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Two Distinct Flavors of Personalization

August 24, 2016 | By Matt Papertsian

  • Persona-based and individual personalization should be used in tandem
  • Each target has a different set of requirements to consider
  • The goal of personalization is to optimize conversions

The average person can identify many differences between chimpanzees and humans, but only those who closely study the science will know the exact genetic differences. Approximately 1 percent of our DNA differs, but this small percentage makes a big difference. Talk about persona-based personalization and individual personalization, and most people think you are saying the same thing. But as similar as the two types of personalization are, there are also many differences between them.

Utilizing Both Forms of Personalization

While personas are designed to reach an audience segment, they are informed, validated and iterated based on each individual’s experiences. Every time an individual can be aligned to a persona, the construct can be improved to provide more optimized experiences. The personalization process is also informed by the persona experience the individual chooses via ads, SEO, site banners or navigation. Each time a visitor chooses a persona experience, it helps support the development of more robust contact records – which, in turn, enables more granular segmentation that more precisely aligns content and messaging to the visitor’s needs and preferences.

Personas and Personalization: Key Requirements

The key to success with either personalization approach is to ensure enough insight and information is available about the target audience to provide an experience (i.e. static or dynamic) that aligns with buyer needs. Here are the key requirements for creating this experience:

  • An understanding of the buyer’s journey based on research and (if available) implicit behaviors and explicit data obtained via forms, as well as third-party tools and/or data
  • Buyer personas that include preferences (e.g. tactics, content format), that are operationalized on the Web site, with the user interactions captured and stored in the contact database
  • Sufficient and relevant content aligned to the buyer's journey and the ability to deliver it either sequentially or dynamically
  • The ability to continuously experiment to better understand and refine Web experiences to stay aligned with target buyers
  • Skills such as digital measurement and assessment, the ability to develop and execute user interfaces and experiences, buyer’s journey mapping skills and familiarity with digital tools (e.g. MAP, WCO, Web personalization)
  • Ability to use technology integrated to enable the tracking, segmenting, testing and measuring of visitor interactions

Though both personalization methods are designed to improve conversion rates, the data, technology and content requirements differ – and neither method is simple. Both approaches require a great deal of resources, knowledge and deep customer focus.

Matt Papertsian

Matthew Papertsian is Service Director, EGS at SiriusDecisions. His over 21 years of experience includes developing, managing and executing multi-touch, multi-trigger, inbound and outbound campaigns for enterprise sales, OEM, channel, services and training teams. Follow Matt on Twitter @matthewpaper

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