It takes a bunch of geniuses to make personalization practical.
I wish to welcome the super talented and customer-focused team at Peerius to the Episerver family, in a combination that was a long time in the making, but certainly worth the wait.
It first dawned on me what great potential there was in an Episerver and Peerius marriage when I asked one of their customers how they were able to create organizational buy-in. Why did they trust a machine-based algorithm to make decisions for them? I was told they A/B tested with and without algorithmic personalization, and the difference in AOV was as much as 15%. Pretty simple really, and hard to argue against them apples or black boxes more appropriately.
That got me to thinking about how the analysts are all now talking about the increasing difficulty of delivering the best next experience without machine-learning. Also, firms are turning their attention more and more to content personalization, having already adopted product recommendations.
Take for example the words of Forrester Research’s Anjali Yakkundi in a recent report following a statement that personalized experiences are no longer a nice-to-have in 2016. “No surprise given the investment in content marketing today, marketing content to engage with customers is the most critical area that firms look to personalize: 75% of surveyed firms doing personalization aim to personalize content on their website. This is higher than promotions and product offers (55%), product recommendations (49%), and reminders and alerts (44%).”1
Industry analysts in my experience often describe how leading organizations are using technology several years or so in advance of the masses. However, we’re seeing a massive shift with direct-to-consumer brands and manufacturers who are investing in rich content in order to differentiate from traditional sales outlets and the large range, low price internet retailers (i.e Amazon, Zappos). This is making these statements very much a case of the here and now.
Episerver has for a long time been the only provider of a single platform to manage digital content, commerce and marketing in the cloud. Although it’s cool for every software vendor to go to market on the “content and commerce” bandwagon today, there really are very few who do it on the same platform, with same user interface, and the same code base using a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud approach. But enough of that, as that doesn’t really matter to the point I’m about to (or trying to) make.
And that is the marketer’s role in digital merchandizing.
For many years those savvy B2C retailers have known the value of targeting and personalizing their digital commerce sites and online product catalogs to different visitors. Yet, for B2B organizations and brand manufacturers this has not always been the case. Jennifer Polk of Gartner’s excellent piece “Use Product Content to Improve Customer Engagement and Increase Conversion,”2 which is unfortunately only available to paying clients but definitely worth the read, makes the case of the marketer and merchandizer partnership particularly well. Combining content with commerce in a highly personalized way is precisely how many organizations can differentiate themselves from, and still blossom in the shadow of Amazon.
And so we return to Episerver and Peerius, and why the combination makes so much sense.
Marketers and merchandizers are increasingly overwhelmed with new channels, business demands and technology. They’re often jaded by the disconnect between the hype around AI and machine-learning, and the tools that are really being used today. And yet when this technology is done well -- and Peerius does it really well (see customer AOV comment) -- it relieves a lot of the burden these folk carry. It allows them to pursue rich and compelling content and commerce campaigns, in the right context, with gusto.
We call this autonomous personalization, and it’s not just another buzzword: it’s actually a very precise description of a powerful resource that really works.
Episerver is all about empowering our customers. As I have stated many times, at the end of the day our promise is that technology, when done right, should make you feel like you have super powers. Quite simply, Episerver even more so with the addition of those clever people at Peerius, gives our customers the tools to make their work easy, effective, and rewarding.
What’s your point of view?
1 Digital experience technology and delivery priorities, 2016. Firms aim to invest in personalization, people, and platforms to support web and mobile experiences. Anjali Yakkundi, Forrester Research, Inc., May 2016.