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.