A Primer on the Website Personalization Trend

The Personalized Web will be driven by analytic engines that will integrate data from many sources in order to present an online experienced tailored to each user.

Thanks to the explosion of social media, how users are influenced, consume information, and make purchasing decisions has been altered forever.  Users are increasingly expecting company websites, products, and services to be tailored to their individual preferences, past experiences, and what they happen to be doing at this very moment.  This puts the demand on business and IT leaders to create a personalized and engaging experience for end-users across all channels, both online and offline. 

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                Unica: The State of Marketing 2010 (link)

Users want to their experience to be customized:

  • Returning visitors to a web site want to see a page based on all the information collected from previous visits.  Businesses should present personalized sites to these customers by organizing information and prioritizing it based on the individual's liking.  Products and services offered on those pages will be pre-configured.
  • “Anonymous” visitors to websites should get customized messages based on the referring URL, search terms, geo-location and any other insights. 

In 2011, I expect business leaders to focus on advanced solutions that can delivering a more personalized experience to end users.  These solutions will be designed to mine the user profile, buying behavior, browsing behavior and other insights obtained through marketing analytics in order to deliver a more customized and personalized online experience.  Look for further improvements in technologies such as marketing analytics and predictive algorithms that can automatically deliver highly relevant, contextually aware, personalized content and recommendations to customers via both online and offline channels. I also expect the personalization trend to be extended beyond the website to other digital channels, including social media marketing, mobile marketing, and email marketing.

One other point, the personalization trend is not only about presenting personalized pages to users of sales and marketing processes. All business application users can benefit from web sites and applications that present information that is personalized to the user. 

The rest of this post provides you with some background information on the trend, some quotes from the marketplace, and a bunch of links to additional reading information.

Trend Drivers

  • Individuals want content that is personalized and is relevant to why they are on a particular website at a given time /
  • New analytic capability

Trend Inhibitors/Challenges

  • Integrating offline as well as online behaviour
  • Need to build and retain complete profile data
  • Privacy issues

Trend Implications

  • New business processes and skills required
  • Need to track individual’s interactions and transactions across all channels, in order to provide the best offer or communication.
  • Messaging plans can be tailored to interests and preferences of each individual.

Quotes from the Marketplace: 

“Emerging context-enriched services will use location, presence, social attributes and other environmental information to anticipate an end user's immediate needs, offering more-sophisticated, situation-aware and usable functions” – Gartner (link)

“Marketers are focused on making their communications more timely and relevant to recipients. To do that, they need to build communications around the interests and preferences of each individual customer or prospect. “ – Unica, Sept. 2010 (link)

“Personalized product recommendations are proven to consistently increase sales, conversion rates, average order value and customer retention“ – Coremetrics, Oct 2010 (link)

Featured Video

Personalising the Web Experience – Unica Video

For More Information

Here are some sites where you will find links to other learning resources like white papers, demos, customer briefs, and videos

More Information From ibm.com

3 thoughts on “A Primer on the Website Personalization Trend

  1. Interesting post and thoughts about the web personalization trend. I haven’t thought too much about this, but it does seem to be an important trend. Thanks.

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