By 2016 Gartner research indicates that nearly 90% of companies believe customer experience will be their primary basis for competition. Personalization of the customer experience will fundamentally change the landscape of commerce and marketing. Personalization allows marketers to engage prospects and customers by providing user experience, content and ads customized to the individual. This translates to the total customer experience with a company or brand as even non-digital data may be brought into the digital platform forming a unified view of the customer.


Personalization of web content management systems (CMS) is being established as a fundamental component of a variety of platforms. However, while the technological discussion is important, it is not the most relevant component to consider.

There are a variety of concerns to be taken into consideration by those implementing personalization in Content Management Systems.


Personalization introduces privacy concerns for the individual
Personalization requires substantial details are gathered down to the individual level. This data is then federated with offline or additional data sources to form a unified view of the customer. The explicit and implicit data are also consolidated. We know more about an individual based on what they click on, how long they stay on a page, what they move on to next. The risk of personally identifiable information (PII) exposure becomes more troubling as the profile becomes more complete. The customer is a puzzle the company is trying to solve – most pieces are present and many are self-assembling.


Personalization introduces great risk for the organization
As we acknowledge the level of detail consolidated for a single individual, we can then conceive of the volume of data consolidated on the entire user base of a major web property. The goal is of course to know every customer so that they may then be segmented into a group that is relevant to your organization and their end user experience. As this is done in aggregate, the concerns around breach are larger and the targets for a direct attack become greater.


Personalization introduces substantial additional work for the organization
The features for data gathering and personalization exist – or are natively enabled – on many content management systems. However, we know segmentation, security, measurement and optimization require more and different types of attention on sites with personalization technologies than for a standard website.

  • Creating segments requires good data from both online and offline resources.
  • Serving the segments requires alternative content be developed.
  • Optimizing the content requires A/B testing, measurement and a culture of iteration and improvement.
  • Creating a trusted environment requires respect of the data and a proper security stance.

Now obviously I have tried to highlight concerns, but personalization brings with it enormous benefit for both company and customer. There is an exchange of benefit to the customer for a little bit of privacy being given away to the company. As long as the company is treating that data with the respect and saliency required, we will see that personalization can bring substantial meaning to a cold buying experience across numerous channels.

If your business does not currently use a CMS or you’re not happy with your current CMS, then you may want to get a new CMS. That may seem daunting to you, but fear not – you’re not alone. You just need a little help.