In this part of the Personalisation Technology Manifesto, we’ll build on optimisation through testing, to look at engaging our audience through targeting. All the information you need to pinpoint your most valuable segments is there, just waiting to be processed and interpreted, and the insight it contains can make or break a campaign or even a business model. Observing your visitors’ behaviour and characteristics while you are testing will set you up to proactively target them based on these behaviours down the line.
The business rules that we can use for targeting span an immense number of factors – in fact they can be as varied and complex as our customers’ behaviour. But this need not be the case – at their most powerful they connect a user seamlessly with the products or content that they are interested in, without the customer having to think about it. This is the crux of any good personalisation strategy – providing relavant and engaging content to the customer without getting in the way of the experience. At its simplest, we can capture the category of items that a user interacted with in their visit to the site and use that to tailor the content on the homepage of the site when they return. This might sound simple, but not enough brands are doing it today and they’re missing out because of it.
A great example of an organisation getting this right is Royal Bank of Scotland, who treat their site and mobile experience like a branch. In this video, Giles Richardson, Head of Data & Analytics for the bank, talks about his approach to the customer journey, an listening to customer needs – the benefits to the business speak for themselves.
Moving beyond this idea of category affinity, business rules can be used to show appropriate content based on the campaign creative that drove the visitor to the site – think of this as creative consistency. They can also be used in more advanced ways to “score” visitor interactions and use a combination of these scores and the high value areas of the site to promote the appropriate message to drive visitors to the next stage in the customer journey or lifecycle. Imagine an automotive manufacturer that ultimately wants to push test drive appointments to its dealer network — engagement starts with a prospect looking at the technical details of a car, moves to the user configuring their own car or creating a personalised brochure and ends with them filling out a form and arranging a test drive. Business rules can be used at each stage of this journey to assess the current status of the prospect and deliver messaging and creative to guide them to the next stage – a car configurator banner on the homepage, a list of local dealers based on the prospect’s current location. And this idea of using location for targeting brings us to another important aspect of a targeting strategy, geo-targeting. When we put geo-targeting in the mix, we consider the physical dimensions of our businesses and marketing campaigns. What’s the purpose of showing a customer in Newcastle items in a sale in London? Mistakes like this cost us twice: first in their guaranteed ineffectiveness, second in the missed opportunity to capitalise on a potential touchpoint.
So the benefits of targeting to the business and our customers are great but with so many variables to test and employ, so many different ways to connect with certain segments and populations, how do we ensure that our technical and logistical operations keep up with our marketing ideas? A few rules follow, both for thinking about targeting and in terms of how your targeting technology should support you:
Build on learning and reuse your audiences: All the work put into one campaign must be leveraged in the future. After all, success means drawing a line around a valuable segment and meaningfully reaching them with a campaign. That segment will still be useful tomorrow, and this means that we can apply our new knowledge to a wide variety of marketing opportunities in the future. Adobe Target makes the retention and sharing of this data effortless. Its place in Adobe’s suite of marketing tools means there’s never any question as to whether your new data will translate to another
Combine insights: Adobe’s core services offer profile and audience configuration, meaning that all of your calculations can take into account both first-party, Adobe, and third-party data. This is absolutely critical. With this service you have a channel for combining authenticated and anonymous data into one congruent whole. This offers an impressively clear lens through which to view your segments and your individual customers, elegantly uniting types of data that previously have been enormously challenging to unite.
Keep on top of your rules: As you start to assemble business rules to push content to your users in a given set of circumstances or scenarios, you need a targeting platform that will enable you to create those scenarios and then to validate them for each of your personas or even down to the individual user level. Fidelity of experience is all important and conflicting business rules that cause clashing unrelated products to be shown or duplication of content on the same page are harmful to the experience. The Adobe Target Visual Experience Composer enables your team to create, deploy and maintain optimisation activities with ease, as well as showing you, at a glance, a summary of all of your activities in a dashboard and provide alerts about potential activity conflicts.
Keep implementation easy: With Adobe Target, you’re able to inject your sites with complex, rules-based targeting immediately. What’s more, in addition to the necessary framework working out of the box, you have access to the industry’s broadest list of targeting rules: complex filters made as easy as the press of a button.