Executing Personalisation? Try Central Leadership and Diversified Ownership

Test new campaigns constrained to different use cases and platforms before scaling up to 100% of traffic, says Sagnik Mukherjee, Personalisation lead - Site merchandiser at Chalhoub Group.

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  • Everything is connected and at all times. From the customer’s perspective, personalisation at scale means experiences that are seamless and helpful. What happens behind the scenes can be a little more complex.

    Sagnik Mukherjee, Personalisation story mug shot

    The potential value that personalisation offers is well-established. Yet, most companies have only made a dent in how data injects intelligence into their personalisation strategy. We spoke to Sagnik Mukherjee, Personalisation lead – Site merchandiser at Chalhoub Group to help suggest solutions to real-world challenges. 

    Excerpts from the interview;

    How can brands measure the success of their personalisation efforts?

    It depends on the primary issue or pain point the brand is trying to solve via personalisation. Say for an omnichannel D2C multi-category brand with 50K+ units online, the need might be to expose products to customers, which ‘customers might like’ – here improving the effective size of the catalogue (product views).  

    In another scenario, an online gaming brand it can be the daily active playtime wherein personalisation can suggest the players play preference and behaviour, which is adjusted in the gameplay and accordingly reward players to avoid drop off.

    While key primary to drive is; 

    1) Revenue 

    2) Conversion rate

    A personalised journey tries to maximise interactions by; 

    1) CTR – this can be clicks on banners, links etc 

    2) Engagement – average time spent or dwell time 

    3) Retention rate – customers likely to revisit the experiences which ‘talks’ to them 

    4) Lifetime value as a function of retention rate

    What advice would you give marketing leaders to create a balance between personalisation and privacy?

    When building the data platforms, marketing leaders should ensure the data is protected, encrypted and stored at an aggregated level and not with the individual’s identity.

    When serving personalised experiences, marketers must balance the way campaigns and messaging are served is non-intrusive, offering ‘suggestions’ rather than adopting a tone which might come as ‘know-it-all’ and imposing. 

    Users should be aware of the privacy settings, and know what data gets captured. A perspective to look at a campaign is – are you comfortable with such messaging if the same is served to you or your close ones?

    Also Read: Lack of Personalisation is a Notable Pain Point for South African Consumers

    What are the challenges with technology implementation when it comes to actioning personalisation strategies?

    1) Clean, relevant and the right data to work on – here it’s mostly the customer’s data but also the brand’s/product data set cannot be overlooked. For example, an ecommerce brand needs to have the right catalogue information so that individual preferences are served correctly by matching with product attributes. 

    2) Integration of third-party personalisation or segmentation services to power the front end.  Native platform capabilities should be able to support and serve personalised experience in channels which are being tailored for customers every minute – say web, app, emails, smart TV, without breaking the UX which might otherwise impact the user satisfaction adversely. 

    Usually, sites either go for in-code integration or a more basic overlay approach of rendering campaigns. In either case – it’s good to monitor and test new campaigns constrained to different use cases & platforms before scaling up to 100% of traffic.  

    3) Cold start issues – based on traffic volume & algorithms used there might be initial lag to make ‘sense’ of limited dataset – to serve tailored campaigns. Marketers should have a plan for the first 60/90 days on how to transition from static campaigns and gradually scale personalisation based on the industry learnings.

    What is the kind of organisational structure that we need to ensure personalisation efforts cross-functionally?

    Since this requires cross-functional efforts, it’s best to have a network-based structure headed by central leadership.

    Central leadership – defines the vision of personalisation strategy, identifies metrics and benchmarks or requirements. This team or individual should have significant hands on experience.

    Network teams include;

    1 ) Front end consisting of UX & dev  

    2) Analytics team for data integration/tagging 

    3) Onsite experience/CRM – who owns daily operation of personalisation on channels

    Your advice on using real-time personalisation.

    1) Do not trust your instincts but data

    2) Define your KPIs & north star vision with milestones

    3) Understand the customers – understand your product & try to connect the two with experience. AB test your hypothesis for every use case – test KPI, algorithm, content as needed

    4) Share your learning & accept feedback from stakeholders & customers. Stay hungry & stay fooling in this process.


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