Throughout this series we’ve talked about anonymous visitors and how to best tackle personalization for them, the overwhelming majority of your site traffic. We’ve talked about personification, or targeting personalized experiences based on personas versus trying to deliver wholly unique moments. But what happens when site visitors aren’t anonymous? What happens when they fall somewhere else on the personalization spectrum? Or, at the very end of the spectrum, are 100 percent known entities?

Whether your visitor has converted and made a purchase, provided critical data points, or has otherwise become identifiable, you now have an opportunity to provide meaningful personalized experiences. And as your visitors work through the personalization spectrum, from anonymous to deeply engaged advocates, they provide clues to their wants, needs, and must-haves along the way, plus details about who they are and what characteristics could inform their usage patterns now and in the future.

Anonymous visitor. For the unknown, first-time visitor, you’ve got little to work with, but what you have is solid: geolocation, browser, operating system, referring URL, and, if the visitor came from search, the referring term.

Awareness. The visitor is moving through your site, clicking on pages, products, offers, and promotions. If you squint and tilt your head a little, the visitor will start to look like someone you’ve seen before—could be the same person, or could be the other rock-climbing enthusiast (or maybe it’s a gift?) from San Francisco you saw yesterday.

Consideration. The visitor is getting recommendations and personalized content based on predictive machine learning thanks to all the data points you’ve been collecting from this and, if applicable, past visits. Click, click, click, measure, measure, measure.

Customer provides identity. The customer buys, provides billing or shipping information, and, most importantly, becomes aligned with something, be it a product, a service, an offer, or a subscription.

Cross-sell/upsell. You customer is engaged with your brand and now it’s time to take your data points and leverage them to increase cross-sell opportunities, conversions, and average cart prices. Send targeted emails, serve up spot-on offers, and deliver relevant experiences each time the customer lands on your site, from any platform.

Advocacy. It’s truly the next level of brand engagement. Get the customer to “like” your Facebook page; follow you on Twitter, Instagram, or Google+; or opt-in for your e-newsletter. Encourage your customer to share with friends—word-of-mouth is powerful, and it happens at this stage.

Simplified, this means that the visitor, through journeys on your site, went from being an unknown person in San Francisco to being Kevin Lindsay who used Google and searched for “K2 Skis” on his iPhone. He’s one of your Twitter followers, he reads The New York Times, and he loves adventure sports. You probably know where he works, if he’s married with kids, and lots more. This happens in the awareness and consideration stage, when Kevin transitions from unknown to know, somewhere in the identification state, before he becomes a known entity who catapults into the cross-sell and advocacy stages. Finally, in the advocacy stage, Adobe Target can take its social graph data and align it with the site data you’ve collected over time, creating more than personas—creating top-to-bottom, 360-degree-views of those customers, and determining what will inspire them to stand up, raise their hands, and open their wallets is a natural next step, and one you can do almost effortlessly. Relevance soars. Satisfaction soars. Personalization payoff soars.

Now that they’re in
This is the last stage of the “getting to know you” period. You’ve gone on a few dates and even popped the question . . . and she said yes! Now your customer is in it for the long haul, but that doesn’t mean you can cut corners when it comes to creating relevance. Great relationships need to be continually elevated and tended to, and this one’s no exception.

Funny enough, although many marketers—even experienced ones—panic about the anonymous visitor and how to create relevance for these critical consumers, once they overcome this hurdle they feel equally lost. They find themselves in the advocacy stage, staring out into their audience and seeing more and more familiar faces. And although this powerful stage is the goal, it’s not without challenges. How do you keep things interesting, relevant, and compelling after they’ve become loyalists?

Customer loyalty, like the anonymous visitor, has created major buzz in the last few years. Although loyalty programs are nothing new, they’ve received a modern facelift in light of this personalization spectrum and the increasing demands of consumers known and unknown. Think Hale & Hearty’s Bean Counter card, which rewards frequent buyers with free soup based on past soup purchases; Rite Aid’s Wellness+ Points, which gives shoppers 20 percent off purchases if they spend $1,000 per year or more; or even sites like Ebates which, just for linking through their site, rewards shoppers with cash back on purchases they make every day. They’re all designed to bring you in with the promise of big savings.

The most meaningful of these programs, though, are the ones that organically tie to the personalization experience already being created. Maybe it’s the rewards card, the birthday card and special offer, or something linked directly to a credit card or smartphone. These offers can even be customized based on consumer preferences and spending patterns. FreshDirect Chef’s Table customers receive exclusive, deep discounts on relevant products each week, have access to dedicated customer service reps, and are guaranteed next day delivery thanks to special spots reserved for these elite grocery shoppers. Or, taking it a step further, maybe it’s something with perceived cache—think the Starbucks Gold Card or, better, the “Black Card”—that actually drives consumers to want to engage, purchase, and chatter even more.

These cards extend the relevance-delivering not only by providing another avenue for delivering those personalized experiences, but also by collecting additional interaction and data points throughout the customer’s expanded journey. These loyalty campaigns can span the brick-and-click sphere, adding another platform for connectivity to the interactive landscape. Experiences can extend in-store without a major overhaul, and being omnichannel becomes a reality.

Remember when anonymous visitors threw you for a loop? We’ve been so focused on those unknown users for so long—who they are, what they want, and what it will take to get that critical first conversion—that the rest of his journey wasn’t even on the radar. Taking the visitor from unknown to know was hard, but you did it. And now identifying the anonymous user is a no-brainer. But now what? As consumers journey through the personalization spectrum you learn more and more. The momentum increases, they continue through a host of touch points, you collect more, refine more, and create more relevant experiences—and now you’re in a full-fledged brand/consumer relationship that, if nurtured over time, will yield a massive personalization payoff.