Technology

So, You Want to Personalize Your Products?

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Jun 1, 2015

Three important questions to answer before your association adds personalization to its products and services.

As Ray van Hilst, director of client strategy and marketing at Vanguard Technology, puts it, the technology of personalization is becoming the easy part. Deciding what to personalize, and why, “that’s where the hard work comes in.”

A few key questions to consider as you ponder personalization:

Will personalization be based on a member’s profile or behavior? A user might say she’s interested in one topic, but her web-page visits might indicate she’s interested in another. You’ll need to decide which information to act on. Behavior may get you a more granular view of an individual, but it may also be more costly to track.

Will the member know that the product or service is personalized? Personalization can be an attractive selling point to users who want highly tailored service, so you have multiple layers of transparency to choose from: The user is unaware the product is personalized, the user knows the product is personalized but doesn’t control the settings, or the user can manually customize the product to his or her own liking.

What is the business goal? The complexity of personalization means it can get expensive quickly. Best to have clear goals in mind. Are you trying to drive purchases, registrations, or membership recruitment? You could also aim simply to better surface relevant, still-useful content from your archives. Van Hilst likens such an effort to NBC’s old slogan for summer reruns. “Their campaign was ‘If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.’ That applies to so much web content,” he says.

Joe Rominiecki

Joe Rominiecki, manager of communications at the Entomological Society of America, is a former senior editor at Associations Now. More »

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