Co-authored by Allison Cazalet 

Has the topic of personalization come up within your organization recently? Chances are that personalization not only comes up, it’s also a foremost priority: 68% of the firms we surveyed in our Q1 2016 Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey said personalization was one of the most important initiatives for their business today. Why? Because personalization is one of the best ways to contextually engage with customers across a variety of touch points. But many organizations we speak with today struggle to get initiatives off the ground and struggle to prove the business value of personalization.

To help organizations get started on their personalization program, my colleague Ted Schadler and I researched how best-in-class organizations today have operationalized personalization. The most successful firms we spoke with created a four-pronged personalization program that Forrester calls POST:

People – Before doing anything else, successful firms ask and answer this question: Which customers am I trying to reach and serve? In order to implement a successful personalization program, you will need to do the same by researching your customers in their context so that you know which ones to prioritize.  

Objectives – The next step to a successful personalization program is to make sure you and your personalization team have an in depth understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. You must keep this simple. Determine what business outcome you are optimizing, the experiences you will personalize, and what data you need to make it all happen.

Strategy – At this point, you need to know how you are going to meet your objectives. Without a well thought out plan, your personalization program is in jeopardy. You’ll need to figure out who is going to do what, how much money you have to spend, and how to get cross-business stakeholders involved.

Technology – Identifying the technology you will need to set you up for success will be your final step. A multi-channel approach that encompasses commerce, content, presentation/delivery, and analytics is critical in selecting technology solutions for personalization.

Our recent report, Create A Pragmatic Personalization Program, expands on how to use our four pronged approach to achieve personalization success. We provide tips and real life examples of how companies have successfully gotten up and running with a personalization program. We also encourage Forrester customers to do an inquiry if they have any lingering questions after reading the report.