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.
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.
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.
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.