POSTED : June 16, 2015
BY : Martin Mehalchin

Originally published on RetailWire.com

Last month I was a guest of personalization vendor Monetate at their customer Summit in Philadelphia. In her CEO keynote, Lucinda Duncalfe introduced a concept she calls the “Five Stages of Personalization.”

In essence it’s a maturity model for marketers and e-commerce professionals looking to develop a personalized approach to how they engage with consumers.

The five stages are:

  • Level 1: Test – Optimization of web/e-mail/mobile experiences based on A/B testing. This has been a pretty standard practice in digital marketing for years now. The problem is that by relying on averages to pick a single preferred execution, the traditional optimization can leave large segments of your audience unsatisfied with their experience.
  • Level 2: Target – Identifying target consumers via in-session or contextual data and behavior. Examples include geo-targeting based on IP or campaigns triggered by cart abandonment.
  • Level 3: Segment – Leveraging first and third-party data to deliver custom experiences to different segments. Examples are serving three to five versions of a homepage experience to identify customers that fall within a persona-based segment developed by the retailer.
  • Level 4: Synchronize – Multi-device customer journeys integrated across channels. The best examples still come from outside retail. Think of how Google Maps on your phone is enriched by data from restaurant and hotel reservations you’ve made on your PC.
  • Level 5: 1:1 – Auto-optimized personalization delivered at the individual level based on intelligence derived from a single view of the customer. In the 1:1 world, consumers’ experience with a brand will be personalized based on all that the brand should know about them: prior purchase history, browsing habits, color preferences, shipping preferences, physical attributes (shoe size, skin tone).

Maturity models can be very effective as a tool for assessing your current state and helping management make explicit choices about where to make improvements.

Ms. Duncalfe’s model has a primary focus on digital e-commerce experiences, but brands should remember that there are rich opportunities to personalize experiences in offline channels as well. Much of the same data and many of the same tools that enrich an online experience can be placed on a mobile device in a store associate’s hand to make the in-store experience more personal and relevant. With most retail still happening in brick and mortar, personalization based on purchase history will often be sub-optimal without the integration of data from all channels.

Read the full article and participate in the discussion on RetailWire.com.


About the Author

A picture of Martin MehalchinMartin Mehalchin is a Partner at PK where he leads the relationship with some of the firm’s largest clients and helps drive the growth of our Customer Experience Services. He has dedicated his career to working with executives and managers to help them define their strategies and then translate those strategies into results. Martin is a Brain Trust panel member on Retailwire.com and is a sought after seminar leader and speaker at conferences and on webinars. Among the clients Martin has worked with are Nike, Atlantic Records, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Expedia, Victoria’s Secret, Adidas and DuPont. Martin is a Board member and Chair of the Marketing Committee for the North Cascades Institute.

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