A website that responds to the needs of the user by displaying and formatting relevant content is known as an Adaptive Website. This article examines the rise of adaptive websites and the things that should be considered to use them effectively.
Marketing has always been about how to craft the right message to the right person at the right time. This is the crux of advertising, probably the most well-known function of marketing. As the world of digital communications expands so does the noise and interruption associated with it, and it would appear that anything meaningful has more potential now than ever before to be lost.
This however is surprisingly not the case. In fact the opposite is true. Never before has there been more potential to target the right user with the right messages and the enabler for this lies in measurement and gathering business intelligence. Analysis is required as an ongoing event and live modification of messaging in the right way should be a consideration for any business to stay constantly relevant.
This sounds complicated however it is actually quite easy when the right technology is setup in the right way for technical specialists and marketers to pre-plan user experiences or act on information almost in real time. This means not only knowing what your users, or audience, are doing, but also what they are likely to want to do. This means you need to know what has happened, what is happening and what is likely to happen. This can be deduced by analysis together with knowing your audience.
The traditional understanding is that content management systems (CMSs) sit behind website communication and the use of user personas and experience mapping is the way to craft user journeys and to display a meaningful hierarchy of information. However this has been superseded with newer applications of information in newer systems and this is the way the industry is evolving to cut through and eliminate noise.
There are several considerations that are required to enable the most effective way to do this.
Relevancy is the single most important factor. This can be gathered by market research, that is, knowing what your market wants. There is nothing new in this. However, through business intelligence this can be refined and predicted. Relevancy is the driving factor behind the rise of content marketing and the phenomena of behavioural re-targeting. It could be said that content marketing is as old as communication itself, and that behavioural re-targeting could always be deduced by experience and intuition. However as the right technology is used in the right way content marketing and behavioural re-targeting have become two of the largest growing areas in online communications and the correct analysis leads to decisions based on factual information, which is quantifiable and measurable.
The next consideration is User Experience. This is an old concept having its roots in interface design for aircraft, ergonomics for office chairs, and product development as well as general ‘form follows function’, a well-loved design maxim. A maxim is a thing that gives rise to thoughts that motivate action. As the craft of user experience has been absorbed into online practices progressive user experience professionals are moving beyond information architecture, personas, prototyping and wireframes and embracing market research and business intelligence. The tools are becoming marketing research reports, data warehouses, relevant measurements of user behaviour and predictive analysis.
Finally there are the Delivery Platforms. Replacing the CMS is the new genre of online content management, Experience Management Platforms, or EMPs. These are the new generation management systems that have the capability to be loaded with predefined goals and content across different user types with the capability to serve specific information, both content and layout, to specific users who prequalify themselves so as to belong to a certain group. The users must be known and the EMP must be set up correctly. Essentially the EPM analyses the users incoming source URL and what they did to get to the site and continues to analyse the user’s online behaviour, building up a profile and matching it to the EPMs predefined parameters. EPMs automatically create the most relevant user experiences possible by tailoring information. This is content marketing taken to the current extreme and relevancy is enhanced by the concepts present in behavioural retargeting. EPMs power adaptive websites.
So how does all of this come together? Firstly marketing needs to be strong and it must understand business intelligence. It needs to know online information systems and it must be able to convert technical analytical data into meaningful information. Secondly technical specialists must be able to understand the nature of marketing and the relevance of messaging and how this influences and is influenced by user engagement. In short this means that marketers and information system specialists must be able to plan and create together, with an equal weight based on communication and technology.
Enterprise resource planning must acknowledge that marketing and technology are no longer separate in the application of techniques of relevancy and both disciplines have a critical role to play. New EMPs do not have traditional owners. They are being set up and managed by a hybrid of the two disciplines in exciting ways that are seeing collaboration between two sets of people and two areas that have usually been separated or have had two different agendas.
The way forward is to know that there is intelligence behind effectively setting up and using EMPs and partnering opportunities should consider whether or not the supplier of the EMP understand marketing or not. Rather than brokering a compromise which seems to be the normal way of instigating online communications, the best approach is to know what is possible followed by strategy and an effective implementation. Understanding EMPs and what and who needs to be involved is the first step in ensuring that relevancy is a priority, noise is removed and the most effective communication is placed in front of users. The second step is refinement and constant attention, and the third step is to maximise the potential in predictive analysis.
Within the enormous amount of digital communications currently infiltrating and interrupting everyone, noise can be defeated in favour of relevancy. The easiest way to do this is to know the capabilities of EMPs and what commitments are required to use them effectively, know your partners and be prepared to rethink content, how you work with it and who you need to work with.
Let us come and speak to you and explain how something like Sitecore and our expert team of consultants can make this a reality for you.