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Designing personalised digital experiences

Last week the first Intergen Insights sessions were kicked off at our Auckland and Wellington offices. Over a drink and nibbles our clients and Intergenites learnt about digital Personalisation from digital specialists Mark Delaney, of NV Interactive, an Intergen partner, and Richard Brown, Intergen’s very own Practice Manager for the Digital and Experience Design team. 

Why do businesses need to think about digital personalisation?

In 2001 the movie Minority Report predicted we would be living in a world where Tom Cruise walks down a hallway or street and ads change and adapt to better target his character’s individual needs, heralding the beginning of digital personalisation. Now, 15 years down the line, these sorts of technologies are becoming a reality that the world is starting to live in. A simple example of this was Coke’s campaign a few years ago where you could buy a can or bottle with your name on it, with the success of the campaign resulting in the consumption of Coke rising 8-10% and the traffic on Coke’s Facebook page increasing exponentially.

Why do businesses need to think about digital personalisation?

Essentially, personalisation is all about knowing what a customer’s or user’s intent is, why they have visited your site, what their needs/wants/goals are and matching the type of journey they go on in your website to better target and suit the individual. Increasingly, digital personalisation will go from being a nice to have, to being mandatory for your site in order to have the effectiveness required. 

Mark’s four Ws or What do businesses need to consider?

Who will you be targeting?

Know your audience. This all depends on which market you are working in. Whether you have a B2B or B2C audience, you need to understand how to target messages so they are actually meaningful to them. It’s extremely important to do the research, understand the customer and constantly learn. Websites these days are never finished; they’re constantly changing and adapting.

Why is this audience important?

You need to know why your business is targeting someone and what that person is trying to achieve on your website, then what you would like to say to that person.

What do you want to say to them?

The possibilities are endless. You need to think about what the first message is that you want people to see when they come to your site and then what is the second, and so on. Messages can be tailored and personalised through a combination of content, such as blogs, offers and promotions.

Where can you personalise?

A homepage is a great place to start, but remember it’s not always the first place people come when entering a website, so personalisation needs to be considered laterally across the site as well.

How can businesses leverage digital personalisation?

  • The most straightforward place to start is with geolocation: simple yet powerful. If an organisation is running an event through the country and wants to target a specific town/city/region you can use geolocation to specifically give people in that area a discount or some other form of incentive or offer.
  • Behavioural tracking is huge. How many clicks has the customer performed through the site? Has the customer come into the site through a search engine? What was the referral site they were on where they clicked to enter the site? So, even for anonymous users a business can personalise through building up a profile of things the customer likes and doesn’t like.
  • Data insights is essentially taking behavioural tracking and putting it onto that data. This enables you to actually know a customer, even an anonymous one, allowing you to know some of their preferences and then link them up to a digital ecosystem to create one view of a customer. If a customer emails or calls the 0800 number, you can build a behavioural profile and then, with data insights, you can serve them up content on the website that fits in with what has been learnt.
  • If a company has a strong strategy in place then predictive is the next step. It enables the site to learn through machine learning, using algorithms to understand and track behaviour, which means that over time it will be able to actually adapt and provide relevant content based on previous key patterns.

Case Studies

Richard Brown reinforced Mark’s points with case studies from across the world.

Weather-based personalisation: Pizza Hut, UK

Pizza Hut in the UK uses personalisation to drive more customers into their restaurants. They first started using geolocation on their website to tell a customer where to find stores nearby and since then they have taken it a step further. Pizza Hut was losing revenue due to not having enough customers in one restaurant and then having another restaurant nearby at its maximum capacity and turning patrons away. They used personalisation to combat this problem using the Use my location function on their website which is now able to prioritise the Hut it recommends based on availability in a customer’s area, increasing the number of customers they can serve at one time.

They also started using promotions dynamically, depending on different factors; e.g. weather, time of day, with the majority of people tending to have a preference between dining in and takeaways based on these factors (bad weather: takeaway; good weather: dine in). Once they recognised this trend, Pizza Hut created promotions to entice customers into the less sought-after option.

Everything in one place: Gatwick Airport

London’s Gatwick Airport website was home to a plethora of disparate information and wanted to bring it all together in one easy, centralised place for travellers.

The solution to this was a single easy to use and search website that allows users to access anything they might want to know in one place, from information about shops and restaurants to how to get to the airport and hotels to stay in.

Next they added the ability for travellers to pin their flights to the website which then shows the traveller relevant information based on that, such as which baggage carousel your luggage will go to, where your connection is, the best way to get to the airport, and so on. By making some of these changes and personalising the Gatwick Airport website has doubled its social media reach and engagement with visitors on the site which, in turn, has significantly increased their revenue.

Where the sole hits the road: Asics and the Internet of Things

Asics are starting to live in the Internet of Things (IoT) world by putting sensors in their shoes which measure wear and tread and look at how a person runs. This is the beginning of a complete change to their business model, as they move towards delivering a service and not just simply the traditional product you can go and buy in stores. Asics is developing a process in which customers pay a set fee every year or two years and with that will have new running shoes delivered to their front door automatically, which match the information received from their sensors.

Intergen Insights Auckland July 2016Intergen Insights Auckland July 2016

Intergen Insights Wellington July 2016
Intergen Insights Wellington July 2016

Where do you start on your digital personalisation journey?

Every interaction a customer has with you, whether online or in store, creates a digital footprint which you can use to build profiles and learn about your users and customers, which then ensures you provide them with a better experience.

Different people want to see different information that relates to them. A content management system (CMS) is the backbone of digital experience, touching all your digital channels whether that is email, social, all different devices and now IoT is in the mix, too.

Adaptive personalisation

People are now choosing their own adventures where, as digital publishers, we now have the ability to react with rich personalised content. Before, everything we looked at was prescriptive, so we defined those rules and scoped it and those people are going to see those rules. Adaptive personalisation takes it to the next level, using behavioural learning to show the right content to the right people.


If you’d like to know more about the Intergen Insights events series, which comprise informal information and networking across the country on an occasional basis, please sign up to our events and communications list, letting us know your location of preference (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin): events@intergen.co.nz

Posted by: Breanna Mudge, Marketing & Communications Coordinator | 13 July 2016

Tags: UX, Intergen Insights, User Experience design

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