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True intent, the real secret of customer personalisation

My recent articles have covered the levels of personalisation techniques most programs use and how understanding motivation can make them work better. Now I’m going to share what a well-resourced personalisation program should have in order to move from contextual relevance to true conversion through personalisation.

Most personalisation programs only half succeed because they focus on past behaviours as seen in the data rather than the underlying motivation that drives that behaviour. I’ll give you an example of how little most marketers know.

Say you’re in a supermarket and you pick up a can of spaghetti. Most personalisation systems would then think you must like spaghetti. It would then do the online equivalent of changing all its aisles to have pasta and pasta sauce. But what drove you to pick up that can? Was it nostalgia? Convenience? Was it that you are extremely time-poor and that’s dinner for your kid that night? Let’s say you are time poor. Populating the aisles with pasta and pasta sauce is not going to dissuade you from buying a can of spaghetti because time is more important to you than spaghetti. What you’re really buying is time, not food.

As a marketer, once you understand the underlying motivators (the why) of a purchase decision you can contextualise the experience and benefit/s that link most strongly to the emotion to get the best result for both customer and brand.

We believe that personalisation programs, when done well, map customers’ motivational layers to data signals. We call this limbic profiling and it creates a much more powerful segmentation model to personalise against.

Why limbic profiling works

So what are limbic maps? A limbic map is a simple model that take qualitative interviews with customers and maps these back to a simple motivation. Basically, it’s a map that shows what emotions drive decisions throughout the buying journey to uncover the ‘why’ to the action.

Within the Australian market we have been championing the use of behavioural sciences in experimentation. Through our connection to GO Group we have been able to build on this practice with the introduction of limbic profiling for our experimentation and personalisation program, which is focused on understanding customer behaviour to deliver better and more relevant experiences. With limbic mapping we are able to go a step further in our work.

Put simply, limbic profiles reveal that people have three core interplaying motivations:

·      The need for creativity – a desire for self-expression etc

·      The need for balance – harmony, family, fitting in etc

·      The need for dominance – to do with thrills, power, accuracy/precision, detail etc

Depending on what the customer is buying and which stage in the buying journey they’re at, different parts of these motivation layers will come to play.

A great example of the use of the limbic map methodology is Mailchimp. If you look at Mailchimp’s homepage it’s very much a creative expression of what is possible. The homepage is heavy on the ‘creativity’ part of the map. But once you move to the price page, the creativity gives way to ‘dominance’ – all about precision – where the page is functional, filled with details of the prices and what is included in each package.

The Mailchimp site from homepage to price page plays to these limbic profiles. As users move from homepage to price, the website changes to meet the changing motivational mind frame customers move through to make their decision: ‘will this product allow me to express my creativity?’ to ‘what are the costs, benefits and inclusions for this product?’

The power in limbic personalisation is connecting the profiles to the data signals to help drive a contextual experience in connection with the visual experience. Globally, organisations adopting this strategy see a 3x to 10x return on their program.

So the next time someone comes to talk to you about rolling out a personalisation program, ask them about limbic profiling. If they say, ‘I don’t know’, you can be sure they only know 50% of what’s possible.

For a detailed presentation on motivation-driven personalisation, get in touch. This is super exciting stuff and I’d be more than happy to share.

And if you would like to know more about personalistion and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) please tune into the New Republique Podcast, Australia’s first podcast dedicated to all things CRO (conversion rate optimisation), experimentation and personalisation. You can listen and rate us via iTunes or Spotify