Helen Ross 15 November 2017 2 min read

Personalisation is not scary

Personalisation is one of those hot topic words that gets thrown about a lot, especially in the world of eCommerce. Honestly, it’s at the point where hearing it gives me a bit of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy moment. Those poor petunias.


©Buena Vista


It’s not because the concept of personalisation isn’t sound. In fact, the idea of serving content users want to see to the very users who want to see it is (I believe) the foundation of everything we should be doing.


The problem is not in the theory of personalisation but rather in the setup and in the execution. People seem to try and make personalisation bigger than Ben-Hur. It absolutely can be a complete game changer for a company, becoming more complex as it evolves. However, conceptually it’s quite simple. Ready for this?


Start RELEVANT conversations with the RIGHT people.


Not that drastic a concept once you boil it right down.


As I’ve said before – and will likely say again – start small. Look at segmenting your FAQs into B2B and public roles since the different user types likely have very different questions. Analyse your customers’ buying habits and separate them out into industry groups (if you don’t already). Use those same industry groups to serve information specifically for them. Don’t tell a plumber about a sale on carpentry equipment.


Even more important than doing the work in the first place is measuring the result. Back in April, I wrote about exactly what happens when I assume I know just what my customers want. Cliffs Notes version? Close, but no cigar!


Listen to your data. Get feedback from your sales and customer service teams. Hell, phone up a few friendly customers and get their first impressions. Understand that it’s an iterative process and get comfortable with the fact that the finish line is constantly moving. The worst thing you can do is stand still.


Don’t let the fear of failure scare you away from taking the first step in the right direction. As the Chinese proverb goes, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. Don’t strive for Personalisation Nirvana™ straight away. Take that single step, evaluate it, then step again.


Once again, I am keen to get your comments and experiences. Especially since we have some major game-changing announcements happening in Q1 2018 on personalisation.