The Personalisation Technology Manifesto

Tack­ling per­son­al­i­sa­tion is a seri­ous organ­i­sa­tion­al chal­lenge; the nature of the tech­nolo­gies involved and the way they restruc­ture the rela­tion­ship between busi­ness­es and con­sumers neces­si­tates full involve­ment. The com­pa­nies ben­e­fit­ing most from the chang­ing expec­ta­tions of the mar­ket are those that, like Adobe part­ner Roy­al Bank of Scot­land for exam­ple, have exam­ined their inter­nal struc­ture through the lens of these new opportunities.

But this knowl­edge can be over­ly intim­i­dat­ing. I’m often asked where com­pa­nies should even begin when look­ing for opti­mi­sa­tion and per­son­al­i­sa­tion solu­tions, and while I’ll always stress the impor­tance of the holis­tic peo­ple and process approach, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that you can rely on the tech, and that it will con­tin­ue to devel­op as your needs do.

To that end I’ve bro­ken the field down into a num­ber of top­ics that I’ll be explor­ing in order – these are the com­po­nents than any per­son­al­i­sa­tion tech­nol­o­gy that you invest in should have – a man­i­festo for per­son­al­i­sa­tion tech­nol­o­gy if you like.

Test­ing and Opti­mi­sa­tion: A/B Test­ing and Mul­ti­vari­ate Tar­get­ing are foun­da­tion­al ele­ments of per­son­al­i­sa­tion. But like any oth­er gen­er­al pur­pose tool, the trick is antic­i­pat­ing the smartest way to apply them.

Busi­ness Rules and Geo-Tar­get­ing: We all know how triv­ial it is to grasp some of the most impor­tant insights about our poten­tial cus­tomers right off the bat. If our busi­ness­es have geo­graph­ic con­straints, why not apply geo­graph­ic data to our per­son­al­i­sa­tion regime?

Algo­rithms and Machine Learn­ing: All busi­ness­es should be aware of the vast poten­tial of algo­rithms as a per­son­al­i­sa­tion solu­tion. Machines learn faster, at no cost, react­ing to sud­den, often imper­cep­ti­ble mar­ket changes. Most impor­tant­ly, they pro­vide that crit­i­cal 1:1 per­son­al­i­sa­tion at scale, some­thing that soon becomes a crit­i­cal capa­bil­i­ty for those who mas­ter it. Here, we’re talk­ing about auto­mat­ed per­son­al­i­sa­tion and recommendations.

Report­ing and Analy­sis: You need to be able to col­lect and analyse the data you are gen­er­at­ing from your per­son­al­i­sa­tion strat­e­gy in real-time and share the insights from it with the oth­er mem­bers of your team and the oth­er tools that your organ­i­sa­tion uses.

Mobile and Cross-Chan­nel capa­bil­i­ties: You should know by now that your busi­ness mod­el is incom­plete if it’s lack­ing in con­sid­er­a­tion for the mobile mar­ket- and so is your per­son­al­i­sa­tion. All of our cus­tomers are migrat­ing to the mobile world. Per­son­al­i­sa­tion in this are­na is some­times more chal­leng­ing, but devel­op­ing user com­fort and famil­iar­i­ty in the face of these obsta­cles is the key to long-term loy­al­ty and conversion.

Usu­al­ly, when indi­vid­u­als and organ­i­sa­tions alike approach per­son­al­i­sa­tion and opti­mi­sa­tion, they think of these capa­bil­i­ties in tiers: with sim­ple ele­ments such as basic A/B test­ing at the bot­tom, and the more com­plex options (algo­rith­mic mod­el­ing, auto­mat­ed per­son­al­i­sa­tion) at the top, far out of their reach. This is the type of think­ing, while far from base­less, is some­thing I hope to chal­lenge with this series.

Just as a com­plete busi­ness strat­e­gy for per­son­al­i­sa­tion lever­ages the entire organ­i­sa­tion towards trans­for­ma­tion­al goals, a com­plete tech­no­log­i­cal approach tack­les all avail­able oppor­tu­ni­ties, even if it will take time to reap the ben­e­fits of some. Your com­pa­ny may indeed be wise to first focus its efforts on strate­gic per­son­al­i­sa­tion of your mobile or desk­top pres­ence, but with the right tools, there’s no rea­son not to, say, set and for­get auto­mat­ed per­son­al­i­sa­tion activ­i­ties in high-val­ue real estate areas. Now while you’re putting the right struc­ture to your basics, you’ve got advanced test­ing col­lect­ing data for when you’re ready to digest it.

And this is only the begin­ning. The goal here is to free your­self from look­ing at per­son­al­i­sa­tion from the bot­tom up. We can instead approach it from the inside out, estab­lish­ing the core of all the capa­bil­i­ties avail­able to us, and then work­ing our way out to more sophis­ti­cat­ed and indi­vid­u­alised appli­ca­tion of each.

I intend to build on this man­i­festo in a series of arti­cles, each of which will expand on what oppor­tu­ni­ties are pro­vid­ed by each aspect of the tech­nol­o­gy, and exam­ine a case study in how real busi­ness­es cap­i­talised on this aspect to ele­vate their mod­els above those of their com­peti­tors. The pur­pose is to pro­vide a frame­work for under­stand­ing what per­son­al­i­sa­tion and opti­mi­sa­tion should deliv­er for you- what­ev­er your capa­bil­i­ties and busi­ness goals may be.