Whatever your reason for embarking on personalisation, the truth is that there's an arms race going on out there.

If you don't keep up, you're going to be left behind - you’re not going to get the sales, you're not going to get the conversions, you won't be engaging your customers, and you won't get retention. When it comes to personalisation, you have to be on top of your game.

And the challenges that marketers and organisations face are many…

  • Not sure where to start with personalisation
  • Lack of clear persona and user journey definitions
  • A belief that personalisation is too hard / costly
  • Not knowing what scenarios and techniques will be effective
  • Website components not personalisation-ready
  • Level of internal skilling up and knowledge needed is not clear
  • Process and budget required is not fully understood
  • Determining what personalisation will deliver the best ROI

But where do you start? Which personalisation ideas do you implement first? Which ones do you do second? What do you do after that? You need a plan.

Step 1 - Gather business insights

The starting point for personalisation is for your business to actually understand what personalisation is and what it can do for you. You need to be able to identify the opportunities for personalisation, and figure out which ones will add most value.

There is very little point embarking on personalisation unless you can relate your actions and reasoning back to business value, and the marketing outcomes your business wants to achieve.

Codehouse personalisation roadmap step 1
Your personalisation roadmap needs to be aligned with your business and marketing goals

Step 2 – Personalisation demo

Once you know what you want to achieve with personalisation, an important first step is to show people what it can do.

Different teams, and different people within your organisation, will have varying levels of knowledge. Before we can start coming up with ideas for personalisation, we have to bring everyone up to speed as to what is possible and what is not.

This is one of the great things about the leading digital experience platform Sitecore, for example – it has a demo site where you can show everyone in your business just what’s possible in terms of personalisation on your website.

Codehouse personalisation roadmap step 2
Sitecore’s demo site lets you show everyone the power of personalisation

Step 3 – Ideation session

So, you've got the right platform – how do you actually make the most of it?

To formulate a personalisation roadmap, you need to get the right people in a room and generate lots of ideas.

There is no such thing as a bad idea in this session, but don’t forget that every idea needs to relate to a marketing or business objective.

Let’s say someone comes up with an objective to increase attendance at your seminars, and then someone else might come up with a tactic to promote the seminars on your home page to people that haven't visited a seminar page. That’s fantastic!

The aim is to generate as many ideas as possible.

Codehouse personalisation roadmap step 3
Placing ideas on the wall on Post-It notes is great for visibility

Step 4 – Idea consolidation

With all these ideas, your next step can look overwhelming – but it’s now time to step back and consolidate all the ideas by theme.

If you put all your ideas on a spreadsheet, you can very quickly and easily pull ideas together based around the following criteria:

  • Ideation topic
  • Personalisation idea
  • Category / type
  • Marketing objective
  • User journey stage
  • Personalisation maturity stage

What at first glance looked impossible, now becomes slightly easier to manage and place into a personalisation roadmap.

Step 5 – Creating your personalisation roadmap

Now you need to determine where each of your valuable, game-changing ideas sits in terms of difficulty or importance to the business. You cannot do everything at once, you need to learn as you go, and you need to start with some quick-wins to prove the value of personalisation to your organisation.

To help this process, we created the Codehouse personalisation maturity curve.

Codehouse personalisation maturity curve
The Codehouse personalisation maturity curve ©

The Codehouse personalisation maturity curve is a step-by-step process that allows you to look at personalisation in its entirety and come up with a way of figuring out where to start and where you might end up.

If you’re just starting off with personalisation, it’s important to focus on establishing the foundations and get some quick-wins to prove the value of personalisation. You need to understand your customer profiles and personas. You should establish a measurement framework – what your objective is and what your KPIs are. And, most importantly, you’re starting the process of education and knowledge-sharing within your organisation, getting buy-in, agreement, and approval upfront.

Only then should you move on to configure goals / conversion points across your website, and set up engagement value, looking at the end to end customer journey.

All of a sudden, personalisation starts to become a reality for your organisation and is driving results. Someone clicks on a link in one of your email campaigns, and you know which link they clicked, and you know what they're interested in. You put an ad out on social media, someone clicks on it through to your website, and the personalisation rules sitting behind your website kick in and start to personalise the experience for that customers.

And because you have your personalisation roadmap and measurement framework, you know what’s coming next and well into the future, and how it will positively affect your bottom line.

This blog article was originally published on LinkedIn and based on a presentation we gave at SUGCON Australia.

Need help with personalisation?

We’ve been working with Sitecore, the leading digital experience management software with personalisation at its core, since its beginnings.

We’ve designed and built websites on Sitecore across a variety of industries including financial services, retail, leisure and travel, education, health and pharmaceutical, food and drink, membership organisations, IT and technology, and companies selling B2B, using Sitecore personalisation to drive improved customer experiences and increases in conversions and revenue.

If you're interested in personalisation and thinking about Sitecore for your website, or if you already have a Sitecore website and you’re having trouble setting up and using its personalisation tools, or you want to know where to go next, then we’re here to help.

To talk Sitecore personalisation, just get in touch.