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Brands fall down on personalisation

News, 16 September 2015

SYDNEY: Most brands are failing to deliver a consistent personalisation experience for consumers according to a leading Target executive who includes his own organisation in that assessment.

Jason Bradshaw, head of customer experience at Target Australia, told a Forrester summit for marketing leaders, reported by Mumbrella, that he felt the retailer was "not where we need to be" as regards personalised marketing.

He gave an example that he suggested would be familiar to many. "Like many people out there who send EDMs to hundreds of thousands [of customers] on a database, if you don't have kids you still get the kids EDM," he said.

But he added that things are changing as the company sets out to rebuild its e-commerce platform in such a way as to enable effective personalisation of content.

And he argued that the need for such personalisation was only going to increase. "I fundamentally believe that as the years go by, all of us become more and more alike, and this is never more true than in highly commodotised industries," Bradshaw said.

"Technology is disrupting everything that we are doing yet none us is doing personalised service consistently."

Delivering on that would be a vital element in retaining customers, he suggested: "For me personalisation builds loyalty."

He was dismissive of the majority of current loyalty programs – "the ones that give you exclusive access to lounges or a free drink with your fifth visit" – which he felt were going to die out because everyone was doing them.

"What is going to make me choose Qantas over Virgin or Target over Big W?…for me it will be personalisation."

Elements that will drive that include improved apps that offer a connected experience between store and online, and the use of beacons.

Data is of course fundamental to personalisation and brands don't lack that, but using data effectively requires collaboration with other businesses according to Google.

Carlo D'Asaro Biondo, Google's Europe president/strategic relationships, told a conference earlier this year that Web 3.0 was all about combining sources of information to generate new services that consumers really want.

Personalised services, from health advice to shopping tips, come from making links between data sets, he said.

"The data in itself, without the combinatory element, has no value for anybody."

Data sourced from Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff