You can’t buy personalization. I promise.

You can’t buy personalization. Why not? Because it’s not a single technology point solution. Don’t get me wrong: when it comes to technology point solutions you can buy product recommendation tools. You can buy testing tools that allow personalization. You can buy audience segmentation tools. You can even buy a data warehouse. But you can’t buy personalization. So why not?

To personalize in a meaningful way you need to bring together disparate data sources and teams that might not typically ever operate outside their silos.

Similar to testing, we find that lack of technology isn’t the problem when it comes to personalization. According to our latest research, while 64% of retailers have the technology they tend to lack the process and rigor needed to execute their personalization efforts.

But before we get too far into that, let’s define personalization. At Clearhead we define personalization as the targeting of an experience based on one or more of the following:

  • Actions a customer takes (behaviors)
  • A particular sector of a population (demographics)
  • Attitudes, aspirations, affinities and other psychological criteria (psychographic)

True personalization also entails your organization having the right people, process, technology and culture in place to make that experience happen. I know that’s a mouth full. And probably just gave you a slight headache to think how that all comes together at your organization.

That said, it’s really important to understand everything that goes into personalization. So how do you know where your team is when it comes to personalization? How do you measure and define it?

The Clearhead Personalization Maturity Journey

That’s why we’ve created the Clearhead Personalization Maturity Journey. This journey is custom for each of our clients and features 74 (and growing) individual points of data that are collected to determine your company’s individual journey.

A preview of Clearhead’s Personalization Maturity Model. Dive into the details:

Don’t dismiss this as your typical consulting maturity model. We’ve based this on our existing industry leading Digital Optimization Maturity Journey. We believe every company is on its own unique journey when it comes to personalization, but many of the capabilities and process, technology and cultural mindset are shared and can be measured.

So how does this journey work?

Clearhead determines where our clients are on their personalization journey through Problem Solution Mapping (PSM), interactive gamestorming workshops, proprietary data points and questions, stakeholder interviews, examining the raw data sources and surveys.

Through all of this we measure your company’s journey across the following:

  • Culture
  • Desire
  • People
  • Process
  • Technology
  • Insights + analytics
  • Learning + development
  • Audience Discovery
  • Data Layer / Data Supply Chain
  • Audience Experience Layer

Altogether, in the final analysis, we form a complete picture of where you are on your journey and the operational steps to take to accelerate your personalization efforts. We think the beauty of this model is that it can be universal for retail brands, tech companies, financial services, travel brands and more.

Below are the stages of the Clearhead Personalization Maturity Journey. As you read through these summaries, where would you guess you are on your personalization journey? More importantly, what’s missing and what’s next for you?

The Traditional Company

An executive or director is thinking about buying a personalization tool or has just bought one. There is no data or definition for the customer audiences that are to be targeted, and no specific experiences created for customers.

The Emerging Company

Testing and personalization have a key owner. Customer audiences are being defined, and some data for those audiences is collected, though it remains siloed within the organization. The data may not be completely trusted across the company. Personalized experiences may be in place on a single channel, but they are not being measured against a control.

The Operational Company

Customer audiences have been well defined, and the data used to measure them is trusted throughout the company. Data silos are beginning to break down, and personalized experiences are being measured for their impact. A strategy for prioritizing problems takes the place of ad hoc dabbling with experiences.

The Impactful Company

Doing everything in the Operational phase but starting to focus on segments and personalization, not just testing everything that people want. You have a strong roadmap that is defined by researching the biggest capital P problems. The culture starts to change to test and learn. Using your digital data, you have the confidence to test any digital experience. Desire level is very high.

The Unicorn Transformational Company

Everyone across departments and across channels is starting to believe that everything is an experiment tied to goals, problems and hypotheses. Using true omni-channel data you can test and personalize everything with confidence. Desire to be test and learn is baked into DNA of all teams.

That last one rarely exists in the wild. And if it does, it’s usually a company that was born in the digital age. Again this journey is different from a traditional model, since our journey model is designed to shift your focus on where you are and where you are heading, not where your competitors are.

Embracing Personalization

We firmly believe that the best companies don’t just have one person running personalization. They don’t just buy something to solve for it either. Instead in transformational companies it’s something that multiple people in often siloed business units must work together on to get right.

So why should you care about our model? Simple. Because organizing and understanding where you are on your personalization journey sets a clear north star for where you want to be and how you define personalization, as well as how you want it to create value for your customers. And now you know it’s not purely a tech point solution.

You can’t just go out and buy personalization, but If you’re interested in finding your north star for personalization we can help.

With that said, where are you on your journey? Leave us your thoughts in the comments or contact us to learn more.