You can't have it all! Or can you? GDPR has made us more aware of how personal data is captured and ring-fenced but on the flipside, this data is needed to personalize web experiences. Peter Schwartz, the renowned futurist, talks about this in a recent Salesforce blog and summed it up in one sentence:

"On one hand, consumers want greater personalization and on the other, privacy"

For web personalization to work, the rendering algorithms need data, preferably before the visitor arrives on the website. This data comes in three flavors or categories:

  • Circumstantial: The visitor's location and the referring source, like an Adword or web advertisement. This data helps you tailor the website even if no other information is available.
  • Behavioral: The pages a visitor views, the time they spend on each page, how far down the page they scrolled, etc. A visitor who views a case study, for example, tells us they are very interested in how a product is used.
  • Personal: The data collected when a visitor completes a web form. Their field entries are typically posted to a CRM or marketing automation solution (MAS). The values inside these systems tell us if the visitor is a current customer, is currently targeted, has had previous interactions, their pipeline status and other private data that is kept against their record. The data can include information collected from other channels, like email click-throughs, social media, and mobile engagements.

The circumstantial and behavioral data is collected on the website, while the personal data is often stored in a CRM or MAS. When the data from all three categories are combined in a CRM or MAS it becomes a Unified Customer Profile.

"There is great value in having all the data in the CRM and/or the MAS. This data is then called a Unified Customer Profile" 

 So where is the great value?

  • The circumstantial and behavioral data can be used by the sales team in the CRM/MAS to select the best responder, research and prepare for sales calls, help upsell or cross-sell products, and gauge the prospect's level of interest 
  • Any Unified Customer Profile can be the source of data used to personalize both the website and/or the marketing automation emails and any other customer interactions. For example, the data can be modified in the CRM/MAS (after learning new information), then pushed back to the website for improved personalization.

 Unified Customer Profile 

It is possible to personalize a website without accessing private data using only circumstantial and behavioral data:

  • On arrival, ask the visitor to select a preset profile and personalize on the chosen profile 
  • Personalize on the fly based on the current and previous website behavior (like Sitecore)

The real value in personalization is achieved with a Unified Customer Profile in the CRM/MAS. This is because all the differentiation data is available in one place (FuseIT's S4S is an example of achieving this with Sitecore and Salesforce). This approach also protects an individual's personally identifiable data (PII) by stowing it in a secure central repository, like Salesforce, that has bulletproof protection, and GDPR compliant capabilities.

"84% of marketing executives surveyed describe identifying users, personalizing messaging and measuring impact as 'very important to growth'"

To summarize, personalization rewards both the visitor, with a tailored experience, and the sales team, with a rich source of prospect data. Private data (PII) should also be kept in a CRM/MAS along with the website analytics data so it becomes available to personalize the website, emails, and/or other interactions with the prospect or customer.

FuseIT's experience in this space is implementing the concepts of the Unified Customer Profile using Sitecore, Salesforce and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. To learn more about how to add value to your business in this way please contact us for more information.