Personalization has never been hotter. Nearly half of retail professionals have plans to make it a part of their ecommerce efforts in the next year.

But as with any hot market, there are countless technology vendors and misconceptions: why it’s important, how its results can be measured, even what it is. But one thing personalization is not is something that can be bolted on to your existing messaging strategy. Say you bolt separate solutions for both product recommendations and triggered messages onto your existing email software. Those point solutions don’t communicate with each other, nor were they built to. You won’t be able to create a holistic omnichannel customer profile, without which, there is no personalization.

There are multiple paths that can lead marketers to bolt-ons. In A Marketer’s Guide to Evaluating Personalization Technology, we outline three of the big ones.

Three Varieties of Bolt-Ons; Three Dead Ends for Personalization

The DIY approach. Often the result of a talented and well-meaning engineer, in-house personalization solutions are incredibly difficult to build. Without an omnichannel customer profile, homegrown recommendation technology won’t be customer-centric. It’ll be product-centric, making recommendations based on what frequently sells together. Some of the world’s largest retailers have thrown tremendous resources at attempting this, only to generate mediocre results.

Best-in-breed. With the “best-in-breed” approach, one bolt-on begets another. The main problem here isn’t technological as much as it’s strategic. Marketers purchase these solutions because they need a specific functionality. And then down the line, they need another specific functionality and buy that technology. Integration is complicated and expensive, resulting in data silos.

Legacy clouds. Marketers who go the best-in-breed route have multiple vendors; a legacy marketing cloud solves that problem. In that case, you’re not bolting multiple solutions together. However, you are buying a group of solutions that come pre-bundled. A legacy marketing cloud is essentially a bolt-on solution at scale. And like the best-in-breed solutions, this inhibits your ability to get a clear vision of your customer.

To learn more about these common bolt-ons, and how you can avoid their personalization pitfalls, download A Marketer’s Guide to Evaluating Personalization Technology.