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    Web Personalization for One-to-One Web Marketing

    Today's World Wide Web market is becoming more competitive, so it's more important than ever to provide customers with an interactive, personal Web experience.

    According to a Forrester Research report, "As the general content of the Web gets broader, individuals will cease aimless surfing activity and gravitate toward sites that deliver products and services customized to their needs. Sites must plan now to respond to this expectation or risk being left behind as the Web changes to a personal medium."

    Web personalization allows you to have a Web site that tailors Web content to a Web user's preferences and other profile information. In addition, a personalization system logs every Web page displayed to every user so you can develop a "clickstream" view of what they saw, when they saw it, and for how long. Just imagine what you could learn about your audience with a complete understanding of their Web usage.

    The personalized Web site provides benefits for your customers and your company. For Web users, they will enjoy receiving information that fits their unique needs. In this very competitive Web marketplace it is easy for users to comparison shop and switch back and forth between Web-based organizations. With personalization you are able to form loyal and long-lasting relationships with each individual. Today, Web personalization is cost-effective that is easy to implement, so you can provide this special service to your Web customers rapidly.

    Whether you provide products, information, or produce an on-line multi-player game, A personalized Web site gives you the freedom and flexibility to gather information about each individual in your audience and present them with custom Web pages - created in real-time "on the fly."

    Benefits of Personalization

    • Form lasting and loyal relationships with customers by profiling individualized content, information, offerings and services. As it has been stated many times before, it is more profitable and easier to sell to existing customers.

    • Learn more about customers--learn and understand the why and how they prefer to do business with your organization. This type of customer information is key to success in business today and into the future.

    • Web personalization coupled with tracking provides you with a powerful tool to monitor the performance of your Web site--what works, what doesn't. Personalization can help your find out what makes your audience "click."

    What Personalization Can Do for You

    In addition to being able to store and retrieve information in an individual's profile "on the fly," you can also create "wizards" - software that can analyze information in the profile database and make recommendations or comments specific to the individual.

    Data from the profile database and clickstream log files can be used by content creators to understand which material is used more than others, how long material is viewed, and in what order material is accessed. Producers of television programs use similar audience data based on samples (diaries, interviews, set monitors, etc.) to understand the viewing habits of the audience. With personalization, you can gather detailed information about every member of your audience -- and tailor the presentation to each individual.

    Cliff Allen is the co-author of the book One-to-One Web Marketing; 2nd Ed., published by John Wiley & Sons, and has consulted with companies on strategic marketing for 20 years.

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