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What Las Vegas Taught Me About Personalization (Plus 5 Ways to be Customer-Centric)


Brooks Bell at Click Summit 2016

Founder and CEO Brooks Bell delivers her opening remarks at the 2016 Click Summit on May 19.

I love people watching.

I think it’s because you get to see people who are different from you, and from each other. Most of our lives are spent interacting with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. How often do we see people outside the circle of our everyday experiences?

That’s one thing the web, social media in particular, has done—exposed us to the different types of people in the world. It’s a great reminder that our little microcosm is not a representative sample of the world at large.

Segmentation lessons from Vegas

Las Vegas offers a top-notch opportunity for people watching.

A few months ago I was standing in the lobby of The Mirage, watching the crowds around me. I had a front-row seat to a fascinating cross-section of people.

I was in Vegas for Adobe Summit, where we talked a lot about the Age of the Customer Experience. The theme was that we should aspire to deliver personalized experiences to all the particular demographics. After all, the technology makes it easier than ever.

Looking at the people around me, I realized they are just like our website visitors.

Different types of people at Las Vegas

I began to think about personalization. What’s the strategy to deliver these experience to all these types of people?

How can we possibly hope to capture and understand how to speak to these vastly different segments—even if technology makes it easier than it’s ever been before?

It occurred to me that even though each person had their own identity, effectively occupying their own unique segment, they were in Vegas for one of only a few reasons:

  • Gamble
  • See a show
  • Attend a conference
  • Work

And that applies to your website as well.

There are a lot of different types of people who visit your site, from a 24-year-old graduate student living in suburban Arizona to a father of four who’s a fervent Chicago Bulls fan. But there are only a few reasons for them to visit. (What a relief.)

Trying to target the vast nuances of your audience isn’t just a daunting task—it’s likely a colossal waste of time.

We need to start reframing the question. It’s not “Who’s coming to my site?” but “Why are they coming there?”

If you want to be customer-centric, start by focusing on customer intent.

Download now: 5 ways to be customer-centric

Why it’s hard to be customer-centric

Customer-centricity is a fundamental change in mindset. It can’t happen overnight, and no one is going to do it for us.

There are also significant challenges to making the shift:

  • Resources. Optimizing one experience is hard enough. If you want to manage several experiences, you need to be able to allocate the people and time.
  • Statistical significance. This is the foundation of a successful testing program, and the more you narrow your segments, the harder it is to get.
  • Revenue. Customer-centricity threatens growth because the payoff may not be immediate.

I’m inviting you to take a risk with me. If we’re committed to taking customer-centricity seriously, then let’s stop focusing so much on revenue. Let’s let go of short-term thinking and the need for quick-fix results.

I believe this is the right path for our industry. It’s an opportunity for us to take smart, creative approaches to measuring success.

It’s an opportunity to lead the industry by creating customer experiences that are relevant, original, delightful.

It’s an opportunity to do right by our customers and, in the process, enjoy long-term rewards.

Will you join me?

Download our one-page report with actionable tips: 5 Ways to Be Customer-Centric

Brooks Bell helps top brands profit from A/B testing, through end-to-end testing, personalization, and optimization services. We work with clients to effectively leverage data, creating a better understanding of customer segments and leading to more relevant digital customer experiences while maximizing ROI for optimization programs. Find out more about our services.