Gilbane – How to Mold the Customer Experience


“You’ve just got to get me a couple of quick wins, so we can dive in.”

Personas separate you from your users.

  • Named users with personal characteristics
  • Based on research
  • Tied to segmentation strategy
  • Start with your marketing group and who your target audiences really are
  • The ones you want to put your energy in are the ones that map to your business goals – to dive in grab the three top ones and go from there
  • Robustness – How much is my persona based in real knowledge of the user.
    • Formal inquiry
      • Market research
      • Focus groups
      • Interviews
      • Surveys
      • User testing – Least expensive and most successful tool you can use today is user testing. No organization has the excuse not to be doing user testing
    • Internal knowledge
      • Customer service interactions
      • Sales interactions
      • Web analytics and search logs
    • “Ambient” data
      • Social media
      • Field observations
      • User-generated content
  • Example of Persona
    • Scenarios
    • Motivations / Pain Points
    • Recommended Content / Features
    • Digestable document
    • Easy to share – how important it is to develop a shared language (become valuable across your channels and departments)
  • Question: How do you mitigate the risk of developing the wrong persona?
    Answer: Look at personas as ongoing space. When customer needs change, change the persona. Constantly evolving picture. Always a series of educated guesses involved.

Defining Business Outcomes

  • Most organizations want something from their visitors
    • Sell them a product or subscription
    • Convert them into a lead that the sales team can pursue
    • Convince them to donate to a cause
  • Website is a negotiating environment
    • Information architecture facilitates the negotiation

Mapping Personas to Business Outcomes

  • Research
  • Desired Outcome
  • Analytics
    • There’s a whole bunch of metrics you can measure, but there are generally only a handful that really matter
    • “Data without segmentation is crap.” – Randy
  • Every part of your conversation is either a monologue or dialogue
    • Reward your customer for coming to your site and having the conversation with you
    • Examples of segmentation:
      • School that automatically has links for parents, students, educators
      • Task segmentation (Howard Johnson – Traveling with pets, traveling with kids, etc.)
      • Zipcar -Two audiences (prospects and users)
        • Use widgets and CMS-based sites to make them market-aware and know who is visiting a site. Is it a customer or is a prospect?

What if you have no persona and don’t have the budget to do the research to build personas?

  • Aldo Shoes: No persona data, but had 50 people come online and test and help them build menu segmentations

Categorizing Visitors in Real Time

  • Persona One: Near-time prospect (Are they looking at pricing?; are they looking at store locations?)
  • Persona Two: Long-term prospect (Looking at white papers)
  • Personal Three: Job seeker (Poking around white papers, but spending more time looking at job descriptions)
  • CMS configuration allows you to score data based on content, which then allows for real-time analysis of visitors
  • Tie in Analytics profile with Scoring / Persona Information and then get real time data about how the different personas are using the site
    • Allows you to track analytics regarding source of traffic between personas (direct traffic, referring sites, search engines)

Optimization is a process. Very easy to get buried in data. Find something actionable that you can track.

Cost and business value and finding the sweet spot in the lowest right quadrant. Very simple business tools can get you to answers really quickly.

A big cycle

  • Research
  • Personas: Scenarios, motivations
  • Personas: Goals, metrics
  • User experience design
  • Map content scores to personas
  • Tie scores to analytics
  • Test, optimize
  • Repeat

Great comment from the floor: Mandate to experiment with a smaller group, evidence the value, and generalize it to everything else.

Question: Lack of sample size. Are there any shortcuts?
Answer: Crowdsource to try and get more feedback. has recruited its own test base.

Question: Market-aware content management systems
Answer: A lot of people are still trying to get away from the guy in the corner doing HTML by hand. Market aware has to be intelligence driven.

Language of UX has become more public. People have become more active in the environment. People are open about whether the interface stinks. More people are talking about UX techniques / design.

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