaviour is the next level of personalisation and, while still fairly basic, can have a big impact on the user experience. Matrix Personalisation Framework is a free tool, available in Squiz Marketplace that enables marketers to segment content and deliver basic website personalisation instantly. The Matrix Personalisation Framework stores personas and traits within a single browser session and can deliver personalisation at both a container (part of the page) and whole page level.

Through a simple set of commands and container options, this allows marketers to personalise content based on parameters such as browsing history (new or returning visitor), location, industry, as well as more specific behavioural context.


The ultimate goal should be to reach a level of personalisation that is people-based, has high data density, uses analytics to optimise, and occurs in real-time and connects across all touchpoints. This means that the experience is seamless across multiple devices, from starting a subscription renewal on a desktop to completing it on your mobile.

Datastore is a cloud-based data storage platform. connecting the Matrix Personalisation Framework into Datastore enables marketers to persist sessions between devices (for example, the ability to start an application on a desktop, then continue, uninterrupted, on a mobile device). Datastore can also provide real-time reporting, enabling marketers to enrich data sets and learn more about their customers over time – which is where personalisation becomes a more humanised experience.

Bringing it all together

If your organisation isn’t currently personalising the customer experience, you are not alone. In fact, of those that do claim to deliver personalisation to customers, 68% are using simple, trigger-based methods; a far cry from the automated, cognitive approach necessary for person-based targeting. But whether you’re at a walk, jog or run in your personalisation journey, the important part is getting started.

If you’d like to learn more about how Squiz can power personalised digital experiences for your customers, check out our previous blog posts, DXP: Unleash the Power of Personalisation or request a demo today.

Marine Roche

Written by

Marine Roche
Global Product Marketing Lead
8 May 2020

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