Target executive admits personalisation ‘not good enough’ despite mass of customer data

bradshawTarget’s head of customer experience has accused brands of failing to provide genuine personalisation and of offering identical consumer service – with his own company among the culprits.

Jason Bradshaw told a conference this morning Target was like many companies and “not where we need to be” in terms of personalised marketing.

But he said improvements are on the way.

Bradshaw, who stressed his comments were his own views rather than those of Target, said companies already possess the necessary information to provide a more tailor-made service but too few brands act on the data.

“I fundamentally believe that as the years go by, all of us become more and more alike, and this is never more true than in highly commodotised industries,” he told the Forrester marketing leaders summit in Sydney.

“Technology is disrupting everything that we are doing yet none us is doing personalised service consistently.”

Asked about Target’s approach, Bradshaw candidly admitted it was not yet good enough.

“If I’m being really honest, like many companies we are not where we need to be,” he told delegates.

“We have started the journey of rebuilding our e-commerce platform so that we can personalise content. But like many people out there who send EDMs to hundreds of thousands [of customers] on a database, if you don’t have kids you still get the kids EDM.

“But we are starting to personalise what goes out in the EDM.”

He also criticised Target’s current app which he described as offering a “disconnected retail experience” that “doesn’t help you shop”.

But he again said improvements were in the pipeline with a new app in development set to provide a “connected experience” between the store experience and online.

“And that’s just the beginning,” Bradshaw said, adding that the “next wave” of personalisation will be through the use of beacons.

He added that the similarity of loyalty schemes will eventually see many fall by the wayside, arguing is will be one-to-one customer service, rather than points-based reward schemes, that will generate loyalty.

“For me personalisation builds loyalty. The loyalty programs of today, the ones that give you exclusive access to lounges or a free drink with your fifth visit, are going to die because everyone is doing it,” he said.

“What is going to make me choose Qantas over Virgin or Target over Big W?…for me it will be personalisation.”

Steve Jones


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