How to map personalisation opportunities

Columbia Road
4 min readOct 27, 2023


We are proud to introduce you to our brand new digital commerce tool: The Personalisation Opportunity canvas. This template allows you to identify opportunities to provide more relevant customer experiences for your users!

Personalisation is a complex intersection of data, customer experience, business goals, and test-driven culture. These things are huge on their own, let alone when all of them are needed to work together. Due to the complexity, people get easily overwhelmed, needing help knowing how to go about it.

According to a Gartner study from 2021, two of three digital marketing leaders still struggle with personalisation. If personalisation feels difficult to unwrap, let’s just say you are not alone.

We at Columbia Road have helped many people and companies around the world develop their customer experience with our Customer Journey Map. That template has been downloaded over 50,000 times by companies such as Apple, Tesla, and Amazon.

Inspired by that, we decided to build something similar around personalisation. Something that would help people wrap their heads around the subject, work as a conversation starter or with building cross-department consensus.

Introducing Personalisation Opportunity Canvas

The Personalisation Opportunity Canvas is about approaching personalisation one thought at a time. It’s about slicing the chaos and complexity into more easily digestible pieces.

Just as in software development or even in your personal life, when something feels too big to handle, you need to slice it into smaller pieces. When the slices start making sense, you can act on them. The same method applies here.

Tried and tested template

Before launching the tool, we wanted to test it together with organisations in different industries. So, we organised a personalisation opportunity workshop with a retailer as well as a SaaS start-up.

We noticed that our pilot users started having these eureka effects in the workshops: “We do have everything that we need from data to tools, but this has not been on anyone’s table!” or “We can already validate our personalisation idea by first trying it manually.”

The most delightful feeling has been seeing that by cutting personalisation into smaller slices, people have noticed that there are many small steps they can take to take their personalisation game forward.

Who is for?

The Personalisation Opportunity canvas is for:

  • People who want to get ideas around personalisation
  • People who want to understand better what different aspects there are to personalisation
  • Groups that want to get on the same page regarding personalisation
  • For different departments like IT, legal, and marketing that need to have cross-department discussions about personalisation
  • Companies who are just starting with personalisation
  • Companies who want to scale personalisation
  • And for anyone who feels that something tangible is needed to get forward with personalisation

How to get the most out of the canvas?

The more, the merrier. You get the most out of the template by filling it together with other people. Gather a cross-functional team: someone from marketing, someone from data science, a developer, a business person, and why not throw in a designer as well?

We are heavy believers in cross-functional cooperation. Due to the cross-functional nature of personalisation, having people with different skill sets from early on will help you identify early on the possible challenges and prevent situations where time is wasted on something that is not viable.

Make sure you have someone to facilitate the conversation, keeping track of the ideas. The side-track ideas are often a welcome byproduct.

The most important thing for the facilitator is to guide the conversation towards actions without suffocating the enthusiasm and ideation: “How might we validate this? How could we make this into reality with the least amount of effort? What could be the 1st version? Is there an easier way of making this?” The point of these questions is to ensure that the focus stays on the output being actionable instead of a perfectly filled canvas that is pretty but doesn’t lead to the next steps. The point is not the canvas but the actions that result from it.

The canvas is built so that you start with ideating. But as we know, there are times when ideas don’t fly. In those situations, you can start filling it from the opposite direction: business goals. And work your way towards the ideas.

If you want to keep it as easy as possible, I and other Roadies are happy to facilitate a 2-hour workshop to map all the personalisation possibilities your organisation has!

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Columbia Road

The leading Nordic digital sales consultancy. We help companies get more revenue and more customers in the digital era.