Rich Clark Marketing

Opinions from Rich Clark one of the UK's leading Marketing Professionals

One Size Does Not Fit All


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Personalisation is a bit over-rated

Its been a while since I updated this blog and looking back now at some of the topics, I  can understand why.  But I have been inspired by a few people to resume writing content.

The main purpose of my blog is to give personal opinion and perspective, as opposed to self-promotion or facts and figures based post. People have been telling me there are a lack of “professional” marketing blogs which actually are grounded and have personality. So lets hope I can deliver on at least one of those counts.

So I come back with a bit of nostalgia

I was invited to take the stage at the Drapers forum, now over three years ago in 2015.  I was joining joint-CEO and then colleague at boohoo, Carol Kane.  As seemingly the technical marketing person I was asked a series of questions.  One was from the audience and asked about personalisation. Now apologies to the individual, I cannot remember who asked, but my response got quite a reaction.

drapers logo

Personalisation is a bit over-rated, my quote from Drapers forum

The question was effectively related to how can brands get closer to customers and what were our views on personalisation. My response “I think personalisation is a bit over-rated”

Now that got headlines and even boohoo colleagues coming in and repeating the quote.  The headline was great and actually became quite funny, however, I did go on to substantiate what I meant. I spoke about segmenting customers properly and actually offering degrees of mass personalisation (customisation) could be as if not more effective and yet provide less operational pressures.

So some three years later have my views changed? Well with the developments in AI and machine learning, there is a greater argument for personalisation, never greater than previously.  However, the technology at present is only really effective at certain parts of the journey.  This is increasingly changing though.

In terms of the creative front end of a site, personalisation can still cause organisational strains. If you regularly change images, promo messages and or categories, the design consequences and processes needed to personalise to a genuinely deep level could cause resource repercussions.  Many businesses still struggle to cope with designing and building pages for BAU and some potential A/B or multivariate tests.

With this in mind, mass customisation of pages and journeys could still be a better solution.  For retailers, the ability to change the merchandising of a shopping journey based on data of the crowd, or from AI of individuals do make sense. Although I haven’t had chance to explore the functionality of people like Bloomreach to its fullest, the promise of what it can offer feels closer to what I would value in personalisation.

One Size Does Not Fit All

One Size Does Not Fit All

The ability to set business rules for behaviours that are regular, using crowd date means you are technically personalising, but really again just personalising for segments or groups of customers.  What the technologies allow you to do is make those groups much smaller and more highly targeted, in turn making the journey more effective.

Now, if I sit down and write this same piece and say, I think I still feel the same in three years time, I will be stunned.  Developments in AI and machine learning are advancing so quickly, personalisation should be much easier and of course the processes will be shortened to make it happen.

Article can be found on drapers here

I would love to hear your views on this one.  I know I am probably in the minority of one in my views, but I am always happy to be different.  After all, the people that asked me to kick this blog back off asked me to give my personal views and here you have them.

 

Social Media Icons on a mobile


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Social Media – Beyond the Numbers Game

For too long, when brands have looked at their social media strategy they have been obsessed over their Facebook fan numbers or likes.  This is in part to prove their investment is worthwhile to their management teams or boards.  The other component to the equation is that of bragging rights.  I have sat in many meetings as an independent and heard many organisations talking Facebook and Instagram likes, albeit (I hope) by the way of banter, but it still adds weight to the value brands place on this as a measure of success.

Social Media Icons on a mobile

Social Media – Beyond the numbers

The key to social media success isn’t how many people like your page or posts.  A better success measure is how entrenched your social media activity becomes in your audiences every day life.  That may be through sharing, return visits, recommending or generating conversation.  For me social media can offer so much to both customers and brands, in fact the media half of the term is a little bit of a red herring.  Social Media is another digital channel, just as websites were when the web first gained momentum.

Of course, it isn’t just likes people talk about. A large number of brands will still obsessing over the number of fans, followers, friends or likers they have, now understand that they need people to interact.  With this in mind, they have started to measure what they deem engagement.  The standard ways most brands look at engagement is how many times a pic on Instagram has been liked.  How many retweets their post has had or how many shares their Facebook post has received.  All of which is interesting, but in essence, its not really engagement.  How many of us have personally, or have observed people just double tapping the insta post, without really reading or viewing the content properly.

For me, engagement isn’t even just about the buzz or sentiment we measure. It is about the genuine affinity our customers or social crowd feel towards us and/or their likelihood to recommend us.  This really can’t be measured through standard social metrics.  However, if we really do have a highly engaged Facebook page (for instance) then it goes without saying these people should eulogise about us, at least our content and hopefully also our brand.  With this in mind, our followings should increase on an organic basis.  So engagement in isolation isn’t enough.

However the crux of all of this text is, we need to start thinking beyond the numbers.  We need to care about them as we are targeted on them and often its what investment decisions are made of. But, we as profession, Marketing Professionals are increasingly worried about making marketing decisions without reams of data to support us.

Some things we need to do to help us grow, to accelerate growth is to make decisions that have no or little data.  If we only look back at data on what has happened, or compare ourselves to the success or failures of our peers we are instantly constraining our thinking and our ability to innovate.

If you as marketing people know your audience well enough, you should succeed.  If you as marketing professionals speak to your audience, they can help you succeed. If you as marketing professionals allow your audience to collaborate with you and help produce content, you will get what they want and they feel bought in. In theory that should bring even more success and a feeling from content providers they are part of your brand.

Remember one key thing for your social channels. Be credible.

Produce content that your audience will want to see. Engage and communicate with your audience to understand what they want. Work with your audience and they can help you produce what they want. With this in mind, I think we can look beyond the numbers of social media and produce better content, have better engagement and ultimately drive the numbers after all.

Love to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to challenge, critique argue or endorse by adding comments here or by tweeting my @richclarkmktg

 

 


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Worth A Comeback?

Worth A Comeback?

I haven’t been looking at this blog for quite some time now.  I have been concentrating on the successful launch of Music Eyz and helping others with their approach to their content and social media.

Its been over two years since my last post and the world has come a long way, both the real world and the digital world.  The economy has gone through a recession and appears to be out the other side.  London has hosted a “really successful” Olympic Games and Man Utd aren’t the best football team in the country any more.  (Before anybody says it, yes I know Spurs aren’t either).

The things is, whilst there has been a lot of change in the real world, the digital world has evolved at an alarming rate.  The mainstays of digital marketing PPC and affiliates, whilst still important, are being rivaled.  The world of content, on-site merchandising and social media are massive tools in every digital professionals armoury.

Image of Word content made of dice

Content is King

Whilst their can be many explanations for the rise in importance of the newer disciplines, the two key ones for me are Google and customers.

Either way, one of the reasons I stopped blogging was because, in my view, there was little value to be added to the discussions around the main digital acquisition channels.  Yes my experience is extensive and some people may have found the insight interesting or even useful, but you could get that from anywhere.  My inspiration for a comeback is that very few people have produced great content relating to content, merchandising and genuine views on the commercial aspects or quality of Social Media.

Now this post isn’t meant to be self-idulgent.  This post is genuinely to get my thoughts and potential direction of the blog on a screen.  Just to see if this makes sense and is “Worth A Comeback”  If you are reading this, I would love to hear your views.  Do you think I should kick this off again?  Do you agree about my sentiment around a lack of quality resource in this space? Am I wasting my time and yours?

I may just do it anyway, but would be great to hear from you all.

But in the words of LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years”

LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out

LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out