How to Develop a Retail Marketing Personalization Roadmap in 5 Steps

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A Boston Consulting Group study encompassing over 50 companies across 10 industries found that the lack of a plan was one of the leading reasons organizations were unable to achieve the level of personalization they desired for their customers.

Luckily, developing a plan for personalization doesn’t mean uprooting your organization or investing in expensive solutions right off the bat.

Here are five achievable steps to developing a retail marketing personalization roadmap that will boost your profitability by helping you define your personalization goals, timelines and leaders.

1. Understand Where You’re Starting, Define Where You’re Going

Understanding the current state of retail marketing personalization in your organization is important for defining your goals for its growth.


Therefore, creating a robust roadmap all starts with asking some very important questions. While these questions should be unique to your organization, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • What is the current retail marketing experience like for customers? What do they wish it was like?
  • Where in this experience is there room for personalization?
  • How do your existing processes and platforms help your organization achieve personalization — and how do they hold you back?
  • Which of your business goals will improved marketing personalization impact?

Focus groups made up of existing customers, people in your ideal audience and of course your own marketing team can answer these questions for you. Using their answers, you’ll be able to define well-informed goals for your new and improved retail marketing personalization strategy.

2. Prioritize Those Newly-Minted Personalization Goals

With your retail marketing personalization goals decided upon, it’s time to organize the order in which you’re going to tackle each.

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are two questions that can help you prioritize goals successfully:

  • What can you achieve right now without acquiring any new resources?
  • Which tasks will have the most visible, positive impact in your organization?

To build morale and buy-in (more on that later), work toward personalization goals that meet these criteria before diving into more challenging goals.

3. Appoint Leaders Across Departments

When a task becomes everyone’s job, it inevitably ends up being no one’s job. Don’t let that fate befall your retail marketing personalization goals.

Now is the time to account for how the completion of each goal is going to be carried out. First, figure out which departments will be involved in each goal. Then, appoint a leader from each of those departments to own any tasks associated with “their” goal(s).

Keep in mind leaders aren’t only the people who are already in leadership roles — they can be anyone who knows their department like the back of their hand and/or is dedicated to the cause of improving your retail marketing personalization.

4. Dive Into a Detailed Timeline

Developing a timeline for achieving improved retail marketing personalization goes beyond simply scribbling a launch date on your calendar.

Creating a timeline that truly propels the project forward means diving deep into every monetary investment, every new piece of technology and every bit of support that you’ll need to get each goal — and the overall project — across the finish line.

Your timeline is the accountability partner, the morale booster and one of the most impactful resources you’ll have when it comes time to win stakeholder buy-in — which is the next and final stop on your retail marketing personalization roadmap.

(Tip: People aren’t always great at estimating timelines realistically. Here are some methods to get it as right as you can.)

5. Go from Proposal to Project with Stakeholder Buy-In

With your plan for personalization crystalized into a well-defined timeline, here’s the two-part process to explaining your goals, showing off your strategies for achieving them, and finally making it a reality with your stakeholders’ blessing (and budget). 

Prepare to Address Everyone Involved

In order to appropriately champion your chosen retail marketing personalization strategy, you’ll need to come to your stakeholder presentation prepared with information that addresses everyone from the decision-makers in the C-Suite to the IT implementation team to the end-users on your staff.

While you should do your own research here, these are some general questions stakeholders are likely to ask:

  • How does your plan align with our security, legality and budgetary guidelines?
  • How does your proposal further business goals? 
  • How do you propose this strategy/tool/etc. be implemented and kept up?
  • What does your strategy/tool/etc. mean for customers and for our bottom line?

Present a Rock-Solid Plan

Along with answers to the above questions, here are some other points to touch on during your stakeholder presentation:

  • A succinct but complete overview of the entire personalization project;
  • The business benefits of improving your retail personalization efforts;
  • The biggest challenges for successful implementation — along with solutions; and
  • Your detailed timeline and the leaders who will help make the project a success

Take the First Step Toward Building Your Own Retail Marketing Personalization Roadmap

In 2020, the experience is more important to consumers than both products and prices.

What experience do they want?

When nearly 80% of internet users in the U.S. say personalized marketing increases their purchasing intent, and 75% report frustration at a lack of personalization — the answer is pretty clear.

Providing retail marketing personalization is one of the best strategies any retailer can employ to boost customer satisfaction and profitability.

Will you take the first step today?

Brent Heslop is a Content Strategist at Contentstack, a leading content experience platform. Prior to Contentstack, he worked for over 15 years as a Senior Web Technologist at TIBCO Software. Heslop has authored 15 popular computing books that have been translated into several languages. He has also taught HTML and web programming at UC Santa Cruz Extension and has held numerous corporate seminars on web publishing and programming.

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