With a vast array of content available today and an increased focus on customer-centricity, it’s more critical than ever to ensure your organization is delivering the right content to the right person – and importantly – at the right time in order to create a more personalized customer journey.
Journey mapping is a proven strategy to help identify what customers truly need along their journey. At Paragon, we’re taking journey mapping to the next level by incorporating personalization plans as an output. By finding opportunities to tailor the experience according to where customers are in their personalized customer journey or buying cycle – the result is an increased likelihood of customer satisfaction, loyalty and conversion.
91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant [content]Accenture Survey
Creating a Personalized Customer Journey with “Engagement Planning”
An Engagement Plan is a concrete blueprint for activating the personalization plan on your web platform, considering both the personalized content and the point at which it is presented.
Journey maps on their own offer tremendous value to uncover what your customers’ experience along their journey with your brand. That includes how they feel, the friction points they encounter, or unanswered concerns – but most importantly where there are opportunities for you to improve their experience at critical touchpoints along their path to conversion. Having interviewed nearly 1,000 customers over our many years of consumer research, we often see that customer journeys follow a path – from pre-contemplation to contemplation to investigation to action. However, what a customer needs can vary widely along that path. Recognizing and anticipating key friction points and needs along the journey can help create a personalized customer journey that integrates content, functionality, and calls to action (CTAs) at exactly the right moment to optimize conversion.
For example, think about a woman who becomes pregnant. Like most healthcare consumers, their journeys are very nuanced. You can’t effectively communicate to all Labor and Delivery patients the same way. Women who are in the early phases of choosing care or preparing for delivery have very different needs than postpartum patients. Messaging, resources, and support services should be tailored along each stage of the care continuum.
You can find similar examples across industries. And it’s not just about personalizing content, but also functionality. Take financial services, for example. Let’s say a customer is at a point in their journey where they’ve started to sign up for a credit card, but for whatever reason didn’t quite finish. By personalizing functionality, the next time that user visits your website, you can show them where they were in their application process – and get them right back into enrollment if they so desire.
Simply put, Engagement Planning helps keep customers connected at pivotal points when they are most at risk to fall out of the sales funnel.
How it Works, Practically Speaking
At the highest level, there are three main steps an organization must take to actualize an engagement plan within their marketing automation platform (Sitecore, Episerver, etc.).
- Identify the Moments That Matter along a customer journey where they need the most support.
Journey mapping can help identify customer needs, challenges and behaviors (implicit or explicit) that shape the experience they have with your brand. Uncovering the Moments That Matter – opportunities to form a meaningful connection with your customers – is the first step to letting your personalization platform work for you.
- Build a personalization strategy and supported Information Architecture around these Moments that Matter.
Site components can be strategically interchanged for a more personalized customer journey with any modern personalization platform . After identifying the critical points in a journey that should be targeted, this next step is about building the IA to anticipate your customer’s personalized content needs, by:
- Architecting which specific components and pieces of content you will want to personalize within the experience.
- Wireframing to ensure that high-value real estate is decoupled from the template so that you can enable personalization rules to key portions of the page.
- Leverage technology platforms to swap content for personalization.
This is the “technical stuff”, but luckily, most modern technology platforms make it easy to replace or re-target content without technical support as long as you’ve done your planning ahead of time. Setting up a rule-based change within your platform – either from CRM, site behavior, or other data – you can employ your technology to deliver personalized content according to the strategic IA you’ve set forth.
3 Key Benefits of Engagement Planning and a More Personalized Customer Journey
There are a number of benefits to use-case personalization. Here are just a few:
- It helps organizations optimize their research & technology investment.
Organizations sometimes struggle with how best to apply journey map findings. Likewise, many organizations make large-scale purchases of technologies with personalization tools, but knowing where and when to best leveraging those tools can reveal a knowledge gap. Engagement Planning ensures that you’re strategically and technically prepared to “solve a problem” with a personalization plan. Without this appropriate planning – flexibility decreases, IT needs to be re-engaged, and subsequently, costs go up.
- It uncovers pivotal opportunities to foster meaningful, contextual experiences that help customers achieve their goals.
As marketers, we sometimes tend to turn on the “information fire hose” when what customers really need at a point in time is just sip of water. Engagement planning can inform the right message, to the right person, at the right time. By writing content to the customer’s journey or buying stage, you’re able to more likely help customers fulfill their needs without drowning them in unnecessary or untimely information.
- It can help improve the customer experience while simultaneously leading to greater conversion.
Today’s organizations are pressured to drive CX, net promoter scores and engagement – and a more personalized customer journey can help by building trust, confidence and longer-term loyalty. Engagement Planning helps promote the likelihood of conversion by anticipating customer needs and proactively serving up the most meaningful content.