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On Monday 12th May at our Marketing Automation Forum, the last session of the day involved all tables (each a mix of job roles from many different sectors) battling it out in our website segmentation/personalisation game.

By this time the audience was already warmed up by some great sessions including one from Econsultancy’s very own Heather Hopkins on “The changing market place - marketing automation means more than just email”. 

The winner of the game was the table who came up with the most unique segments (i.e. segments none of the other tables had thought of).

Importantly segment ideas were only permitted if the team could clearly explain how the website would be personalised for this segment, and the adjudicators (like myself) were at each table to make sure this happened.

In this post I’ve shared what the attendees came up with. Note that whilst there were many great ideas there were also a few dubious ones too, which just shows the length some marketers will go to, to win a bottle of wine! 

For those interested in the details, table six won.

Their table consisted of a head of marketing, strategic marketing manager and senior digital marketing manager, which probably explains some of the more innovative segments they came up with.

The word cloud below shows all of the segments the tables came up:

Four things in particular that stood out from the session:

  1. Firstly, how engaged and extremely enthusiastic everyone was, even though many of the roles of the audience were not directly related to managing the website or to online customer experience.

    This is testament to how website personalisation is at the front of everyone’s mind at the moment. No wonder “targeting and personalisation are top priorities for marketers in 2014” (Econsultancy and Adobe research).  

  2. There was also a lot of optimism in the room and high expectations for how website personalisation will change their businesses.
  3. Thirdly, the number of great ideas for segmentation and website personalisation that came from every table.

    Everyone did a great job at first thinking carefully about the needs of their own website target audience and then how this can be translated into great opportunities for website personalisation.

  4. And lastly how marketers are not only a competitive bunch but also pretty creative when push comes to shove!


We all had a lot of fun with this game. It was a great way of stimulating interest in how clients can utilise and practically apply all kinds of segments including the more advanced types from a single customer view (SCV) database.

The most impressive thing for me was how everyone was thinking about the customer first and then coming up with the personalisation ideas (i.e. how the website would change to better serve their needs). 

Also the idea of website personalisation, for those not doing it yet, was pretty liberating. It might sound a bit of a strange way to describe it as liberating - but designing and optimising one single user experience can be quite restrictive and requires a lot of compromises.

Many on the tables were no doubt recalling all those internal debates that inevitably occur around compromises such as how to prioritise content on the homepage.

Designing more personalised experiences is quite the opposite. Just think how simple, easy-to-use and effective your website could be if you could identify who you were talking to and tailor the messaging, offers, position of content, journeys etc.? 

From a UX and CRO perspective, website personalisation just makes sense on so many levels. It just works – and from our experience when you can utilise the types of advanced segments available in a single customer view (SCV) database – it works a whole lot better.

So it’s a very exciting time to be part of this fast changing landscape. And it’ll be very interesting to run the segmentation/personalisation game again in a year or so to see how opinions have changed.

Chris Gibbins

Published 23 May, 2014 by Chris Gibbins

Chris Gibbins is Director of User Experience & Optimisation at Biglight and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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