Reimagining Personalization in the age of Jamstack and composable DXP: Project CUE

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Traditional rule-based personalization has been hard to scale, both technically and operationally. Even Gartner predicted that by 2025, 80% of marketers who have invested in personalization will abandon efforts due to lack of ROI.

With the MACH Alliance on the rise a lot has changed and we now have new, intelligent ways to create omnichannel personalization experiences that score high marks on Core Web Vitals.

Contentstack, Uniform and EPAM are partnering up to create Project CUE. A fully personalized greenfield project with a 12 week time to market. The project will be presented at the CMSWire [DX Summit](https://www.dxsummit.com/) on July 29th.

Why personalize at all?

When provided with relevant content, users find what they are looking for faster and they will engage more with the content offered. Users will fall in love with the experience as it matches their needs.

If an experience tailors it's content to the user based on the goal of their visit, it is much more likely that they will have a better perception of the brand and that they will buy faster. The conversion rate uptick in well personalized sites, research shows, is 19% (source).

Traditional personalization is origin based and therefore slow. That lovely high conversion is lost if a website has bad performance. We now have a dilemma: 19% higher conversion but a slow website, or a fast site without that conversion increase.

But, you can have both a fast site and personalization! Enter Uniform.

Typical personalization barriors MACH technology overcomes

Rule based personalization

Most traditional personalization engines use rules (if... then...) to place users in to personas or segments. These rules are hard to scale once the story get's a little more complex than the average website experience.

You essentially need to have a PhD in creating rules,” says Lars Petersen (CEO at Uniform) about the traditional rules-based approach to personalization. “It’s a very technical task.

The API first personalization Uniform offers is decoupled and works with a real-time intent score that is calculated based on the signals a user gives of while enjoying the experience. Components in Contentstack are tagged with Intent Tags and personalization happens semi-automatically on the front-end.

High starting effort

As traditional personalization is generally found in suites and therefore the implementation needs to follow the vendor's rules. Any step outside of the box and you loose time and money. Sadly the box is very small and most serious personalization efforts fall outside of this. Using a composed MACH architecture allows both developers and marketers to integrate with any tools they choose. Flexibility and fast time to market is key.

Performance

A huge barrier for personalization in traditional systems is the time it takes to render a page. This is due to the fact it is origin based. On each page load the site has to ask the personalization engine in what persona or segment a user fits and what rules to apply. It then applies those rules and renders the HTML. This results in slow page loads. It's not uncommon for a Suite to add around 800ms to 1300ms to each request. With Core Web Vitals in mind this is not a sustainable approach.

Modern approaches like Jamstack and edge rendering allow personalized pages to be rendered within milliseconds.

A love story

At Uniform we are helping customers adopt a mindset of delivering content as a response to customer in-the-moment intent. With personalization tools that adapt content as a visitor explores the site, marketing teams are no longer limited to A/B testing single interactions but can focus on a more long-term relationship with a customer.

A good way to think about it is a love story, because content is what makes a visitor fall in love with your brand.” says Lars Petersen, Co-Founder of Uniform, “If you go on a blind date and the first thing your date asks is ‘will you marry me?’ that’s going to be awkward. Yet, as consumers, when we come into a website today the first thing we see is ‘buy this’ or ‘get a call from sales today’.

Bridging the gap

For many marketing teams, the tool used to manage content is separate from the tool used to personalize it. Even in the same monolithic software suite. Often, this means personalization efforts are handed over to someone else or just forgotten entirely.

Modern software vendors like Contentstack and Uniform are designing their products with integration in mind, using standardized ways that make it possible to manage multiple tools in a shared user interface. Strong integration does not mean tight coupling and following the composable architecture that the MACH alliance proposes, any tool can be switched out or scaled up or down.

This lowers the barrier of entry for personalization across the board. Other than marketers using the tools more effectively, developers can now also start working with personalization in the fornt of the mind. The MVP (minimum viable project) will now be able to ship with AB testing and personalization as key features.

Project CUE will show you how

Project CUE is about showing omnichannel experience can be fast time to market,” says Petersen (CEO of Uniform). “That it can meet the requirements of fast performance based on the core web vitals, and the experience the visitor gets across the different channels being highly relevant to their intents.

The main theme is that a seemingly complex omnichannel experience can be moved to market within three months. Epam systems will be doing the production of the project in collaboration with Uniform and Contentstack.

The MVP will use a composed MACH architecture, it will score high points for Core Web Vitals and it will be fully personalized across multiple channels.

Project CUE kicked off this May, so stay tuned for updates and insights!

Read more here: https://www.contentstack.com/blog/announcements/omnichannel-personalization-with-headless-content/

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Tim Benniks

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