For digital marketers, creating relevancy is crucial. There are too many channels and too much content that is blindly directed to the masses, and especially with the increased use of mobile phones and tablets, consumers are expecting a personal experience. While the concept of personal computing was somewhat personal, a mobile device is highly personal. Now more than ever, it is critically important for digital marketers to be able to give consumers the right information, in the right format, at the right time and most importantly -- on the device of choice.

Implicit and Explicit Personalization

Achieving relevancy begins with personalization. There are two primary types of personalization: implicit and explicit. Implicit personalization takes place when a user visits a site and indirectly provides information. The user is not offering any information, but based on their implicit actions and choices, the site adapts and provides relevant content. Sites such as Amazon and eBay make assumptions and recommendations to users based on what they are already purchased or clicked (i.e., “people who like this item might also like this item”). With implicit personalization, the idea is to give the user the sense that the website was designed to meet his or her needs, and that the user will feel very comfortable in finding the right information without getting lost.

With explicit personalization, the user is willing to give up information about who they are and what they want. An example of this is when a user discloses his or her gender or city of residence. The site is then modeled to contain content that specifically relates to these requirements and choices. From these explicit actions by the user, marketers can then create meaningful and highly relevant user experiences.

Consumers Online Want More Personalized Messages

Mobile phones and tablets have truly changed the way we live our lives and continue to do so. We live in a segmented world. People are no longer interested in being addressed generically, but specifically. As consumers spend more time online -- especially on their mobile phones and tablets -- digital marketers need to be very aware of the way in which individuals interact with their devices.

According to Forrester, the tablet PC market is growing rapidly, reaching 10.3 million US consumers in 2010 and estimated to reach 82 million in 2015. Another source cites that 28 percent use their tablet as their primary PC and 43 percent spend more time each day on their tablet than on their desktop or laptop.

When it comes to creating relevant user experiences, marketers must be aware of how individuals interact with their mobile devices. People are on the go and seeking quick answers. They are not leisurely browsing. It is imperative to create a user experience architecture that allows people to make quick choices. According to the National Retail Federation, less than a third of retailers have a fully implemented mobile strategy, which at a minimum should include a mobile-friendly version of their main site and potentially might include an application available for download by iPhone, Droid or BlackBerry users. Shoppers report that it is far less enjoyable to hunt down a new pair of boots when it requires zooming in and out of a site that isn’t oriented to the mobile screen.

Relevancy through Three Lenses

We think about creating relevancy through three lenses: modifications to the creative experience, content presentation and user experience. As a first step we recommend that marketers create a subset of content for the mobile version of the site. This subset of content should be organized into functional tasks or bursts of information that can be quickly delivered to a mobile platform. Once this is completed, marketers can begin organizing the mobile version of the site through the relevancy lenses.

  1. Remember the overall context is different…same content
  2. Additional dimensions to the mobile browser…when they are taken advantage of, people think apps are “cool”
  3. Marketing to mobile is not just HTML….video, apps and text messaging

Refocus on Driving a Better Customer Experience

Marketers, it’s time for an awakening. Brands must be experienced in personalized ways with tailored messages. Focus less on your brand projection, more on how consumers are experiencing your website, whether on a mobile device or otherwise.

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