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Personalisation isn't enough - Get up close and contextual instead

Are you failing at delivering contextual experiences?

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In our recently published report, Ron Rogowski, Stephen Powers, and I explored how organisations are rethinking their personalisation strategies. Organisations have long understood the need to "personalise" their websites for customer segments in order to meet customer needs, feel personal, and deliver in the moment. But we’ve seen many organisations fail to deliver highly relevant experiences to their customers.  

"We were about to launch personalised content, but our dog ate the segmentation and targeting strategy." We haven't heard that one (yet), but organisations and their agencies frequently cite a familiar set of reasons for continuing to offer non- or under-personalised sites.

What’s going wrong? Organisations fail when delivering contextual experiences.  They must take into account who the customer is, what they did in the past, and the customer’s situation- what’s happening to the customer at that moment and from which touchpoint they are engaging with your brand. While they may take one or two of these into account, many organisations we speak with (especially outside of the eCommerce space) fail to take all three into account.

What does this mean for application development and delivery professionals? After all, IT will eventually need to support these contextualisation initiatives. Here are a few questions to get you started:

      1. Will you go with a rules-based, automated, or hybrid approach?  Automated processes display content or offers based on automated filtering of numerous, while rules-based approaches rely on business users to manually enter in rules. Hybrid approaches use both rules and automated filtering to deliver relevant experiences. Different technology solutions are better at supporting one or the other or both. 

      2. Will you “push” or “pull” content? Will you need to align technology around an authenticated experience (pulling preferences from a customer’s profile) or a non-authenticated experience (pushing content onto a user based on situational factors)?

      3. How will you handle cross-channel contextualisation? There’s so much data out there, but most organisations are collecting it in channel siloes. AD+D pros can take a leading role here in aggregating data across channels to create a 360-view of the customer and deliver even more contextual and relevant experiences.  

      4. What technology solutions will you use to support contextualisation initiatives?  Many technologies —some of which you already own— support different aspects of web contextualisation (e.g. web content management, recommendations engines, site search).

        Building contextual mobile apps have their own concerns, and will require AD+D pros to decide on a technology approach that best suits their mobile app development goals.
We have more questions to consider, as well as more recommendations on how to get started with contextualisation initiatives for both customer experience professionals and application development and delivery professionals. If you have an interesting example of how you’ve contextualised your digital customer experience, we’d love to hear it in the comments below. 

Posted by Anjali Yakkundi

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