Written by Sophie Hodgson
At last week’s Future of Women in Technology event, one of the questions put to the panel was around upcoming trends. The responses varied from digitalisation of the consumer experience, to visibility and the role of consumers in guiding corporate developments.
However, what struck me most was a point made by Rebecca Salsbury – of the BBC – about personalisation. This trend is reengineering how businesses communicate and operate across multiple sectors in the belief that personalisation is considered to be a ‘good thing’. In exchange for all the data we provide to companies, we want a more convenient, tailored and responsive online experience. That makes perfect sense for those industries geared around e-commerce, but what does that mean for an organisation – no, institution – such as the BBC?
At the moment, as Salsbury put it, the BBC engages us with content that it thinks we should care about. But personalisation opens up a new challenge and goes against the editorially selected experience of a company whose principles are to inform, educate and entertain. What happens if people start curating their own content? How do you ensure consistency of experience? How at odds are consumer wants – in the era of personalisation – with the overall goal of the BBC?
I should say that these questions are all my own musings as opposed to Salsbury’s. But her point struck a definite chord. Working with many adtech companies both recently and over the years, the move towards individualism and creating a much more context-aware experience has been a significant driver for growth. It has sparked whole new ecosystems and approaches to digital marketing.
The drive towards personalisation comes from a desire to engage, drive brand loyalty and increase sales. But if your commercial model doesn’t work that way, as personalisation changes consumer’s expectations, how do you respond to that in order to remain relevant? Glad I’m not the one charged with answering that question.