6w blog

The 6W’s Framework for Intelligent Personalization

Consumers today expect your brand to provide them with experiences that align with their interests, needs and deliver some relevant, promotional offers and helpful recommendations at just the right time.

It is not as simple as it sounds.

It is imperative that your brand’s ability to compete in a world where a seamless customer experience is the ultimate basis of differentiation.  Experience is one of the mandatory determiners whether your customers prefer you or your competitors, how much they will spend and if they’ll come back. Stats also state that 64% of customers say that their experience is a more important determinant in their purchase decision rather than the price.

So the question arises, how does your brand ensure you are creating the positive and hassle free customer experience that leads to a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers? Well, Its time to get personal- in a good way. You should create and design personalized brand experiences that make customers feel seen, heard and valued. This is nothing but personalization, which is the foundation of the future of your relationship with your customers.

Current Personalisation Isn’t Enough.

The idea of personalisation has been around since the beginning, but with time, its definition has become vague and more theoretical than practical. For most marketers, personalization comes down to list segmentation.

For instance, you are a new boutique in town, catering to cocktail dresses. You identify 50,000 women aged 22-40 years old with an average income of $32,000-$50,000 in your CRM. From this list you narrow it down to 1,500 women in this demographic who are interested in buying cocktail dresses. In your mind, your list is segmented into women who identify with messages regarding the latest batch of one-to-one training.

From your brand’s perspective, these women will receive a campaign message, which is ‘”personalised” and suits their requirement.

Let’s have a look from a perspective of those women:

  • Chloe: A 30 year old mother with two kids, who left her job to raise her kids. She gained too much wait after her kids but really likes shopping for occasions.
  • Rachel: A 28 year old working woman with her own business. She is getting married and wants the perfect cocktail dress which is white in colour.
  • Kate: A 40 year old woman who has to go to her daughter’s graduation ceremony and wants to wear a gown with lace sleeves.


In light of the segmentation above, all three of these women will receive messages from the company that invites them to come shop with them, featuring a beautiful white wedding gown on their poster. And most likely this would be computer generated broadcasted message at a regular time everyday. But this message resonates with only one of these women, that is Rachel.

This infers that list segmentation alone is not adequate to create a feeling that a brand “knows your needs” or to ultimately get more loyal customers and positive experiences.

To do this, you need to dive down deep further.

In our above scenario, here is what you would know about each woman:

  • Chloe: She put a query for a plus size piece. Abandoned the size L in lieu of getting a size bigger.
  • Rachel: She only checked out the wedding collection and diligently checks the ads while coming home from work.

Kate: She searches lace gowns on the app. She also checks out the sleeveless collection.

The message when personalised would look like this for the three women:

  • Chloe would receive digital ads with plus size models wearing the brand’s outfits.
  • Rachel would get a customized wedding dress on the poster which would popup on her phone at the evening time.
  • Kate would get suggestions on a lace sleeved dress and some carousel ads with sleeveless dresses.


To be able to truly give a personalised experience, each of the above women should each receive different messages with different images at those times and channels which complies with their unique situations. While it is impossible to know every detail, you can certainly know their purchasing history, or their past experiences with your brand, or if they have ever responded to any of the messages before, or engaged with your brand at certain channels, and if they have ever taken any action in the past.

When you blend your business insight, to know your customers better with the digital analytics and digital intelligence that can rapidly analyse large amount of data, it is possible to make custom made experiences for your customers and create those conversion generating experiences.

Here’s how we go about it.

The 6WS of Personalisation

Who Why  What When Where How

Personalisation is a multi-sided and multifaceted concept. Before digital intelligence made it possible, marketers were dependent on the manual efforts made by the humans. This emphasised the need for segmentation, but it became the only thing that was emphasised on. Digital intelligence has transformed this.  Today marketers use human insights along with the powerful artificial intelligence and machine learning based digital analytics to give multi-dimensional insights that further lead to a personalised customer experience.

To go further than segmentation, marketers need to use a framework that answers the basic simple questions; The “6Ws”, Why, Who, What, When, Where, and hoW.

Marketers can use these six guiding principles to create a roadmap towards delivering an authentic personalized customer experience.

Let’s see what these say:

Why—Reason for Your Campaign

You always start by asking why. Why do you need the campaign? Why does it matter to your consumer and your business? Do you have a surplus of a certain product? Trouble engaging with a certain segment of your customer base? Has your competition done something that requires you to react? Why you need the campaign is base to setting up the remaining ‘Ws’ in an ultra-personalized way.

Who—List Segmentation

Who should receive the offer? Who are the different groups you want to personalize your efforts toward? Here, you must think beyond generalized demographics and current definitions of what personalization means. Your customers are individuals and they want to feel that your brand understands their preferences, desires, and goals.

What—Offer & Creative

Now that you know why and who, you need to decide what specific product or service you are presenting, what type of promotional offer, if any, and the different creative for each message. But it is not practical to design manually a creative for each customer. That’s when digital intelligence steps in and can help you create automated creative for each customer and manage more than one campaign.

When—Engagement Time

Timing is critical.

When is the best time to send each offer to each customer? It is not going to be the same for all kinds of customers. It’s important that you send messages when each one is most likely to see the offer and engage. Digital intelligence is at your rescue in this one too. People’s lives are dynamic and to track their dynamic behaviour these changes can shift when they are most likely to engage with a message from your brand.

The closer you get to sending offers or delivering messages when they comply most with each customer, the more likely customers are to engage.


The channel which you use to send your offers are as important as any other aspect.

Every customer will have a preferred channel where they spend more time and are most likely to see and click on the message: Is it your app? Your website? Email newsletters? Social? Digital ads? It’s an increasingly complex decision as new channels continue to appear in the market. But nowadays with digital analytics and intelligence everything can be known.

How Often—Frequency

You need to know how much messaging is too much. Message too much, you may lose the customer, message less and they forget about you. So how ofen should you interact with customers? It’s complex. Optimizing frequency is, again, a work for digital intelligence. Each customer has different and unique preferences for how they like to be communicated. Customizing frequency is critical to true personalization.

Is Your Organization Ready? Stages of Personalization Maturity

When you are able to use the 6Ws as a foundation to personalize your campaigns, you will be able to create experiences that truly resonate with customers, driving loyalty and retention. But are you ready?  Most companies fall into different “maturity” levels when it comes to their ability to be able to personalize marketing campaigns. It’s completely fine to start where you are and grow.

You can put a brand’s marketing into one of the four progressively more developed groups based on what personalization methods the brand uses and how broadly they employ the 6Ws. They’re called the Stages of Personalization. The more developed the stage, the better the average message performance. Going up even one stage can have a huge impact on average message performance.