Magazine article Marketing

Can Personalised Sites Make Good Use of Their Data?

Magazine article Marketing

Can Personalised Sites Make Good Use of Their Data?

Article excerpt

What on earth will Coca-Cola do with all that information it gathers?

Great marketers have always wanted to 'really understand' the customer. The single transaction is never quite enough; indeed that's where the concept of brand comes in. In the interests of gaining this understanding in our changing world, over the past few years we've done lots of research into the idea of personalised content. Sent out to retrieve specific content from the internet, many of us began to think of how to turn this into a commercially viable proposition.

Starting from the premise that the brand owns a web site, and the web site can deliver what I want, we got the portal. A much misused term, a portal is a web page with a bunch of topic-related links to other people's resources. The client brand thus becomes diluted, We experimented in 1996 with sending people from the Snickers MegaByte site to a Rough Guides page on the Euro 96 venue. It worked, from the consumer's point of view, but wasn't necessarily the best thing for reinforcing the Snickers brand.

Portals became brands in their own right. Publishers took advantage of this situation mercilessly; but most of us aren't in the business of marketing publishing brands -- we're in FMCG and business-to-business. Such tightly-controlled brands struggle to handle the portal and its concomitant distractions. If you own a search engine brand, a portal's a damn good vehicle. There's synergy with the brand's function. But in our experience the portal isn't a solution for the clients that engage us to market their products-back to the drawing board then.

When a brand provides a site with loads of interesting content, there's a natural tendency for us to want to offer visitors the means to personalise what they see. Working with Hewlett-Packard we created products that you can tune to your personal taste - down to the graphical feel of the interfaces and what the icons looks like. …

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