2015 Predictions: Mass Customization Will Come to Marketing Tech

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This post is based on insights from the Sailthru ebook “2015 Marketing Technology Predictions: The Future of Marketing” available for download now.

In manufacturing, the past few years have seen mass customization become not only a huge hit, but something expected by consumers. Nike’s iD site lets customers design the look and fit of their shoe to make a fashion statement that’s uniquely theirs. Motorola’s Project Ara goes beyond simply customizing the look of a phone to allow customers to swap out displays, keyboards and extra batteries. Across industries, mass customization has allowed producers to meet each individual customer’s varied needs with the efficiency bestowed by mass production techniques.

In 2015, this same philosophy, and its execution, will come to marketing. Marketers will finally achieve the holy grail of creating customized marketing messaging for every individual, at scale, without breaking the bank.

There are two things that will allow advanced, personalized marketing to finally take center stage in 2015. First, customers will demand it. Second, the technology is ready for prime time.

It may sound strange to say that customers are demanding a particular type of marketing. But think about it: There’s been a lot of conversation over the past five to 10 years not just about banner blindness, but about customers’ ability to tune out just about any marketing message.

Frankly, the reason customers tune out so many messages is that they know that we, as marketers, can do a lot better. Customers are fully aware that certain aspects of their personal information are well known to marketers, and can be discovered by anyone with a working knowledge of Google. So a 30-year-old married woman without children is right to stop responding when presented with pitches for toddler clothes. She assumes, and has every right to assume, that we will treat her like the person she is. It shouldn’t matter if she’s interacting with a brand from her phone, her tablet, or a laptop, or even browsing in a physical store.

The most savvy marketers have been collecting the data needed to personalize offers and have put it to use at scale. Unfortunately, most have been saddled with processes that are often time-consuming and expensive, thanks to legacy technologies making promises upon which they cannot fully deliver. To boot, these marketers have also long been trusting third-party data sources that don’t deliver the quality of information needed to truly automate and execute a personalization strategy.

Mass customization saves marketers from having to keep investing in novel ways to break their total audience into smaller and smaller segments, each of which remains unwieldy. Now marketers can look at the individuals who make up their audience, and use technology to design experiences specifically for each person. This kind of “mass personalization” is now within reach of mere mortals whose marketing budgets have not yet reached the stratosphere. Its time has come.

Neil Capel, CEO & Founder

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