Over the last month, I’ve addressed the challenges marketers face as they begin to personalise experiences for their customers and the trends that affect the advancement of an organisation’s digital marketing. Now to the most exciting part: A framework to help you start down the path to personalisation in the digital world. The purpose of the framework is to provide companies with a model to set their own paths based upon their specific priorities. Each company is starting from a different place and will advance along their own unique path. There are a lot of digital marketing maturity models out there, but many of them are very rigid and linear. The reality is that digital marketing advancement is not linear and therefore, there is no single, prescribed path to personalisation.

I want to provide a little background behind why we developed the framework and provide a few real-life examples that align with each of the five areas of digital marketing advancement. The framework shows the importance of beginning the journey with a solid data and measurement strategy. It then breaks down each of the following five areas of digital marketing in terms of what it means to advance in each:

Each area of the framework has a spectrum from less advanced to more advanced, differentiated generally as follows:

  • Less advanced (the left side) is categorised as being more tactical, manual and siloed. There are little to no processes established and the tactics are not aligned with a company’s strategic goals.
  • More advanced (the right side) aligns with a strategic, process-driven and institutionalised approach that is not just about technology.

Every client we work with is at a different stage in advancing their digital marketing due to differing priorities and resources. Advancing in one area does not imply being advanced in others and a particular area is not necessarily dependent on the one prior. Technology is also not the complete answer and will only get you part way there. Expertise plays a pivotal role and is always the difference between less mature and more mature organisations. Here are a few examples of companies making clear progress to advance their digital marketing:

Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the country serving 1.3 million members. It has an extensive advertising program using traditional print, billboard, radio, television, mailings, external online advertising, as well as digital marketing through paid search, ad/key word, social and more. PenFed has done an excellent job establishing a solid measurement foundation. The company may have a lot of traditional channels, but all are tagged in a way that is measurable. The PenFed team wanted to create an online experience that helps to increase applications for the credit union’s many services, including loans and credit cards. They set a specific objective to improve the online application process for loans and branded credit cards. They then spent the time measuring what matters within the online application flow and were able to not only optimise the specific landing page, but reduce the application process to minimise abandonment activity. For PenFed, success came not just from the technology, but applying the right expertise and processes at the right time.

Nationwide Insurance understands its customers and has established 12 different business segments based upon products their clients held (e.g. current auto customers); actions they did online (e.g. “Visitors who started an auto quote”); and where they are geographically. This level of audience segmentation provides a solid foundation for Nationwide to deliver more relevant messaging to its online visitors.

Based upon a solid segmentation strategy, Nationwide Insurance is able to tailor content specific to each group of website visitors. With Webtrends optimize, the company was able to change the hero banner in its home page carousel based upon what segment the visitor is in – for example, a visitor who has auto insurance will see a promotion for property insurance and the “multi-policy” discount.

A large European bank has successfully joined its Webtrends Optimize web data and its sales data together in order to fully understand customer behaviours across channels. Because of that, the bank can identify incomplete loan applications on its website, and quickly deliver those valuable “leads” to the branches for proactive follow-up. The result has been a three-fold increase in in-branch loan applications that originated online.

We worked with an advanced client in the airline industry who wanted to provide specific offers for its high-value customers through website personalisation. We helped the company identify which visitors on its website were high-value customers, understand what product offerings they already have and intervene in-the-moment when they exhibited intent to exit the form they were viewing. We triggered an overlay that popped up showing a targeted offer. This was an extremely effective way of selectively salvaging abandonment activity, generating lifts in bookings of 16-20 percent across three individual segments.

Each of these clients focused on advancing in a different area of digital marketing. We worked with them to identify where to start and helped them advance their capabilities in the area that was right for their business.