Personalization. The word that digital marketers and vendors cannot stop saying. “Personalization is the future.” “We need personalization!” It’s new. It’s shiny. And perhaps you’re tempted to dive right in.
But at Clearhead, while we are champions of better digital experiences through data, from the very start we reverse engineer every solution to the formative question — “What problem are you solving?”.
Recently, we’ve been working with data-driven marketers to think of personalization not as the answer or the future, but as a means for solving segment-specific problems through the leveraging of explicit and implicit end user data. We’ve tried to demystify the term, explain it in relation to terms like “AB/MV Testing” and provide some ways to approach segmentation.
“Recently, we’ve been working with data-driven marketers to think of personalization not as the answer or the future, but as a means for solving segment-specific problems through the leveraging of explicit and implicit end user data.”
Most importantly, though, we’ve discussed personalization through the lens of Problem Solution Mapping (PSM). PSM is a unifying method for continuously optimizing around a common set of goals, problems & solutions, researched & validated with data every step of the way. Problems are mapped to clearly defined goals and are then rigorously researched, via usability research, analytics & customer feedback, to distinguish noise from signals.
Rather than beginning with the solution–in this case personalization–we ask our clients to take a step back. Our take is simple: everything is an experiment. While there are an infinite number of experiments we could test, as leaders we want to focus our resources–our time, our budget and our headcount–on the changes that are most likely to make a material impact on our business.
How do we do this? First we ask: What problem are we trying to solve? Then: How will we know if our experiment was successful? Only once we have identified–and agreed as a team–on these key questions are we able to determine the best way to deliver better experiences for our customers through personalization.
I recently shared the presentation below with a room full of ecommerce leaders in New York City. The real “aha moment” happened when they realized that PSM is not simply an attractive framework for approaching personalization, but rather a methodology for running an entire business. How do we get a global roster of diverse roles and talented individuals focused on the most important problems, and then solve them for the betterment of both the company and our customers?
In fact that’s the very question that led Ryan, Sam and me to start Clearhead. We wanted to develop a clear way for leaders to discover–and solve–problems worth solving. Everyday we help the leading brands do this through data-driven testing and optimization. But the real magic happens before the first test ever starts.