Context: The Key to Personalizing Customer Experiences

Posted: March 28, 2017

Personalization has proven its worth. According to research from Monetate, 88 percent of companies which exceeded their revenue predictions for 2016 had developed personalization strategies that same year.

What were these businesses doing right? Successfully personalizing customer experiences involves identifying the context of each digital interaction and using that context to inform future engagements with those, and similar individuals across social media accounts, websites, mobile apps and other digital properties.

This method, pioneered by Sitecore, is a practice known as context marketing, and it's a key component of delivering personalized experiences online.

Three components of context marketing

Sitecore found that, in order to successfully implement context marketing, your enterprise must develop three capabilities:

  1. Contextual intelligence reveals the who, what, where and when behind each customer's decision. It consists of demographic, behavioral and social data that reveals how particular individuals have interacted with your business in the past.
  2. Content management entails determining which collateral (web articles, photos, videos, discounts, etc.) you should deliver to specific customers at certain times.
  3. Omnichannel automation is the practice of distributing the aforementioned content based on the context of certain situations.

How do these three components work together? Let's use an example.

How context marketing fits into personalization

Suppose you sell instruments, gear and other products to musicians. John recently joined a high-energy punk band as a guitar player, and is in need of an amp. Before visiting one of your stores, he browses your online inventory through a smartphone and clicks on a few Marshall and Peavey products. On the product pages, he selects a couple of helpful reviews and spends about 2 minutes reading each one.

Already, your contextual intelligence platform knows that John:

●       Used a smartphone to interact with your website.

●       Is a guitar player (based on the fact that he looked up guitar amps).

●       Likes Peavey and Marshall brands.

●       May be interested in buying a Peavey or Marshall amp, because he read two reviews.

●       Is located 5 miles from one of your stores (based on smartphone's location tracking feature)

Using this information, your content management system delivers a personalized message to John's smartphone the next time he visits your mobile site, letting him know that the amps he researched are in a store near his location, and that he's more than welcome to try them out in person.

That's an example of how your company delivered a personalized interaction based on a previous engagement. How your brand interacts with John after he leaves the store depends on what occurs during the visit.

How to enable context marketing

Integrating context marketing into your customer-facing operations mean knowing how to leverage technology capable of supporting contextual campaigns. First, your solution must provide contextual intelligence, content management and omnichannel automation.

Second, the technology must be capable of integrating with existing customer relationship management systems. This enables the contextual intelligence platform to gather contact information, previous sales and other data on each customer, providing a better informed personalization strategy.

Third, you want to work with a Sitecore Partner capable of integrating the context marketing technologies into your operations. Look for Sitecore specialists who can identify your business goals and determine how the Sitecore platform may empower you to reach those objectives.