“There are very specific and very powerful use cases for personalisation – for example, personalising abandoned basket messaging makes perfect sense. People are deep in the buying cycle; they need the extra prompts to go through to actual conversion. Hyper-personalising that makes sense.
“But marketers should not aspire to personalise everything, because that’s not how marketing works. They should aspire to identify the specific use cases where personalisation can be most effective, double down on those, and then focus on how to optimise their top-level messaging for the mass market.”
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“Especially in marketing, personalisation is sometimes used as a destination – ‘We want to be personalised,’” adds Lopes. “It’s like a train station, where you arrive – ‘Oh hey, look at us, we’re a personalised company!’ You sometimes see it as a company objective: personalisation.
“But [Currys] kind of flipped that around – we focused first on, ‘What are the business problems we’re trying to solve? And is personalisation a good solution to solve that business problem?’ For example, a big business problem might be, ‘How do we retain our most loyal customers?’ Maybe if we do a few more touchpoints, if we personalise a little bit better, if we give them visibility across our business and give them special treatment – then, we’re able to save them.
“I always like to start with a business problem first, and ask if personalisation is a good solution. I think that’s really important, because the word ‘personalisation’ is bandied around everywhere, and as Parry said, it’s not the answer for everything.”