Remember PURLs or Personalized URLs? I certainly do, as it was my job to build PURL microsites for hundreds of forward-reaching direct mail marketers over the course of several years. Tie that together with variable printing and POW! – your customers’ names are not only on their mail but on a website too. Dazzling! Yes, we even got the calls asking to remove individuals that thought we were data-voodoo practitioners. This was early personalized marketing and it was not that long ago. In fact, it is still very much a thing. In most cases (and for us specifically), this was short-term, single-use personalization. It was great for mid-sized organizations, and it took a village! For many, the type of personalization could still be a viable option, but for large organizations and complex ongoing marketing programs, you need an enterprise technology stack that can grow with you. As best as the term is, you need to be future-proof as you reach for the prize of omni-channel personalized user experiences.
Present day: it is more common than not to see large Global 2000® companies updating their technology stack toward the goal of personalization. It is usually a retrofit, or lift-and-shift from their existing home-grown solution, and it is never easy. Marketers are driving the change, and are driven by consumers’ expectations of the Amazon or Netflix experience. These companies cannot afford to be laggards in Customer Experience.
Leaders in personalization see growth and an upward trajectory, where those who stick to traditional marketing fall behind and eventually fade to obscurity. A powerful reminder of this for me was the recent sad moment of seeing an over-the-top Liquidation Sale ad for the respected brands of Bon Ton. A once retail giant that ran double-truck newspaper ads every Sunday, reduced to caps-lock type over bright yellow and red and (probably…oh man…) promotional flags! – Out of Business.
Dark, right? Sure, but this is WHY we fight to personalize. This is WHY marketers are controlling more of the digital purse-strings – to react – deliver relevance to stay relevant.
To fight this good fight, you must have the support of your entire organization, and a runway to succeed. Whether you are new to this journey or several years in, it IS a journey. It will take time and money, and if understood and embraced properly, it will not have an end date, but rather, goals and guideposts.
I was recently interviewed by Coveo around what I am seeing in my Perficient Digital role as a Sitecore Strategy MVP around retro-fitting websites toward the goal of personalization.
We talk about technology, best-practices, and the importance of the broader team. Please read the interview, share, and hopefully it can help align your leadership to embrace this critical undertaking. The road to personalization is long but you will get there – and it is worth it.
As a 3-time Sitecore Strategy MVP and Solutions Architect on Perficient’s Microsoft team, Rick provides insight, training, and a passion for a fully-realized potential of the Sitecore Customer Experience Platform. He utilizes his years of hands-on Sitecore know-how and certification to help deliver clear solutions and actionable results for marketers – both new to the platform, or looking to take it to the next level of maturity.