Too much of everything: how can personalisation finally be conquered?

In a world where consumers now have an abundance of choice in terms of where and how they shop, brands should be on top of delivering relevant and targeted personalised experiences. And at a Publicis Groupe and Adobe session on personalisation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, panelists agreed that brands need to do more to leverage data and technology if they want to keep the customer’s attention.

“Customers expect choice and expect that choice to be relevant and contextualised to them. A lot of companies like Spotify are leveraging data to solve problems in a very personal way. It's about recognising something about you and then evolving a product to support you better,” said Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis.Sapient in APAC and EMEA.

But the path is not so straightforward. As Campbell Foster, director of product marketing for Adobe Primetime pointed out during the panel moderated by Doug Zanger, North American editor-at-large for The Drum.

“TV is getting better and more fun to talk about,” he said but “privacy and data governance issues across different countries” are making things hard for individual agencies and consumers to understand.

For Shelby Saville, president of innovation and investment platforms at Mediavest Spark, words like ‘automated’ and ‘dynamic’ tend to be downplayed giving the impression that it’s easy for marketers to get products to scale. She also referred to the time being wasted trying to figure out all the different ways marketers can reach consumers and how they can be making things relevant to them, only to “turn around and offer the same exact experience to someone else”.

Foster agreed that tech jargon like data and programmatic “mean different things to everybody”. But more generally, he says there needs to be better communication all-around to make personalisation easy to implement.

According to Vaz, businesses can be outpaced by consumers if they don’t respond to consumer demands quickly enough.

“Customers are moving way faster than the technology today and it's up to businesses to respond to their movements,” said Vaz. “If you think about organising those businesses along the context of how the customer journey drives it, then things start to move away from 'adtech' and 'martech' because these are functional silos but a lot of the time, the customer journey is driving fundamental changes in the way these silos connect and operate.”

So amidst all this confusing tech jargon and overwhelming access to data what can brands do to make personalisation for the consumer effortless and simple?

For Saville, it is important to “keep it simple and build upon that” while Campbell said consumers should not be bombarded “with too much choice”.

“Put the consumer first. If we all use the same data then there is no differentiation. You always have to have a real strategy and there is no machine that will do that for you. When you look at Walmart and Amazon – personalisation at these two companies is different and it has to be,” concludes Stephan Beringer, global lead of data, tech and innovation at Publicis Media.

For more actionable insights in technology’s role in transforming consumer experiences, watch the video above and find out which personalised products at CES stood out most for the panelists.

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